Cedarville resident Brian Glenning is thinking about celebrating his 45th birthday in the next couple of weeks with a birthday cake that has real icing.
Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes since age 4, the husband and father of two teenage daughters is used to celebrating every birthday for 41 years with angel food cake.
“It has less carbs and no icing,” says Glenning. “This was just part of my birthday every year because diabetes was such a huge part of my life.”
It was so big that now Glenning has to remember he’s no longer diabetic, thanks to a kidney-pancreas transplant which took place at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center on Dec. 4.
Glenning was the first patient to kick-off a new Lourdes tradition – in recognition of organ donor awareness and to honor all organ donors, Our Lady of Lourdes now lights the hospital’s 30-foot, 15-ton statue of the Blessed Mother green each time a patient is having an organ transplant at the hospital.
“Having the transplant has been absolutely life-changing,” he says. “I feel like a new man. I have energy. But it’s still hard for me to understand I don’t have diabetes. I don’t think it’s really settled in for me yet.”
Growing up, Glenning treated his diabetes with two insulin shots a day. Then, by the mid-1980s, he needed three shots a day. By the late 80s, he was up to four to five shots a day. By the early 90s, he was on an insulin pump.
Glenning stayed on the pump until July 2010. He eventually went into kidney failure.
The next step for Glenning was dialysis, but as an EMT for the past 25 years, he knew that dialysis wouldn’t last forever.
By October 2010, only three months later, Glenning was on the transplant waiting list. “I was put on the kidney and pancreas list. Having a pancreas transplant was really to assure that my new kidney could function and to repair the damage my pancreas had endured from years of diabetes.”
Glenning waited a little more than two years for the call that two organs were available. He spent a lot of the time researching organ donation and transplantation.
“I was on my way home from the dialysis center at about 3 p.m. when I got the call. I was told that the organs were available and that I should prepare to be admitted to the hospital. I was at Lourdes by 5:30 p.m.
The double-transplant went well.
“The Lourdes team was amazing,” says Glenning. “I chose Lourdes because as an EMT, I know Lourdes does what it does well. And with my transplant, everything ran like clockwork.”
Glenning returned home seven days later.
Glenning says he is grateful for the donor who donated his or her organs. He encourages others to think about organ donation.
“Everyone has different beliefs, but it’s worth considering. It can save someone else’s life,” he says.