“I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes just a few months after my 37th birthday and have battled the disease for 15 years. My blood sugar levels would elevate past 600 mg/dl and then drop below 17 mg/dl several times a day. The severe blood sugar swings left me physically and emotionally drained. During the past few years my disease progressed to a degree where I was no longer experiencing the physical changes that warn a person that his or her blood sugar is dropping to a dangerous level. The lows caused me to become so weak that I was incapable of helping myself at times. Without help from someone, I would eventually lose consciousness.
“The danger of being alone when the drops could occur became a worry to me and my family, and the public episodes caused great embarrassment. My life had become a roller coaster that was out of control. However, it was restored to order when I had the good fortune to learn about the Chicago Diabetes Project. I made an appointment with Dr. Oberholzer, met the Islet Cell Transplant Team and on November 13, 2007, I received an islet cell transplant. Three weeks later I was insulin free with normal blood sugars, and they have remained so for over a year.
“I now live life free from restrictions from my diabetes. I go hiking, horseback riding, traveling and participate in events that used to seem daunting because of my disease. The dedication of Dr. Oberholzer, the Islet Cell Transplant Team and the donor families have given Type 1 Diabetic patients a chance at health, independence and a future cure.”
Suzi Johnson, April 2009