Blog Entries With Tag: cure

Posted: Nov 4, 2012

How many of you have heard of the Islet Sheet Project? I hadn’t since today when seeing a post about a documentary called “Patient 13”.  I think I must have been living under a rock these past 10 years not to have known about this (how many times have I said this over the years I've been blogging?)!

Scott King, scientist, entrepreneur, and person living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, has been working for close to 30 years on this project along with other team members at Hanuman Medical Foundation.  He is currently in the documentary called “Patient 13” as the project enters into the next phase of animal testing.  Hopefully if all goes well, within 2013 he will be the “rat” for the human trial at that point. 

Seriously though, the scientific info for you Big Bang Theory geeks out there is that the sheet is about the size of a business card, holding a layer of human islets that are encased in a membrane of ultra-pure alginate (in layman terms – seaweed – you know the stuff from the oceans that washes up all the time on the beach?).  It is made stronger with mesh along with a coating on the surface to stop contact between the cells inside and your immune system that would attack the cells and destroy them. Oxygen, glucose, and other nutrients go through this sheet, keeping the islets within alive; and insulin, hormones, waste products go out. It can be removed or replaced at any time and no immune suppression drugs are needed (like the Edmonton Protocol) – except in the initial stage of the “transplantation”.

The October 2012 edition of the Diabetes Voice magazine from IDF (International Diabetes Federation) gives you the inside story of this project that was started 18 months ago by Lisa Hepner (a T1D diabetic herself for 20 years and Canadian – whoot!whoot! to boot) and her husband Guy Mossman after they met up with Scott King and his “team” over a casual meal in LA. 

Boy oh boy – wonder if they need a “Patient 14”?  Pick me, pick me!!!  I mean, this is as close to a CURE as I’ll ever see in my lifetime, having lived with diabetes almost 50 years!

This film will not sugar coat the reality of life with diabetes ~ Lisa Hepner

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Posted: Oct 3, 2012

It was the first week of the school summer holidays in 2009. Francesca was 6 years old. She had been feeling (what we thought was) under the weather for a couple of weeks. She was very tired but it was the end of the school year and she had been very busy with various things, so we put it down to that. She was also drinking vast amounts and going to the toilet a lot, which didn’t seem surprising, given the amount she was drinking

One morning, she woke up considerably worse so my wife took her to the doctor with a written list of symptoms so she didn’t forget any. The doctor didn’t seem unduly concerned and told her to take Francesca to the hospital for a blood test. It was too late to take her that day and we had no idea how urgent it was, otherwise we would have taken her to A&E. We took her to the hospital the next morning for the blood test. Francesca was so weak by then that I had to carry her from the car to the phlebotomy department. The nurses struggled to get blood from her and seemed very worried. I thought for a moment that they would fetch a doctor or take us to A&E. In the event, they took her sample through for analysis immediately. Less than an hour later, after I had gone to work, my wife received a phone call from one of the doctors at our surgery. He told Claire to take Francesca to hospital immediately. When she said she couldn’t as she didn’t drive and it would take me possibly half an hour to get home, the doctor said “She needs to go to hospital now so I’ll call an ambulance. Please pack an overnight bag. “She rang me and I raced home but they had already gone to hospital. I raced there and arrived to see Francesca on a bed with lots of tubes attached to her. We were told her fingers and toes were cold and this meant that her body had started to shut down. We had got her there just in time. 

After spending a few hours in A&E, she was transferred to the children’s ward and put in her own room. Later that evening, the paediatrician decided to transfer Francesca to the High Dependency Unit at the bigger hospital in Coventry in case her condition deteriorated so that she was already where she would need to be. She was transferred by ambulance under blue lights. Fortunately, she didn’t get any worse and was transferred back the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton the next day.

While she was there, we began the daunting process of learning what we needed to do for Francesca; blood tests, insulin injections etc. There was an enormous amount of information to take on board. We met with the diabetes nurses (who we would see a lot more of in the years to come) and the dietician, all of whom were full of advice.

After spending five days in hospital, Francesca was considered well enough to be released, much to her relief. We left the hospital loaded with books, sheets of information and lots of the medical equipment that would become part of our everyday lives.

A few months later, in February 2010, Francesca was dealing really well with everything but we were starting to worry about our five year old son, Jacob. He started showing the signs of type 1 but a blood test and a urine test were both clear. However, one evening when we were doing the necessary with Francesca, Jacob asked to be tested. The meter read ‘hi’. Off to A&E we went, complete with overnight bag, and our worst fears were confirmed. It was a heartbreaking moment for me when he looked up at me and said, “Am I diabetic too, Dad?” Because recognising the symptoms had helped us to have him diagnosed much sooner than Francesca, he was only in hospital for one night. The doctors wanted to keep him in longer as his BM’s were still too high, but we felt we knew what we were doing by now and he was upset at the thought of staying in hospital another night, so we took him home.

Night-times can be difficult to predict or monitor, and children with type 1 have died in their sleep because their blood sugars go so low without them knowing, so one of us gets up in the middle of the night every night to check their BM’s.

This is why we need to find a cure for type 1. Naturally, I wan5t to do my bit to raise funds for the JDRF. I am involved in a project for World Diabetes Day.

Mums of type 1 children made a video called ‘A Mother’s Anthem’ which you may have seen. The suggestion was made for a Dad’s version. I decided to take up the challenge and saw the potential for a song. The lyrics are from the Dad’s perspective.

The song is about to be recorded and produced professionally with the help of an acquaintance of mine who is in the business, who is also finding a good singer. There will also be a video which is in the process of being made.

The song will be available as a download and (hopefully) a CD single as well. All funds raised will be donated to the JDRF. It will be released to coincide with World Diabetes Day on 14th November.

Watch this space to find out where you can buy it.

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Posted: May 17, 2010

For the last blog assignment for the week of the Diabetic Blog Week we were asked to write about what we would do if a cure for diabetes was found, a *magic* pill was swallowed and we didn't have diabetes - how are lives would be changed. 
Do I believe that there will be a cure found for diabetes? It's nice to think that there will maybe one day, but I guess because I've been diabetic since a young age, it's never really bothered me that I've had it this long.  I know many who are very bitter about this disease, and it sometimes saddens me that they feel that way.  Yes, diabetes does bugger things up for me sometimes, but the main thing is - I AM ALIVE - WE ARE ALIVE!!! 

A good friend of mine, Darlene last year lost her 17 year old daughter Jenna to cancer (I wrote a blog about it last September).  Actually, her birthday is this week, and she would have been 18.  It was very hard to hear the news last year and at the time we were looking for our latest sailboat (which is named Jenna's Journey).  What sent me into a slump at that point was if Jenna had diabetes instead of cancer, she would be alive today and I'd be helping her!

That is the cure I would rather hear of - a cure for cancer as well as diabetes.  I know many parents of diabetic children will be very upset by my saying this, but I grew up with diabetes in what my friend Brigitte from France calls the "Stone Age" in her recent blog here at  We are both still alive even with a few complications of diabetes despite being diagnosed at such a young age.  Diabetes can be managed much better then it was back when we were first diagnosed.  If we can take of ourselves we can lead a very healthy and productive life.  I have met many diabetics of over 50 years still vibrant and alive, and for me, they are my role models of being able to be the same way as I get older.


Jenna the butterfly

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Posted: Sep 19, 2009

Jenna LangMy friend Darlene's  daughter Jenna, was diagnosed with Stage IV Avealor Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer at the age of 15. It is a cancerous form of tumor growth that originates in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, tendons, and connective tissues and is very aggressive. The most common sites for this tumor to be found include the head, neck, bladder, vagina, arms, legs, and trunk (abdomen).  Jenna had been battling this beast for the past 2 years - and her motto was "One Step at a Time".

I felt a very close connection to Jenna, as many of us did that knew her parents/family.  We were all fighting along side of her in her battle in one way or another.  I know I was ready to kick butt for her!!!  Also, since Spring time, Jenna had been using a pump to infuse morphine to deal with the pain.  I felt in some way very more connected to her, maybe because of my being on an insulin pump that keeps me alive and healthy. 

Jenna and Darlene

Back in July I saw Jenna when she was visiting her Mum and stepdad Shawn in Rochester, NY (Jenna lives in Carleton Place, Ontario with her father Bob and his wife Jennifer).  She was in pretty good spirits - your usual spunky teenager 17 year old (she can really belt out a tune - I told her she should be on American Idol - and she looked at me like I was off my rockers with that comment ).  It was great to see her enjoying herself and it brought my hopes up for her, as I'm sure it did for others.

Sadly, a few weeks later, she started to experience alot of pain and had to go back to hospital.  During that time she fought the battle of her life and with all her might - but sadly she passed away this week - on September 16th, 2009.   All I know is that her spirit will continue on forever, she was not only beautiful, but also had great courage and remarkable strength.

I just know that if I could have traded my life as a diabetic for hers - I would not have hesitated in a nanosecond!  As I'm sure others would agree with if they thought about it.  If Jenna had been diagnosed with diabetes rather then this evil cancer - she would have been able to survive.  Yes, we have complications associated with diabetes, but we can live with them if we take care of ourselves. 

You can read more of Jenna's story from her father  and stepmum's journal - at Jenna's Journey.

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