Sunday, October 3, 2010

Islet Cell Transplant - Chapter 2

After worrying over my increasing blood sugars for some time now, it has finally become apparent that the time has come to supplement my cells with some insulin.  Its mostly heartbreaking, but a little relieving.  It has become more and more stressful to see those higher numbers appearing on my glucose monitor.  I will enjoy seeing a higher percentage of good numbers.  Also, this will lead to a better next A1c.

I did my best to postpone or prevent this.  I've been exercising and cutting carbs as much as possible.  I'm now on my third painful stressed or pulled muscle.  It started with my back, then my foot and now my back/neck again.  With hindsight, I know they were all due to being overworked.  Exercise does really help, but there are limits.

So, I am now on day 4 of insulin.  I started with 3 units of Lantus per day.  Yesterday, I had some high postprandials (220s) so increased to 4 units.  It seems to be helping.  I really don't mind the injections and this is probably not enough to cause any serious low blood sugars, I just hate to give up being insulin free and having the ability to say so. There is hope that this could be temporary.  If the islets get some rest, maybe they will become stronger.  Time will tell.  In the mean time, I am still exercising and watching what I eat.  Partly in hope to need less insulin, and partly to be able to judge how the insulin is affecting my numbers.  I was able to gain a few pounds throughout all of this.  I was concerned that it might have gone the other way.  Its easy to keep blood sugars lower by not eating as much and that is so tempting to do.  And its still feels like such a privilege to have the ability to do so.  But, I was really pushing the meat, cheeses, and nuts and I guess that worked.

This is a painful post to have to write, but also an important one.  The whole idea of this blog was to chronicle my experience, the good and the bad.  Good news is just so much more fun to share.

Of course, I'm not going through this alone.  Janet and Dr. Bellin are as disappointed as I am.  We all understand each other well enough to know that we aren't disappointed in each other, or even with the transplant, just disappointed.  I get just the right mix of sympathy, encouragement, and optimism from them.  Its also so nice to be able to share this with Dave, another transplant patient from SDI.

Yesterday was my JDRF walk, number two.  I didn't have walkers for this one.  I was handing out information at the Government Advocacy booth.  I displayed my poster again and enjoyed meeting people and sharing my experience with them.  Again, it was the mothers of diabetic children who were the most excited to hear about it.  It turned out to be a cold, rainy day, but there were still a lot of people who came for the walk.  Its very heartwarming to see such dedication and support.

Here are my current fall flowers.  A new season and a new chapter.


Unknown said...

Thank you for all of the inspiration you've given the T1 community. The truth is that, without, people like you who are willing to try these experimental treatments, there simply would not be REAL advancements made towards the CURE.

I am looking forward to reading more about your story!

Jason Turner said...

Hi Kathy. Always hard to hear when this happens. I briefly went back on insulin in between my 1st and 2nd transplants, and it was a bit of a blow.

For me the important thing was to remember that stable sugars are the most important - that's what halts all the rest of the complications, avoids the lows etc etc.

I never went into my transplants every really wanting insulin independence - although it is nice - I am more excited about seeing the stable sugars.

Especially when I reflect back to how crappy life was pre-transplant.

Best wishes - and good luck on your panel - I am excited for you!


et63 said...

I was disappointed to hear of your latest development. I can only imagine the feelings you are going through, but how heroic your efforts have been. Know that I hold you in my thoughts and prayers for continued success in spite of current standings. Will you be elegible to undergo a second transplant of islets at this point? Lots going on in my efforts to receive the adipose stem cell treatment with my hopes remaining realistic in the outcome. In sisterhood for the cure ~ Eliza