June 2015, Islet transplant patient re-union.
Our intention is to present a few of our patient experiences of going through islet transplantation. Some patients have great outcomes, while islet grafts completely failed in other patients. Complications vary among patients.
We continue optimizing the procedure to improve patient outcomes and minimize the complications to benefit our patients.
These are the stories of individuals with long standing, "brittle" form of type 1 diabetes mellitus, who received islet allotransplantation as an alternative procedure to whole pancreas transplantation.
All of them suffered for years from very similar, debilitating symptoms, leading to the same beginning narrative:
....After many years of taking insulin and religiously keeping my blood sugar under
control, I gradually stopped feeling when it was low, too low. I used to get agitated, shaky, hungry and knew I needed to grab a snack... Not anymore! Now, it happens without any warning. I can't predict it. I am completely unaware when my speech starts to slur or when I am getting confused. Sometimes finding myself in unknown places, sometimes I pass out and wake up surrounded by family members, strangers or paramedics who injected glucagon. The frustrating and scary part is that I can't control it, and can't anticipate when it will happen. It may happen at night, and I am terrified that I may never wake up. My wife and children check on me several times a day and they panic when I am not picking up the phone. Not only my life, but the life of my family is badly compromised. I have been listening to my endocrinologists, trying several different settings on my pump a day and more at night but still lows happen.
The only thing I can do, is to run my glucose high when I know I will be driving or have stressful days at work. But it means- everyday! Now, my A1c is 8-9 but I can't live like that either. I don't want to lose my sight, have toe amputations, a heart attack, or lose my kidneys because of high blood sugar. I am trapped, depressed, Prozac does not help anymore. ... I live in constant fear and am miserable. Please help!
....and below, you will find the rest of the patient stories .... after their islet transplants!
Joey was our very first patient.
She received 3 islet transplants in 2005.
She has been off insulin for over 12 years!
Well deserved cupcake Joey!
I was just enjoying my day here at school. Having fun with my class and loving life, as the saying goes... and I realized that today was October 13. And Friday the 13th, no less. It was 12 years ago today that I got my final transplant and became insulin free!!
I still can't believe how lucky I am that I was blessed with such an incredible team of people to take me on this journey that life has dealt me.
Without you, I have no doubt that my life would have skidded sideways with no good end. Today, I don't even think about my diabetes with any regularity. I feel free! I don't know what the record for insulin independence is, but I hope to surpass everyone!
Thank you for everything that you do!! I appreciate it all more than you will ever know!