...Islet transplantation allowed Terry not only to overcome diabetes but also to find the love of his life...
My name is Terence but I go by Terry. I became diabetic in 1979, when I was 14 years old.
My mother took me to the emergency room because of my confusion, only to find out it was diabetes. As a teenager checking my glucose was not fun. I had to urinate in a cup and then dip a glucose strip just to check my sugar. Two years later, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. When I had my first full-time job, my sugar was so unstable, I was placed on disability until I received an insulin pump. Life was looking good, but that didn't last. Becoming a diabetic forced me to involve my family. A call list was made for me to check-in with my family on a daily routine schedule. Whether I was at work, on a date, or shopping, I had to report to my family without fail.
In 2008 an aneurysm in my brain burst. I asked my mother why is God giving me these problems, her reply was," God would only give you what you can handle." With those words inmind, I knew I couldn't give up. I didn't let my diseases take control of me;
I TOOK CONTROL.
It was from my endocrinologist that I heard about islet transplant. I wanted to learn more so I researched it on Google. I discovered University of Chicago offered islet transplant and I immediately worked with Dr. Witkowski and my coordinator, Lindsay. The islet transplant went well and I became "diabetic free" for a few years.
Then, not only did I not give up on life, but I also found love. After three and a half years of dating, my girlfriend and I got married and honeymooned in Ireland.
Sadly, my diabetes returned, but that didn't stop Dr. Witkowski from offering another hope: a pancreatic transplant.
Entering 2019 went with a big bang! Having a diligent team (Lindsay, Dr. Witkowski and the staff from the University of Chicago) my wait for procuring a donor was short. I can't imagine the pain and sorrow the family of the donor, but I do know words can never expressed my heart felt sorrow for their loss and at the same time I am forever grateful for the gift the donor has given me.
Dr. Witkowski, Lindsay, and the staff at the University of Chicago hospital did a fabulous job. I want to give my deepest and sincere thanks to all who were involved in giving me a chance to live a regular life again before diabetes. This feeling of freedom is sooo ...PRICELESS.
Terry has been insulin free for last 10 years, first after his islet Tx and then after his pancreas Tx 4 years ago.