Adventure Roundup: Oren Liebermann
CNN correspondent, author, and world traveler
Home Base: Jerusalem
Diabetes: Diagnosed with type 1 at age 31 in 2014, while on a worldwide trip with his wife
Treatment Tools: Insulin pens
Diagnosis Abroad: While traveling in Nepal with his wife, Cassie Kramer, Oren Liebermann visited a doctor for unexplained weight loss. He was misdiagnosed with malnutrition. The treatment: Eat and drink a lot of fruit juice. “It was a blessing and a curse, because it sent me downhill so fast in three days that I had to go back to the doctor in very bad shape,” Liebermann says. A blood glucose test on Valentine’s Day 2014 confirmed his type 1 diabetes diagnosis.
Back on the Road: “I made what I consider the most important decision of my life: to get back on the road and finish the trip,” Liebermann says. So after coming home to the United States to start his diabetes treatment, he and Kramer resumed their globetrotting. As backpackers, they carried extra insulin pens in a cold pack, along with extra needles, meter supplies, and glucose. At night, Liebermann says they would pay a little extra for a room with a fridge. He logged every bite and every dose of insulin. It worked: When the trip was over, his A1C was 5.8 percent.
Managing from the Field: Managing a high or a low on camera and in a foreign country can be difficult, Liebermann says, but his trip prepared him for his line of work. He keeps all his supplies on hand and can navigate even when language barriers might pose a problem. “Can it be frustrating? Absolutely,” he says. “For me, it’s just part of my life, and it shouldn’t interfere with my job. I’m very lucky that my job has given me the opportunity to be an advocate. I hope that inspires someone.”
Oren Liebermann’s book, The Insulin Express: One Backpack, Five Continents, and the Diabetes Diagnosis That Changed Everything, was released in May. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the American Diabetes Association.