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Joe Arcieri of Feasterville, PA, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 12 and managed it until end-stage renal disease left him with serious medical issues decades later. His first step towards achieving normal health as an adult was through a living donor kidney transplant, courtesy of his beloved sister, Donna.
The kidney transplant, performed at UMMC, relieved Joe of the typical symptoms of kidney disease, including weight gain, leg and stomach swelling, shortness of breath, uncontrolled blood pressure and changes in skin color. He lost more than 50 pounds and no longer had to wear a CPAP mask for sleep apnea. His energy was back!
But the kidney transplant was only part one of his journey to good health and a diabetes-free life. He needed a new pancreas to eradicate Type 1 diabetes from his body once and for all so that his new, healthy kidney would not suffer from this disease ever again.
So he was evaluated by Dr. Joseph Scalea from the UMMC pancreas transplant team, approved and listed for a pancreas transplant. Unbelievably, he got a call 48 hours after being listed, saying, “Joe, we have a pancreas for you. You need to get to the hospital.”
Joe’s pancreas operation was his second transplant success. He is finally free of the insulin he’d been a slave to for 36 years. Gone is the insulin pump he was tethered to for 20 years. Instead of checking his blood glucose 8 to 10 times a day, he now checks it four times a day to monitor for trends and changes.
Joe says, “I would definitely recommend pursing transplantation whether kidney, pancreas, or both based on opportunity. These opportunities that were given to me through collective efforts from my sister, the clinicians, the staff of UMMC, and the family of the individual donor of my pancreas are greatly appreciated. It is my honor to continue to optimize and maintain these gifts that I was granted.”
Click for more information on living donor kidney and pancreas transplants as a solution to Type 1 diabetes.