Patient Who Received 1,000th Kidney-Pancreas Transplant Shares His Perspective

Tom and Jean DuzeskiThe man who received the 1,000th kidney-pancreas at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics never expected to be a milestone. He just wanted to stop feeling tired all the time.
Tom Duzeski of Newton, Wisconsin, had been diagnosed in the early 1970s with Type 1 diabetes. Thirty-five years later, his kidneys were still functioning - barely - but the disease was taking a severe toll on the quality of his life and his job as a maintenance machinist with Manitowoc Ice.
"My wife Jean said I looked gray," Duzeski says. "Making it through a day was really difficult for me."
In spring of 2007, doctors told him it was time to consider getting listed for an organ donation. A mere four months after landing on the list, Dr. Hans Sollinger implanted his new organs at UW Hospital and Clinics.
Like so many other patients, a new kidney and pancreas has given Duzeski, who recently turned 54, a new lease on life. His diabetes is gone, and nearly a year out from his surgery, doctors have told him that he can expect several decades of good kidney and pancreas function.
He's back enjoying his hobby farm and his outlook on life has been completely transformed.
"Within a month after my surgery, I felt like I was 30 years old," he says. "I have two grandchildren, and another one on the way. Just being able to have a second chance at life without diabetes, growing older with my wife and children and grandchildren is nothing short of a miracle. I'm so grateful to the person who donated their organs to me."
Learn More About Kidney-Pancreas Transplant
Major Milestone - UW Health Transplant Program Celebrates 1,000th Kidney-Pancreas Transplant