Westmont Magazine A Miracle Cure
After battling diabetes for 35 years, Carolyn McKissick Stout ’84 was in no mood for a self-help book, a guide to conquering the illness that had been conquering her. She was living with it, day in and day out.
Passing out with no warning countless times a day; losing the ability to drive or be at home alone; relying on her husband to revive her again and again during the night: these were the realities of Carolyn’s life. Her fingers were raw and tender from checking her blood sugar 12-15 times a day. She had been diagnosed with a condition called hypoglycemic unawareness, meaning she had lost the ability to sense when she would pass out. She was a slave to the disease.
Doctors offered few answers. At UC Los Angeles they told her to come back when her kidneys failed, and staff at City of Hope told her there wasn’t a lot of hope for someone at her stage; 50 percent of the people with hypoglycemic unawareness die within five years. For Carolyn, her husband, Robert, and their daughter, Dorothy, it had already been four.
At this point in her unimaginable life, she gave a friend a tour of Bakersfield, her hometown, and visited the local library. On a table in the center of the library a book was displayed: “Showdown with Diabetes.” Carolyn approached it with a bad attitude. She didn’t want to read about it; she was busy living with it. Her friend convinced her to check it out, and the volume spent a few nights in her home untouched. Finally, Carolyn forced herself to read it, and the results were miraculous.
The book described a pancreatic transplant procedure done at the University of Minnesota. Begun in 1968, the treatment boasted an 83 percent success rate. In October 1999, Carolyn and Robert prayed for direction and then began trying to qualify for a transplant — and for insurance coverage. Robert, a computer network manager, said, “We will sell our house and live in a cardboard box if we have to; you are getting this transplant.” In July 2000 they flew to Minnesota and Carolyn successfully underwent the surgery, ending her suffering and returning to normal.
In fact, Carolyn’s life is so normal, she almost can’t believe it. She and Robert were driving around one day, when she felt nauseous and immediately asked to go to the hospital. Robert laughed and explained, “Carolyn, it’s 2:30 in the afternoon, you’re hungry.” She had spent so many years eating when her blood sugar told her to, she had forgotten how to eat when she was hungry. Carolyn says she feels like a kid in a toy store, so in awe and so thankful of small joys in her life: eating normally, driving and sleeping full nights.
The Stouts are quick to give the Lord all the praise for this miraculous turn of events. His timing and hand in even the tiniest details were miracles in themselves. Carolyn explains, “We are so grateful to the Lord and want to give Him all of the glory.”