Pancreas Transplant

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about 45 years ago. Although I had tried insulin, insulin and pills, just pills, and an insulin pump, after 40 years on insulin my body decided not to consistently respond to that form of control. I had serious insulin reactions at unpredictable times. I also had many of the side complications - starting into high blood pressure, eye damage, diabetic neuropathy in my hands and feet, and starting to spill protein in urine. My sister died from diabetic complications at 52.

So four and a half years ago, I got a pancreas transplant at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (the Starzl Institute). The eye damage had gone away in less than two months after the surgery and I no longer take any insulin or blood pressure medication.

Not everyone is a candidate for this surgery - but if anyone has any questions, I am definitely a success story and have been grateful daily for the change in my life.

I work with a man diagnosed with Type 1 at age 3. After 40 years he had a pancreas and kidney transplant. Too late to save his eyesight but did save his life

How wonderful!

Hey Linda - glad to hear that the pancreas transplant has been a success for you! I’m lucky so far, that insulin still keeps me healthy (diabetic for 42 years since age of 7). I know I had tried to see if I could partake in the Edmonton Protocol (islet transplantation) about 5 years ago, but I was too healthy. How does the anti-rejection drugs effect you? Here’s an old news story from 2000 for those of you that are not aware of the Edmonton Protocol here in Canada. They just celebrated 10 years in 2009.

Congratulations! How wonderful it must be to be “normal”. Can’t imagine how it must feel. Great I bet.

It definitely saved my life. I had insulin reactions at school, at the grocery store, in the middle of the night. I knew two people who lost their jobs when their diabetes became uncontrollable. I looked into this BEFORE I needed the kidneys. I didn’t want my body to go through all that stress. Doctors do not often share that you can get JUST THE PANCREAS. The transplant waiting list is not as long. I don’t understand why. I even wrote an article for the Am. Diabetes Association Magazine and they never acknowledged it. Wish they would get the word out!
Also - UPMC does not use steroids for anti-rejection. It has made side effects almost negligible.

The only anti-rejection pill I take right now is prograf. Thee side effects were occasional shaky hands for about 3 years. I just realized now that they rarely shake anymore. Pittsburgh was the only place that did not use steroids at the time of my transplant. That’s why I went there. I didn’t want to deal with all the steroid side effects.

It’s wonderfull !!! Would like to have a new pancreas. May be I ask one for my christmas… :wink:
But it’s amazing how we sometimes have to take care of ourselves to solve health issues… It surprises me that this comes up in many stories like yours. We have to gatter information and analyse and compare… and guide our doctors… shouldn’t it be otherwise ??

Congratulations Linda!! That’s Fantastic to hear and a “Cure” still so uncommon. I’m Happy that you are doing Well and that the damage has been reversed. Best to you.

I am so sorry that your Sister passed away however. That’s always such a heartbreak. I do know how that feels. My older Brother(Type 1) died in his 48th year of Diabetes at age 52. Then my younger Brother passed away also during his 45th year with Diabetes at age 49. Both within the last 7 years. We can only hope that they are all doing Much Better where they are now and Smiling down on us.

I would love to learn more and talk to you about this. I was given a questionnaire I am turning into a University about a pancreas (no kidney) transplant. I do have some complications, and trouble controlling my diabetes. (largely due to the fact I am allergic to teh adhesive on my insulin pump!). But I am still not sure how bad the complications are with a pancreas transplant and if I would be better with or without a transplant.