Last night, (February 5th, 2013) our local news aired a story about a Gentleman by the name of David Martin, who received an Islet cell transplant and who is now what they termed as “Insulin-Free”. Like most of the story ‘teasers’ Network news uses, this made me wait to watch it. I really had hopes it WAS in fact, a new treatment/cure.
Their story appears here: KTLA.comKTLA.com
I watched that story on Channel 5 (KTLA) news at 10 and found it to be idealistic and incomplete. There was no mention about the anti-rejection drugs the gentleman featured now has to take, no mention of the criterion in getting an Islet-cell transplant and the ongoing costs of this new life without type 1 Diabetes.
I would think this gentleman was probably very ill and the transplant was done as a last resort for his wellbeing. He spoke of having “Convulsions” when hypoglycemic and other Quality of life issues, true, but while *I* as much as anyone, would want to see diabetes cured, I would not wish to put a child, a young adult or anyone otherwise reasonably healthy through the rigours of a transplant of islet cells just to be free of Insulin injections. Unfortunately, the average person thinks simplistically, & a few of us are already being asked by pals: “Why don’t you go have that done?”.
The term they used in the story; “Insulin-Free” bothered me as well. Right now, in the biological sense, we Type 1’s ARE “Insulin-Free”…. That’s why many of us have to pay thru the nose and inject the stuff! “Injection-Free”? “Pump-Free”? Maybe. But what drugs is this guy now on and what do THEY cost?
While I am not a doctor, I only play one in Science Fiction RPG, Anti-rejection drugs would seem to be a drastic lifestyle change. it is like imposing a weaker immune system on one’s self. In a sense, a self-imposed case of AIDS (Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome). Taking steps to avoid infections, illnesses, etc is only common sense, but if one is dealing with a weakened immune system, this would be pretty hard to do.
Of course, if one has little or nothing left to lose, They are facing organ failure, and possible death, this is a no-brainer. One at least has the option of an islet cell transplant.
*IF their insurance agrees
*IF they have the financial resources
*IF they have a decent support network of Health care, family and friends…
They would probably do quite well after the transplant.
In my opinion, the Islet cell transplant is only the first step of many in the process to actually cure this burdensome condition.
What do you think?