8/12/08 ~ Kitty and Dr. Fallon Celebrate Kitty’s “4th” Birthday of her Pancreas Transplant with Special Guest: Dr. Benjamin Philosophe, Transplant Surgeon

This week Kitty and Dr. Fallon will celebrate Kitty turning “four” since her successful pancreas transplant with Special Guest: Dr. Benjamin Philosophe, Chief, Division of Transplantation at The University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Philosophe performed Kitty’s Pancreas Transplant Alone on August 13, 2004. Kitty will share with the listening audience her personal story of what it was like to live with type one diabetes, diabetic eye disease and to under go Pancreas Transplantation. Kitty will also talk about what it is like to be “Cured!” This weeks show is being dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Freed. Listener’s are invited to call in with their questions and comments. 

Dr. Benjamin Philosophe

Benjamin Philosophe is chief of the Division of Transplantation and is the director of liver transplantation. He received his medical degree from Boston University and completed his surgical residency at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Philosophe was a transplant fellow at both University of Toronto and the University of Maryland. His expertise is in liver transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery, as well as kidney and pancreas transplant. His research interests are in signal transduction defects in T-cells and portal tolerance. His clinical interests are in the management of liver tumors.

Photo Above: Dr. Benjamin Philosophe, Transplant Surgeon

Photo Above: Kitty with Dr. Philosophe

Photo Above: Kitty in the Gift Shop at UMMC where the Reese’s Cup story began with Rabbi Freed!

Diabetes Living Today was founded by a “Diabetic Doctor ~ Patient team,” with one experiencing a cure. Endocrinologist Dr. Joseph J. Fallon, Jr., and his patient Kitty Castellini went in search of a cure for her type one diabetes which had taken control of her life. Together they battled her disease which had taken so much from her. Kitty was left with no quality of life; she had suffered physically and mentally never to give into despair.

Instead the pair had a vision; in order for this to work they both knew that they would need a strong Dr. ~ Patient relationship. One based on complete trust and honesty for others to see. The first place the pair turned to was The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami for Islet Cell Transplantation.

Kitty was accepted into the Islet Cell Transplant program at The Diabetes Research Institute, however Kitty still had 98 percent of her own kidney function. Dr. Nasser I. Youssef, Transplant Surgeon at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, N.J., felted that whole organ transplant would be a better option.

Dr. Fallon now guided Kitty towards The University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. This transplant center is number one in the world for kidney transplantation. Kitty was accepted immediately into their program. She was considered the perfect candidate for a Pancreas Transplant Alone (PTA). Kitty was soon listed on UNOS national list for a rare pancreas transplant. On the eight night she received her life saving/changing phone call. The next morning Kitty was heading to Maryland where she underwent an eight hour surgical transplant.

Kitty spent several months at The University of Maryland Medical Center recovering. During her stay she became friends with someone who became extremely “special” to her, Rabbi Freed worked with transplant patients. Kitty remembers waking up to find him at her side as he had stayed with her during the entire night. Kitty and Rabbi Freed had become inseparable; they would spend hours together as he helped her heal. They were seen all over the hospital, he would sit with Kitty while she would sleep. One day the pair got into a little mischief together, off the two of them went down to the gift shop. Kitty had wanted to test out her new pancreas. Rabbi Freed took Kitty to buy her a candy. Kitty picked out a Reese’s Cup, he then wheeled her outside where the two of them shared a Reese’s Cup. It was then that Kitty shared with Rabbi Freed that her endocrinologist was also a type one Diabetic and that he would be happy to see her able to eat the forbidden sweet. The Rabbi encouraged Kitty to share her new freedom in life with her Dr. Kitty was excited when Dr. Fallon would call her and send her cards. She could not wait to return to show him that she was truly cured! Upon seeing her trusting physician Kitty did pull out a Reese’s Cup only to have it taken from her hands by Dr. Fallon, who was all to happy to open it for her! The two shared a tear, a smile and hug, knowing they had beaten the odds, one was cured!

Their battle was over as Kitty came from the depths of darkness and became the light on this disease. A disease that took so much from her, she has now taken back. Always at each others side Kitty and Dr. Fallon have open the doors for others to understand diabetes. To focus on overcoming the impossible with a resolution to win the battle.

If you are living with Diabetes we ask you to take a minute…

Look in the mirror…

Rethink your diabetes…

You can live a healthier today with Diabetes.

Listen to Diabetes Living Today®:

8/12/08 ~ Kitty and Dr. Fallon Celebrate Kitty’s “4th” Birthday of her Pancreas Transplant with Special Guest: Dr. Benjamin Philosophe, Transplant Surgeon