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Kerri Orr celebrates 20-years with diabetes on the trip of a lifetime

Kerri Orr, one of Tandem’s very own People Behind the Pump recently returned from a thrill-seeking journey off the coast of South Africa, where she fittingly celebrated her 20-year diaversary by going on the trip of a lifetime. 

Among her noteworthy experiences, one of the most remarkable is when she took a dive with some great white sharks. These beautiful beasts are some of nature’s most dangerous predators (check out that jaw!), but that was no match for Kerri’s bold sense of adventure.
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Here she makes last minute insulin adjustments using her t:slim Insulin Pump, before leaving it safely on the boat.

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Since stress is one of several factors that can cause a spike in blood glucose, we asked Kerri about her blood glucose levels. 

“Even though diving with the sharks could be seen as a stressful event, that sort of thing excites me…doesn’t scare me,” she said. “What did make me a little nervous was going BACK in the water after testing my blood. I didn’t want the great whites to have a reason to come after me!”

Kerri didn’t stop at the shark cage. She went on to ride horseback through the African wild, where she came face-to-face with a lioness! 

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Kerri and her pump also summited Table Mountain, a national park overlooking the city of Cape Town, South Africa. The flat-top mountain is a landmark popular among tourists, and is recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The mountain is famous for its level plateau, about two miles from side to side, and is surrounded by beautiful cliffs that form an incredible view. The highest point is 3,563 feet above sea level, and while high altitude can sometimes cause an adverse effect for people living with diabetes, Kerri noted that she was able to maintain “beautiful control” of her diabetes throughout her hike. 

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The cherry-on-top of her journey was paragliding through the skies while a storm loomed on the horizon, where she got a bird’s-eye view of the South African terrain.2 

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Kerri’s trip was filled with explorations on land, underwater, and mountain-tops. She shared some general wisdom for others living with diabetes who may want to go on similar adventures:

“If you own your diabetes, you can do anything you put your mind to. If you ignore your diabetes, it will probably make living your life to the fullest seem impossible. I’ve backpacked in Costa Rica (alone), played division 1 athletics, scuba-dived, run marathons, finished triathalons and Spartan races, and I have never said NO because I have diabetes. By actively managing my diabetes and working closely with my healthcare team, I can say I swam with great white sharks to celebrate 20 years of living life to the fullest amidst the storm we call diabetes.”

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We think that her elated facial expressions say it all – a determined, fearless, and brave approach to life is not only possible while living with diabetes, but in fact, is an integral part of successfully “beating the storm”. 

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1 Tandem pumps are watertight (IPX 7), tested to a depth of three feet for up to 30 minutes. Users can have peace of mind knowing that their pump is safe in the event of accidental submersion. However, we do not recommend users shower, bathe or swim with their Tandem pumps.

2 Rapid changes in altitude or gravity can affect insulin delivery and cause injury. CHECK your blood glucose using a blood glucose meter following a gradual elevation change of up to 1,000 feet, such as when snow skiing or driving on a mountain road. Delivery accuracy can vary up to 15% until 3 units of total insulin have been delivered or elevation has changed by more than 1,000 feet. Tandem insulin pumps have been tested at altitudes up to 10,000 feet at standard operating temperatures.

From time to time, we may pass along: suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.


Important Safety Information

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