Derek Theler’s Advice to Newly Diagnosed Diabetics

68 Whiskey star Derek Theler spoke to us about his partnership with the makers of the Sharps and Needle Destruction Device (SANDD™). He also shared his experience growing up with type 1 diabetes and shared some advice for newly diagnosed diabetics. Here’s a peek into our chat.

Showbiz Cheat Sheet: How has diabetes affected your personal and career lives? What are some adjustments you’ve had to make?

Derek Theler | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards
Derek Theler | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards

Derk Theler: Diabetes has affected my life more than anything else I can think of. It’s constant, it’s 24/7, 365 days a year that you have to make choices about your blood sugar and ultimately your life. I have to schedule my day around making sure that I get the insulin I need and eating properly to manage my blood glucose levels. If I didn’t do this it would be life threatening.

I think it gave me added responsibility growing up because I had to always be diligent when it came to managing my blood sugar. I couldn’t eat foods like birthday cake or sweet cereal, and I couldn’t spend the night at my friends’ house because I had to stick to such a strict schedule.

As far as my career, it’s challenging in many ways because working on set is unpredictable. Sometimes you have to go long periods of time without lunch, or you have really strange hours if you’re shooting in the middle of the night. I shot a movie once where we spent five days filming in the open water.  I couldn’t use my insulin pump and had to learn how to give myself injections overnight.

It’s always important that I find the medic on set and let them know about my condition. The last thing I want is to have a low glucose episode and nobody on set know what’s going on with me. That could be a serious  medical emergency and bring filming to a halt.  It’s also important to make the producers and directors aware of my condition. I haven’t had a problem like that in a long time though, knock on wood.

CS: What advice would you give to someone who was newly diagnosed with diabetes?

Derek Theler is thriving despite his diagnosis. | Earl Gibson III/WireImage
Derek Theler is thriving despite his diagnosis. | Earl Gibson III/WireImage

DT: For anyone who is newly diagnosed with diabetes, you can handle this. I know it’s overwhelming when you’re diagnosed with diabetes, especially if you aren’t familiar with it. Today’s technology gives you a better chance than ever to keep your blood glucose levels in control. One of my main goals in life is to show people that you can live an extraordinary life with or without diabetes, you just need to be responsible.

CS: Tell me about your work on 68 Whiskey. In what ways are you similar to your character? In what ways are you different?

DT: 68 Whiskey is a military dark comedy produced by Ron Howard. Our show is about life on a base in Afghanistan. They work incredibly hard to make every scene as realistic as possible, so we get to play with military-grade vehicles and black hawk helicopters on set, which is amazing.

I play Sasquatch, he’s an ex-special forces government contracted mercenary and the base’s resident badass. It’s really enjoyable to play a character like this because it’s so different from what I have done in my past. I’m best known for playing the lovable and not so bright hockey player, Danny on Baby Daddy.

Here, I get to play somebody with grit who is tough as nails. He couldn’t be more opposite than Danny; it’s been a really fun adventure. I’m similar to Sasquatch in that we are both the biggest guy in the room, and I grew up around the military. My dad was the chief firefighter on the Air Force base in Colorado and I spent a lot of time on base around those guys. Sasquatch and I differ when it comes to our moral compass. As a mercenary, Sasquatch has to carry out orders that aren’t always for the most noble reason.

CS: How do you hope your character will develop if there’s a season 2?

DT: Throughout the first season of 68 Whiskey, Sasquatch has been ordered to carry out missions that question his morality and toward the end he has a change of heart and begins to stand up to his superiors. Sasquatch wants to do what is right and I hope he gets a chance to be a better leader and make more moral choices in the future.

Read part one of our interview with Derek Theler.

 Read more: ‘68 Whiskey’ Star Derek Theler Tells us About His New Partnership

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