One Step Up From A Lab Rat

A Diabetics Personal Journey Through an Islet Cell Transplant


Chapter 1

Headline, Ottawa Citizen

I needed my story to be told.  I wanted to share the fact that this transplant is a reality, not just a sound bite from the evening news.  I needed people to know that the islet transplant saved me from an inevitable early death.  No longer was I experiencing tears of anguish over what my life was being reduced to, but rather I had tears of utmost joy and disbelief that I was feeling well enough to do something as routine as getting out of bed in the morning.  My life had completely become my own again.  Fellow diabetics had to be made aware of this!

Chapter 3

Finally, Contact

But am I ready?  Do I want to proceed with this?  Am I strong enough as a person?  Do I know what I am getting into?  There is just not enough information on the long-term effects of the immune suppressant drug combination, or on the procedure, to calm my fears.  I don’t have the energy to leave my bed today, let alone consider traveling across the country and fending for myself!

Chapter 6

Day of Assessment

DAMN HIM!  To him they were words, but those words took hours to compose, allowing him just a little glimpse of my world.  It was my truth that he exposed.  My deepest thoughts and fears.  No doctor could truly know what it is like as you are lying in bed in the middle of the night with a racing pulse, a pounding headache, a chest so tight and sore. No healthy person could imagine how vulnerable you feel to the next complication when one by one they are attacking your body.  It would be unfathomable to most the fear you have of your own body, your own organs.  

Chapter 19


As the operating room doors separated, they revealed a barrage of people filing into the glassed-in operating theatre.  This was still a revolutionary event, it had only been attempted a few times.  The radiologist stood close to me, I could almost make out the intensity in his stare.  He was concentrating.  He started slowly guiding the needle, and I winced. His eyes darted to my face and he asked if I felt it.    ...the needle was slowly, gently guided into my side.  It took three attempts and a few stern warnings not to breathe heavily before he finally entered the portal vein.

Chapter Excerpts