Back to Home

4 Months of Living Life MY WAY

It’s been 4 months since I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in Nepal. I was determined very early on that my diagnosis wouldn’t slow me down or change my life. So far, I think I’ve succeeded, and hopefully I can inspire others to live life the way they want as well.

The first week following my diagnosis was absolutely awful. Nothing will change that in my mind. That is still the hardest week of my life. But every day since then has been on my terms, and I intend for it to stay that way.



In the 4 months since my diagnosis, I have been to 8 countries. I have hiked along the Great Wall. I have seen sunrise at Angkor Wat. I have hiked the Inca Trail and climbed up to Machu Picchu. I have played with tigers, fed elephants, and been part of a giant water fight. I have learned how to ride a motorbike (even though I still can’t drive manual) and managed to cook some pretty great Thai food.

If I set out to do something, I did it. I control my diagnosis. It does not control me. Not now and certainly not anytime in the future. Sure, there have been some difficult times, but Cassie has been with me every step of the way, and she makes it easy to keep going if and when I ever feel any doubt.




The Inca Trail was a very significant milestone for me. We posted a few pictures on our Facebook page and we’re working on the full story, but I viewed the Inca Trail as my revenge on diabetes in a way. Before I was diagnosed, I struggled on our hike in the Himalayas. I don’t know how close I came to dying at the top, but it was probably closer than I would ever admit to my mom. Now I could show diabetes that I would do everything I wanted, and I would do it however and whenever I felt like it. (In many ways, the Inca Trail resembled the hike to Annapurna Base Camp, but we’ll have much more on that later.)

Did I have to stab my finger 10 times a day to check my blood sugar on the 5-day hike? Yes. Did I warn our guide that I was diabetic? Of course. Did I make it all the way to the top and finish the entire hike smiling and happy? Hell yes!!

I certainly wouldn’t claim that the Inca Trail is an easy hike. It’s pretty demanding, with a push up to 14,000 feet and a day that involves 10 miles of “Peruvian flat,” which our guide told us means up and down repeatedly. But I was determined to finish the hike, and I did. I encourage everyone else to make that same decision. Pick what you’re going to do and do it, regardless of what roadblocks stand in your way. And if you’d like to share your story, I’d love to hear it! Share it in the comments below or email us here.



Recent Comments

  • Haley McPhail
    June 18, 2014 - 6:13 pm · Reply

    I was told as a kid that I would never be able to have children because I was diagnosed so young. I HAD TWO healthy babies, and I’m healthy as well– 26 years after diagnosis. DIABETES CAN SUCK IT. 😉

    • Oren and Cassie
      June 19, 2014 - 9:07 am · Reply

      Haley – you already know you’re one of my inspirations to keep traveling!! And yes, diabetes can totally suck it!!

  • Dani
    June 18, 2014 - 6:37 pm · Reply

    Hi guys, your posts about diabetes are fantastic and close to my heart as my Dad and nephew both have it and I can’t wait to show my nephew what you have achieved do you mind me asking about insurance? who do you use and do they fly you home if needed with your diabetes?
    And please please please look after your FEET take care Dani

    • Oren and Cassie
      June 19, 2014 - 9:06 am · Reply

      Thanks!! We use International Medical Group Insurance, and it does have an emergency medical evacuation clause. Thankfully, we’ve had no reason to use that. When I was home for a month recovering after my diagnosis, we picked up insurance in the US so I could get all the insulin and medical supplies I needed. Diabetes supplies tend to be much cheaper overseas when you can find them. At most, they’re half the price of the US, so we’ve restocked on OneTouch test strips twice. We’d be happy to share more info via email!!

      And I will absolutely look after my feet 🙂

  • daleangloitalian
    July 6, 2014 - 7:02 am · Reply

    Love that you’re not letting your diabetes get in the way of an incredible experience. I’m going to have to share this with my mother who’s diabetic and could do with seeing what’s possible.

    • Oren and Cassie
      July 6, 2014 - 7:10 pm · Reply

      Thanks! I think sometimes it’s easy to let diabetes limit you. Everyone needs a reminder once in a while that anything is possible.

Let's hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: