Friday, August 1, 2008

from the beginning

I am writing this blog in hopes that I can share my experience of having an islet cell transplant with anyone who might be contemplating this option, or with anyone who  is just interested in any part of this  process.  It has been a major life experience for me, and I am still in the beginning phases.

I think it is important to start at the very beginning, but until I get up to real time/date, things will seem somewhat out of order due to the nature of blogging.  I am currently on day 11 post  transplant.

I first became aware of islet cell transplants about 10 years ago when they were first performed in Edmonton, Canada.  The newspapers covered it  extensively for the  first month or two.  It truly seemed like the path to the cure.  At that time, all the excitement was about longer  acting insulins and the insulin pump.  Those seem like just crutches.  A transplant seemed much more hopeful of a long term success.

Skip forward about 10 years, I am now on the pump, a continuous blood glucose monitor, and am also injecting Symlin.  I am reading alot about all of these things, including some blogs that I found very helpful.  I happen upon some new research in which pig islet cells might be transplanted into  humans.  This catches my eye because I have a profound interest in pigs.  I go  to the website and find the DIIT at the University of Minnesota.  They are actually performing islet cell transplants.  I fill out a short form on the website asking to be considered as a subject in a clinical trial.  A few  days later, I hear that  I might just be a candidate and they will be sending me more forms to  fill out and to circulate to all of  my doctors.  Wow, I am amazed!

In the meantime,  I decide  to enhance my what I  believed to be a slim chance by applying to other centers that I had found in the meantime.  So I sent my applications to the  Mayo clinic, and two  sites in Chicago because they are so much closer to home, and I learned that there are many post transplant checkups that have to be performed  on site according to protocol.  The forms were all very similar, and all four centers seemed interested in me as a candidate.  They are all looking for patients who have a very difficult  time managing their blood sugars on a daily basis, but are otherwise quite healthy.  It also  helped that I  am small in size, thus needing fewer islet cells.

The decision was very difficult.  All  of the centers have very personable front people who were very enthusiastic about what they could offer.  I really felt that  I  was in a win/win situation.  In the end, I decided on U. on Minnesota because after reading as much as I could all over the internet, It seemed that Dr. Hering was at  the forefront of the field, and that U. of M. seemed to be getting the best results with the success of the transplants.  So I decided  to make that my first choice and just live with the travel time and expenses.

1 comment:

日月神教-任我行 said...
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