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Two islet transplants later and life is much better

After two islet transplants, Bruce is taking less insulin, experiencing fewer hypos and can now recognise when a hypo is about to happen.


When I was first diagnosed with diabetes back in July 1997 I only found out by accident as a friend of mine was diabetic and she checked my sugar level one evening and it was high.

We checked again the following day and it was higher than the night before. The doctor told me that I could have had it for up to six months and not even known. I have been Type 1 on insulin since diagnosis, and was injecting four times a day until 1998 when I asked for a referral to Royal Free Hospital in London.

Within two years I was put on a Medtronic insulin pump. I was registered for my Islet transplant in 2013 and within one year I had my first Islet transplant in August 2014. I had to change so much taking 15 types of medication each day.

I was immediately put on a transplant list again after the first transplant and I had my second transplant in February 2015. Since then I now feel 100 per cent and whereas before I had to have three months off work, this time I am back to work after one month.

I have regular check ups at my hospital with both the renal team, and diabetes team and I have to add that the ward staff at the hospital who assisted with my care have been brilliant.

I am called at least two times a week by the diabetes team and renal team and my consultant rings me at least once a week. I am improving every day - my sugar levels are so much better and whereas I wasn't always getting signs of hypos I am not only having fewer hypos, but I am having less insulin and when I have a hypo I now get signs that it is happening.

I hope that within the next year I will be off my insulin completely after the second transplant, and only have to take tablets. Not only do I have to thank all the medical teams, but my family and work colleagues for their love and support throughout the two transplants, and especially my two children aged 10 and 12 who have been so helpful in my recovery. 

I would like people to know that they don't need to be scared to tell people they have diabetes as they may just save your life someday. My life now is more relaxed - I am not so stressed, not bothered about what people think when I have to check my sugar levels in public or take my insulin via pump. I do get people looking at me thinking I am taking drugs, but it is their ignorance not mine, and if they asked questions I would tell them.

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