From A Sweet Life: An Attempt To Cure Type 1 Diabetes
This is my site Written by Alex on March 6, 2013 – 1:36 pm   

As published on

An Attempt to Cure Type 1 Diabetes

Alex O’Meara | March 05, 2013

I got diabetes twice. Once when I was 11, and the second time when I was 42. It took the second time to show me all that I’d learned from it the first time around.

When I was 40 years old I had a unique opportunity to take part in a clinical trial to cure type 1 diabetes by receiving an islet cell transplant. Islet cells are the actual engines of insulin production in a pancreas. By transplanting islet cells into my liver it was hoped they would function like islet cells do in a person without diabetes, and I would be cured of the condition that had defined a great deal of my life for almost 30 years.

Of course, given the opportunity cure type 1 diabetes, to eradicate the condition causing me to take insulin injections twice a day, causing me to black out a few times a year, destroying my fingertips with blood sugar testing, and generally making my life unpleasant and inconvenient on one side of the scale and a living hell on the other, I leapt at it. I signed on the dotted line of a consent form even though the list of potential and life-threatening complications was long. I would have to take immunosuppressant drugs, just like any other organ transplant recipient. These drugs offered massively increased risks of cancer and heart disease. But, I thought, diabetes already offers massively increased risk of heart disease, with the additional bonus risks of blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and just about any other permutation of sickness that could be named. There were also unknown and unknowable risks from the transplant. This was, after all, experimental. In addition, I was told that the transplant just simply might not work. The last warning made me laugh because if it failed, what would happen? I would still have diabetes. So? I was not impressed by the possibility of failure…


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