Part of “The 1%” … Immunotherapy-induced Type-1 Diabetes

48 hours ago, things felt a little off but nothing I could put my finger on.  Went for a short 10-mile ride on Monday, felt a little parched but nothing dramatic.  Come Wed morning (yesterday), my immunotherapy blood workup (pre-treatment) revealed glucose levels of 500 with Ketones pegged to the max.  Robin and I felt the same gut shot that we experienced a month ago when we received the stage-4, multi-tumor diagnosis.

As it turns out, a rare complication of my immunotherapy drug (designed to rev-up the body’s immune system to attack my tumors) is identifying the pancreas as a bad guy.  Best we can tell, the switch on my pancreas turned off Monday night (permanently) … previous glucose levels for me were in the 90’s.  We were in the right place (Duke) to immediate start triaging my DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis, a life-threatening state when the body starts breaking down fat at a rate that is too fast. The liver processes the fat into a fuel called ketones (nothing to do with Ketosis which is harmless), which causes the blood to become acidic and you can slip you into a coma.  

Our family has had experiences with DKA when Logan was diagnosed with Type-1 seven years ago (he is 17 now) … we were in the hospital for the better part of a week with him.  For me (since we caught it so quickly), 3 bags of saline and 2 gallons of water and 25 units of insulin, we were able to avoid another day in the hospital.  With our expertise with Diabetes, they felt comfortable in letting us treat the tail end of my DKA from home with frequent updates.  Still getting glucose and Ketones under control today but everything is moving in the right direction.

I could put lipstick on this pig but I will save that for another day … “positive Teddy” has left the building and we are both punch-drunk, both mentally and physically.  We will be better in a few days.

Appreciate the continued prayers that this treatment does not throw us any more curve balls and that my super-charged immune system stays on-task … killing the bad guys.


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