“I’m Norma,

I brought my insulin pump because I’ve been a Type I diabetic since I was 14, and I don’t need it any more. I took part in a medical trial at MGH last year. The diabetes had destroyed my islet cells so I couldn’t produce my own insulin. Without the constant drip of insulin from my pump, my body had no way of regulating my blood sugar levels. In October, I got the call that they had a match. The following day, over 600,000 strong, healthy islet cells were transplanted into my liver. I was told they would settle in, then begin to produce insulin. I wouldn’t have to balance my insulin with exercise and food intake. It would all happen naturally again, without the pump.

I have had a love/hate relationship with this pump. Yes, it kept me alive, but it was also a constant reminder that I was different. Convenient, but also something that was always annoyingly there, beeping and alerting, attached to me, and part of every outfit I’ve worn for the last 6 years. That’s why it was such a thrill to watch my pump inject fewer and fewer units of insulin into my body after the transplant. I was told to cut my insulin by half, then by three-quarters. Then, to remove the pump completely.

I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about doing that. It’s strange to think that after all these years my body is now producing insulin completely on its own, like it never skipped a beat. I’m comfortable with the fact that I won’t have to inject insulin any more, but the truth is, I am still getting used to the idea that I am no longer a diabetic.

Now, I see the pump in my drawer, and it doesn’t bother me at all that it looks a little dusty and lonely. I’m happy that it is no longer part of who I am.”

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One Response to “Norma”

  1. Karen Says:

    CONGRATS!! I’d LOVE to hear more about your islet cell transplant!! Jackie Minch Asta is my sister in law and she told me about your success! I’d LOVE to get one too!! Any info you pass along would be GREATLY appreciated! I’ve had Type 1 since 1982 ( I was 7). Thanks

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