Update on my islet cell transplant

I have not posted here for awhile, so I have a lot to write about. I am approaching the one year anniversary of my islet cell transplant and have been having a wonderful and sometimes crazy experience.

I have been off of insulin since September. My blood sugars are near normal. I still get a few highs in the 160-180 range, and surprisingly, a few lows in the 55-65 range. Compared to my numbers a year ago, this is amazing.

I haven't changed either my diet or exercise habits at all. I think that if I did eat high calorie sweets that my glucose would go even higher, and I just don't want to see those numbers. I still think of myself as a type 1 diabetic; but now the efforts that I make to keep my blood sugars under control actually work! My last A1c was 5.6 (last year it was 7.8)

Most people are curious about the role of the immunosuppressant drugs in my life. I actually have two phases of experience with this. I was taking Raptiva and Rapamune immediately after my transplant. Other than a few minor mouth sores, I had no problem with them at all. Then about 4 months ago, the Raptiva was taken off of the market so I was switched to a new drug regimen. Now I take Cellcept and Progaf. These are not as easy as the first set. I have had some problems with diarrhea and fatigue. The fatigue is gone now, but the diarrhea is still a problem at times. It does seem to be getting better and I have heard from a few people who tell me that it eventually goes away completely.

I have survived cold and flu season without a single illness. I am relieved and even a bit surprised by that. I do take an antibiotic three days a week which probably helps.

One side effect of the immunosuppressants in general is higher cholesterol. I did succumb to that and am now on Lovistatin and that seems to have worked. No side effects at all.

I feel that I have been very well cared for by the doctors and staff at the U. of Minnesota. That has really added to the positive feeling of the experience. Part of the commitment that I made to have the transplant was to agree to several visits back to the clinic so that they could monitor my progress with their standards and at their own lab. I originally thought that this would be a huge hassle since I live in Ohio, but I have truly enjoyed every visit. I have not resented any of the time or money that this has involved. I really feel that not only has this been wonderful for me, but that I am participating and even contributing to something that is very important.

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Comment by Robyn on June 10, 2009 at 7:43pm
Wow...Congratulations. How wonderful this must be for you! Good luck and thanks for writing about it....gives me hope :)

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