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Pancreas Transplants

An Interview with Christian Hobbis

Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a 30 year old former diabetic. I can say that now since my recent pancreas alone transplant on 8/8/00. I had diabetes for 15 years and had been having terrible problems with controling bloodsugar levels and several problems with my eyes such as macular edima, and PDR, which has required several multiple lazor treatments. I was what you would call a very brittle diabetic. I tired and tried to control my blood sugar levels but they always ended up being all over the place.

How did you find out about the possibility of having a pancreas transplant, and how long did it take to find a donor?
The way I found out about the possibility of having a pancreas alone transplant, it a wied story and I will try to keep it simple. I was in a chat room at and had an arguement with a parent of a diabetic who couldn't seem to understand why I was looking for infornmation about pancreas transplants. The next day got an e/mail from a Deb Butterfield who runs a diabetic web site called She sd that the man that I had argued with had sent her an e/mail and sd that I had wanted some information about transplants. Deb was able to provide me with all of the information that I needed. She is a really great person and I can't say enough about just how good her web site is. After fighting with my insurance to get the transplant approved, I was placed on the organ waiting list, and got the call just two weeks later on 8/7/00. My blood type is AB so I think that really helped with the waiting time.

What was involved in the actual surgery?
The sugery is a major one ...much more difficult than a kidney transplant and took aprox 5 hours. I am not really sure but I think that a transplant is a viable option to anyone who is healthy enough to go thru such a major surgery.

Is the option of pancreas transplant available to all ages?
Once again I want to state that this is a major surgey and It comes down to a very serious personal choice. You will also have to take a whole series of anti infection and rejection drugs for the rest of your life, many of which have their own complications.

What is some important things people should know about the transplant?
The recovery time is typically two to three months but I will be returning back to work in just one more week. My recovery is going really well, and my blood sugars have been perfect since the surgery. Avg 100am and 110pm. It is really strange not taking insulin shots three to four times a day. Being able to skip a meal is even more strange.

The cost of the procedure is expensive , and I prefer not discuss the specifics.

Would you recommend having a pancreas transplant?
I would recommend the procedure to anyone, but must point out again that it is a major surgery, you will have to take anti-rejection meds for the rest of your life. I really comes down to a personal choice. For myself the choice was easy. I wasn't willing to let diabete take my vision or kidneys. Plus I want to improve the overall quality of my life, which it has. I feel like a different person !!!

Great information on pancreas transplants

Insulin-Free World Foundation