Philip's Life With Type 1 Diabetes & A New Pancreas Transplant: Moline, IL
The support we received at Restoring Hope Transplant House played an essential part in our successful transplant journey. Philip received a pancreas transplant on July 28th at midnight. Let me retrace our steps to provide you a bit of context.
Our journey started a decade ago when Philip was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic. Over the last ten years we have had many ups and downs, but he never let diabetes define him. He refused to be restricted by being a diabetic. He would continue to play baseball and golf, run cross-country, learn to play the cello, and achieve the rank of Eagle Scouts.
Nonetheless, it was apparent that this disease was taking its toll on him. As a mother, this is hard to witness in your child. There were some serious concerns regarding his health since he was unable to feel his diabetic lows or highs. In the last year prior to his transplant we had several trips, including a helicopter ride to the hospital. His senior year of high school, we were informed that a pancreas transplant may be the only solution for Philip to reach adulthood. We had our first appointment with the transplant team in June, he was listed on July 27th, and we received a call immediately letting us know that a matching donor transplant was available. We were blessed.
To say we were prepared for this experience was an understatement. We made our way up to Wisconsin the morning of Saturday, July 28th. We had discussed staying close to the hospital since we did not want to impose on anyone. Unbeknownst to us, the World Championship of CrossFit was currently taking place in Madison. We were frantic since many options that we had originally considered were no longer available. We shared these concerns with a nurse and she contacted Cindy at Restoring Hope Transplant House (RHTH). She was able to provide a home away from home for my family.
Several hours before surgery I decided to stop by the RHTH to introduce myself. I arrived at the house and had just met Cindy Herbst when I received a call that the surgeon would be arriving shortly. Who knew that Cindy would become my rock. She provided the support my family needed and gave me the words that I needed to hear at that time to get us through this life-changing experience. I truly felt RHTH became our home away from home and that we were part of a greater, supportive family in Madison. I believe that we were meant to stay at RHTH and meet Cindy and Eric.
After surgery, the surgeon informed us that Philip had a beautiful pancreas and that everything went very well. Once I saw Philip post surgery, I traveled back to the RHTH. It was there that I was able to meet two pancreas transplant recipients over breakfast. Meeting these two wonderful ladies was reassuring and comforting. I was able to see Philip's journey through their eyes. None of this would have been possible without this incredible house and people.
Philip is one of five children. Our family decided that I would stay for Philip's recovery while the rest of the family would return home. I admit, I was an early riser and returned to RHTH late in the evening. Every evening, Eric and some of the guests would greet me warmly and provide a nice supportive environment when I returned. Every morning, I had the joy of meeting Cindy and additional guests over breakfast which bolstered my resolve to be a supportive advocate for my son.
I joke with my family that they are usually gone or something happens during my birthday. This year was no exception, my birthday arrived three days after Philip's transplant. I still remember coming back to the RHTH to finding Eric and guest with a birthday cake and singing happy birthday. It is that kind of thoughtfulness, kindness, and support that you can only find at this home. Philip made a quick recovery and was out a week after his transplant. He had several goals that he wanted to accomplish (starting Augustana College in the Fall and making the baseball team) and this was not going to slow him down.
Philip started college less than three weeks after his surgery. He then returned with me to the RHTH three weeks later for his first stay. He was able to experience first hand the care and generosity of everyone involved. Philip was able to bond with other transplant guests and caregivers. We still return to the transplant house. It has helped lessen the stress and helps us really focus on Philip having a successful transplant and recuperation.
As Philip's transplant journey continues, his life also moves forward. He made the Augustana College baseball team and is successfully completing his freshman year.
We also plan to continue visiting the RHTH. I hope that we can provide to other guests the love and support we experienced during our stay.
As I am writing this, my heart is full of love and gratitude that we are part of this loving supportive family. We were always meant to start our transplant journey with the support of Cindy, Eric, and Restoring Hope Transplant House guests.
Transplant recipients and families are fortunate to have the Restoring Hope Transplant House, Cindy, Eric, and all the volunteers on their team to recovery. We are thankful that you are an integral part of supporting the Restoring Hope Transplant House. Without this support, this house would not be able to help all transplant recipients and families. Please know that you are making a huge impact on lives. I hope to be able to continue providing positive updates on our transplant journey.