...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.