Hello, I’m Brandon Mouw and insulin kept me alive for 31 years and now a pancreas-only transplant keeps me alive. I was diagnosed as a type 1 juvenile diabetic at the age of three. My diabetes was well controlled until I was 28 and had a kidney stone removal surgery.
Suddenly, I became a brittle hypoglycemic unaware diabetic. Brittle Diabetes means you cannot control diabetes no matter what you do and it’s life threatening. Something changed after I had surgery on my kidney. There was no direct explanation as to what exactly changed, but all we knew is that I went from having no issues to being in very dangerous territory in less than a year.
After technically dying twice and been given less than two years to live because of hypoglycemia, it was determined that I needed a pancreas-only transplant because no other treatments were working.
A pancreas-only transplant is an optional coverage in the Affordable Care Act, so my insurance, and any insurance I could try to get, did not cover the transplant. So, I had to fundraise $250,000 from family, friends, and strangers to cover the cost of the life saving transplant. Working against hypoglycemia that could take me out at any time and less than two years to live, I was able to raise the funds in three months. That blew my mind. Showed me that people are generous and care when they are aware of ways to be. Two months later, I got the call!
I’m an no longer insulin dependent. Instead, I’m dependent on a transplant organ and anti-rejection medication. Was a diabetic for 31 years and have been successfully managing the transplant for 2 years.
My experiences taught me that life is a gift. I am alive today because someone died and donated their organs. The gift of life changes a person and everyone in their lives. I am so thankful to my organ donor!! And, everyone who supported me along the way. I’m sharing my story to encourage and inspire everyone to never give up and raise awareness about organ donation. Follow my journey on brandonmouw.com or @brandonmouwofficial.