Medical Minute 11-19: No Pancreas, No More Diabetes

By: Melissa Medalie Email
By: Melissa Medalie Email

For 19-year-old Danielle Scheetz, growing up hasn't been all fun and games. From age 5 on, she had to adjust her life to the challenges of type one diabetes. Her disease was so severe, it was damaging her kidneys.

"I had to take medicine morning and night and do the insulin, before the pump I had the insulin shots three or four times a day... Annoying, very difficult, I guess," said Danielle Scheetz.

Recently doctors told her she was out of time-- she needed a new kidney.

Doctor Jason Wellen performed a combination transplant. Not only a new kidney to replace the failing one, but also a pancreas from the same donor.

"These patients most often never require an additional unit of insulin from the time they leave the operating room. What that allows is that prevents their type one diabetes that they had prior to the transplant from attacking that new kidney," said Jason R. Wellen, M.D., Washington University School of Medicine.

A new, properly functioning pancreas stabilized her sugar levels.

"It's still weird to think about that I'm not diabetic anymore. I don't think it's still completely hit me," said Danielle Scheetz.

9 months after surgery, Scheetz said, "I just feel like I can do whatever I want. It's almost like I say to myself...'I can do anything now, what can I do?'"

She's celebrating a whole new life, diabetes-free

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT: Judy Martin Associate Director Of Media Relations Washington University School Of Medicine(314) 286-0105

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  • by Audrey Location: Tallahassee on Nov 23, 2010 at 03:04 PM
    I had type 1 dm for 38 years. I did not have kidney damage but went through alot with my eyes. I had a pancreas alone transplant because it became very difficult to manage blood sugars even on a pump. (I was a nurse educator at the diabetes center.) It has been almost 6 yrs since my transplant and I have been given a new life. The road was very difficult at times, but the adventure s have truly blessed me! Please become a donor.
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