30 Stories of Diabetes Education: Mike Tryon

Representative Mike Tryon

I have a family history of Type II Diabetes, so I have always known that as an adult I would have to make healthy lifestyle choices. My father and grandfather both had Type II Diabetes and were diagnosed in their 60s. I was diagnosed at the age of 51.

It was at the end of my first term in the Illinois House when I knew something was wrong. I was exhausted and felt horrible. I went to see my family physician and had a full physical, and a glucose tolerance test indicated that I was well on my way to becoming a diabetic. I adjusted my habits and paid greater attention to diet and exercise, and for a while that worked.

Several months later, I was attending an Expo in my district and visited a hospital’s booth where they were doing blood sugar testing. My blood sugar was an alarming 380, two hours after eating three tacos. That was a huge wake-up call, and soon after that I added medication to my diabetes management plan.

The lifestyle of a legislator is difficult, and often there are not good food choices available. Over time I have learned that I have to be very proactive with the management of my diabetes. Rather than relying on the unhealthy menu in the cafeteria at the capitol, I now either bring my lunch with me, or have a vegetarian lunch delivered from a Springfield restaurant that offers delivery. I count carbs and fat grams daily, have substantially reduced the amount of meat I eat, and exercise as much as my schedule allows. I enjoy cooking as a hobby, and enjoy finding recipes that help me keep my glucose under control.