– September 5, 2007
– Tony Parker, 39, of Portsmouth, has had Type 1 Diabetes since age five. Frequent blood sugar tests and insulin shots three times a day were his routine. His kidneys failed two years ago, and he’s been on dialysis three times a week ever since. Still, Parker persevered, and stayed on the job as a housekeeper at the VDOT district office in Suffolk.
“I’ve always been high-spirited,” Parker says. “I do what I have to do to survive.”
Soon after dialysis began, Parker was placed on the list for a kidney transplant at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. More recently, he was added to the early list of patients awaiting a pancreas transplant, to address the root cause of his kidney failure, Diabetes.
Parker got the call at 3:00am on August 25th, to prepare for an organ transplant.
Since the procedure, during which he received a kidney and pancreas simultaneously, Parker is off insulin. His blood sugar levels are normal and he’s looking forward to a new kind of lifestyle.
“It’s going to be a lot different,” Parker predicts. “I won’t have to do insulin all the time.”
“This is a tremendous step forward for our program,” says John Colonna, M.D.,surgical director of the renal transplant program at Sentara Norfolk General. “A pancreas transplant is a life-changing procedure for patients with Diabetes and it was a privilege to perform the first one at Sentara Norfolk General.”
A pancreas transplant cures the diabetes that causes kidney failure by normalizing the way their bodies create insulin. Whether performed simultaneously with the kidney transplant, or later, a pancreas transplant vastly improves a recipient’s health. 47/2007