Nepal: Sometimes Life Changes in an Instant

On February 16, 2014 by Oren and Cassie

I can’t believe I’m writing this blog post. I really can’t believe I’m writing this at all, but there’s a lot about the last few days that don’t make sense to me. But it is my new reality – my new life. And I have to start adjusting, because I have JUST been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.Β 

My first symptoms came in Israel – about 5 weeks ago. I was incredibly thirsty. My cousins would put out a pot of tea for everyone and I would drink almost the entire thing without blinking. I guzzled water as if there were only a limited supply on earth, and I had to get my share. At the time, I had nothing to suspect. I was feeling great, enjoying time with my family, and having a blast.

Toward the end of our stay in Israel, we were snorkeling in Eilat when Cassie pointed out that it looked like I’d lost some weight. No problem! I had some spare weight to lose, so I didn’t mind.

Emergency Room: Nepal Edition

Emergency Room: Nepal Edition

It was in Nepal that I started to experience more serious problems, especially on our trek. I was more tired than I should’ve been. I attributed it to the difficulty of the Annapurna trek. High altitude hiking can be incredibly challenging, and I thought nothing of it. And I still looked fairly healthy.

Slowly at first, everything began to change. We began volunteering, and the one hour hike to and from the Matepani Gumba monastery left me progressively more tired each day. My weight began to plummet. Before I left the States, I was about 225 lbs. In Nepal, I dropped below 200, and my weight kept falling. Small tasks took an incredible amount of energy. I had muscle cramps at night. And, I had lost my appetite. (Cassie will tell you, this NEVER happens.)

With one week left in Nepal, we decided to contact some of my friends who are doctors back in the States. The consensus was that I was simply not eating enough and not getting enough nutrients. Simple solution to what seemed like a simple problem. All I had to do was eat – something I am expert at. A Nepali doctor in Pokhara even confirmed the diagnosis a couple days later. Blood test came back normal. He gave me some electrolyte powder and we called it a day.

Thumbs Up

It’s OK. The Olympics are on TV.

Three days later I wasn’t getting better. In fact, I felt far worse. Two straight days I had walked the hour to volunteer, and both times I had to skip class and lie down. It was time to go back to the doctor.

We did a blood sugar test and the reading came back 406 mg.

I will never forget that moment.

Dr. Gupta of Celestial Healthcare in Lakeside, Pokhara looked at me and said, “I’m sorry my friend. You have diabetes.”

Two tests the following day confirmed what we suspected. I had developed Type 1 Diabetes. That amazes me, since Type 1 is juvenile diabetes, but I guess that’s what I get for acting like I am perpetually 5 years old.

Like I said, it’s still nearly impossible to comprehend. I’m learning to measure my blood sugar and take insulin shots. I’m researching what I can and cannot eat. And I’m trying not to think about why this happened to me. Right now I’m in the hospital to stabilize my blood sugar.

It happened. Period. And I’m going to live with it.

I admit – I’ve had a few breakdowns. I think that’s inevitable in the first few hours and days. It will take time to adjust, but I will.

For now, our trip is on hiatus. We’ll be heading home as soon as I can stabilize my system, and then I’ll recover, put on some weight, and research diabetes. We’ll be back on the road just as soon as it’s safe. (Don’t worry! We still have some great blog posts we have yet to publish!!!!)

hospital love

Thank you for all the love!

To my family and friends who have helped me, worried about me, thought about me, prayed for me, emailed me, and called me – I can’t thank you enough. You have all made this just a bit easier, and that means more than you will ever know.

Now I just have to figure out how to get used to life without chocolate milk.’

-O.L.

15 Responses to “Nepal: Sometimes Life Changes in an Instant”

  • You are in our prayers Oren and Mrs. Oren!!!! Refuah shlayma my friend!

  • Cassie and Oren,
    Drew and I have been following your travels through your blog, and are sending thoughts of health and safe returns home as you learn this new terrain in life. Our thoughts are with you.
    Warmly,
    Drew and Lisa

  • I think that you have a strength, a resilience and a spirit that will get you through this and so much more. It also helps to have a beautiful and amazing partner. One step at a time Oren whether it’s a hike or healthcare, you’ll keep moving forward. Much love and respect.

    Marlon.

  • Here’s hoping that the cheesesteak is not on the verboten list …
    Quel drag. Martino, dogs, and I send you tons of love.

  • Been thinking a lot about you guys! And praying for a safe return home. Once time allows and you are feeling better, hopefully we can all get together. We’ve loved the blog and can’t wait to hear even more about all of your adventures! Stay safe! Christina & Chris

    • Thanks so much, Christina and Chris! I don’t think Oren’s ready to give up on our travels yet! Will definitely let you know when we’re state-side. Can’t wait to meet Charlotte! πŸ™‚

  • You guys have been and will remain in our prayers. I’m sure you will master this and be even stronger! When you are home and things have settled down it would be great to have you over for dinner. meanwhile – stay strong – be healthy – and be lifted by the love and prayers of many!

  • Cassie and Oren, I have followed your travels from the start and loved every posting. I have laughed and cried and have been amazed by the descriptions and the pictures. This bump in the road you will handle. I wish you well and safe travel home. I hope you continue to keep us posted. Also, if you plan to have a live presentation (in the Philadelphia area) on your travels, I would love to be there to hear and learn more. I am adding you to my prayer list. Best wishes.

  • You are in Lakeside? Do you have a place to stay? Let me know what you need, how I can help. -Michelle

  • Oren-

    I just read about your diagnosis. I am so glad you are okay and that it wasn’t a worse scenario. My coworker was also diagnosed at 31. He was a bigger guy and got up from his desk and collapsed on the floor. He was out for about 10 minutes. His blood sugar was off the charts and he was diagnosed with type 2. You will figure this out and you have a great life partner to help πŸ™‚

    If you have to do some GF foods, I can help πŸ˜‰

    Safe travels back to the US!

    Kathleen

  • Dammit Oren! I’m crying at the damn car wash!

Leave a Reply