City of Hope - Duarte, CA - Roger Sparks

Current Thoughts

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My thoughts at this point center around my confidence in the City of Hope and my transplant team.  I am stunned about how they have already changed my life.

In a process like this, you are reminded every day of how lucky you are to be part of it – by the disciplines you develop, the benefits you receive, and the promise of the treatment. I will never regret, irrespective of the eventual outcome, being a small part of this incredible journey.

So, I’m pretty happy at the moment, for a number of reasons:

  • I’m not going to die in my sleep from a low blood sugar anymore. I can’t tell you the relief associated with this, and how I now count this blessing every single day of my life.
  • I no longer have to carry orange juice with me everywhere I go to treat low blood sugars that might happen during the day, or on the tennis court.
  • My friends no longer have to worry about me or deal with the drama associated with my low blood sugars.
  • The costs of the many procedures and drugs were all covered by the clinical trial, as are the anti-rejection drugs for the first year post transplant. I wouldn’t have been able to have this done otherwise.
  • I want to get to insulin independence, but I accept that this may not happen quickly, or I may need one or two more transplants to get there. I am in it for the long run.

And probably the most important parts:

  • City of Hope - Gonda Research Center

    City of Hope – Gonda Research Center

    City of Hope.  The doctors, nurses, and staff at the City of Hope have all been extraordinary.  I feel extremely lucky to be part of their study and to be under their care. It’s truly a remarkable facility, and they are all incredibly qualified, dedicated, and sensitive people. They are the type of people you always hope to have working on your body when you have a serious health situation. I joke with them about being their “lab rat”, but they never make me feel like anything but the most important person in their trial.

  • My Donor.  I am grateful to my donor beyond my ability to express, whomever he was.  I understand it was a 29 year old male, but know nothing else about him. His donation of his pancreas changed my life forever, and I urge everyone to consider organ donation.  A part of this man will continue to live as long as I live, and there are undoubtedly other people equally grateful to him. If you have not already arranged to be an organ donor, do it now – you can bring a better life to others as a result of yours.
  • Future Diabetics – Young and Old.  I am also extremely grateful to be part of a program that will potentially have great benefit in the future to people with diabetes. I truly feel I am part of something much bigger than myself, and I believe that one day Type 1 diabetes will become a thing we look back on as a past, horrible affliction, much like Polio. To be part of the process of getting to that point is a blessing far beyond any expectations or hope I ever had. I’ll feel good about doing this for the rest of my life, no matter what the ultimate result.
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