Posts Tagged Massachusetts General Hospital

Norma

“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.”