A woman has told a “life-changing” transplant has meant she is now free from diabetes – a condition she suffered from since she was a child.
And now Charlene Duthie, 35, from Longside, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was just two years old, is looking forward to enjoying eating cake without fear on her birthday later this week – something she has never been able to do before.
Diabetes, which causes blood glucose levels to become too high, led Charlene to developing kidney disease and ultimately having a kidney and pancreas transplant at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in May.
Her transplant was the result of poorly controlled diabetes, which caused the organs to slowly deteriorate.
The mum-of-one is now able to produce her own insulin and does not need to inject it.
Now she is looking forward to her birthday on Saturday, when she will finally be able to enjoy her birthday cake.
Although she had managed to eat cake as a diabetic, she was plagued by worries about her blood sugar levels.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to turning 36 now, because I’ll just be able to enjoy it and not have to worry about taking insulin or checking my blood sugar levels.
“My sister bakes cakes so I’m expecting to receive a kidney-themed birthday cake.”
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Charlene had a kidney and pancreas transplant in May this year, after developing kidney disease in 2014.
She continued: “I no longer have diabetes because the transplant was successful.
“Beforehand my kidneys were functioning at 15% but now they are back up to 60%.
“It’s been life-changing and I’ve got so much of my energy back.
“I’m a single parent so it’s been really difficult for my son Lewis, who is only 15, because he’s had to be more of a carer than a child.”
Charlene, a former barmaid, was on a transplant list for 20 months and had to be prepared to receive the organs at short notice.
She said: “I had to go to sleep every night with my mobile on loudspeaker and a bag packed ready to go. I had my mum on speed dial as well so neither of us slept very well.”
Charlene is now encouraging people to become organ donors.
She said: “My sister and I have both signed up to become organ donors because it’s a really important thing to do.
“I wouldn’t have been on such a long waiting list if everyone was a donor.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Blood and Transplant said: “There are currently more than 6,000 people in the UK in need of an organ transplant and more than 300 patients are waiting for a lung transplant.
“We urge people to register their organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and ensure they tell their families.
“The law around organ donation is changing in England and Scotland next year and families will still be approached before organ donation goes ahead.
“We know families find the organ donation conversation with our nurses much easier if they already know what their relative wanted. This conversation can save lives.”
Angela Mitchell, Diabetes Scotland national director, said: “As the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise in Scotland, there is an urgent and real need for services to recognise the impact that the day-to-day and lifelong demands of diabetes can have on people’s mental health.
“Services that include emotional and psychological support can not only improve people’s mental wellbeing but their physical health and quality of life.
“When diabetes cannot be well managed, the risk of dangerous complications, such as amputations, kidney failure and stroke increases.
“We have to bridge the divide between physical and mental health services for people with diabetes to ensure that those in Scotland affected by this relentless condition can access the support they need.”