Maria L., Vienna, Austria, July 2008
“Hi. I am new to this, but I would still like to tell you about my experience with the gastric pacemaker.
At the beginning of 2005, I felt like an old woman, shortly before retirement, type 2 diabetic (and on the verge of having to resort to Insulin injection), very overweight and always tired and without any spirit of enthusiasm.
Then I learned that I was about to become a Grandmother, and I wanted to be an active, healthy Granny for my grandchild. Through an ad I heard about the DIAMOND (TANTALUS) system study, applied, and to my delight, I was accepted.
I have my stimulator for 3 years now, and according to my 3-year-old grandson I am the ‘best Granny’, who always comes up with new activities for him, such as a visit to a railway station and a train ride, etc. I’ve lost 25 pounds so far*, and although I am still plump, I am not obese. My long-term blood sugar is reduced from 9.7 to 6.5. And I was already interviewed by a newspaper and television report.
So, for me, the stimulator is my best friend, because it has provided me again with an active and purposeful life. And besides, I have found in the General Hospital a few really nice new acquaintances”.
S. Bayer, Berlin – February 2009
My DIAMOND (TANTALUS) and I, a story with temporary happy ending
It is mid-November 2008 and the display on the Doctor’s scale is off the chart again. I am just 3.4 kilograms below my all-time record of 123.4 kilograms. My clothes are once again tight, and I don’t feel very well. I really wish my blood tests will show that the HbA1c isn’t up again. Normally it is between 7.2 and 7.6. Please don’t go up! Please don’t get worse than three months ago! What should I do? My Doctor will tell me, as always, that I need to lose weight.
Ha, ha, I know that too. The idea is perfectly clear. But I can’t face the idea of starting a new diet, which is then only successful in the short term …, only until my will weakens up again, and I enter the inevitable eating spree. My entire adult life was like that, and I see no sense in another failed attempt, which makes me even more stressed-out and depressed. Definitely no sense in that.
Fortunately the waiting time in the diabetologist’s office is quite long. I spot a poster announcing that Charité, hospital is looking for patients to participate in a clinical study… “Are you overweight? Do you have diabetes, which until now has only been treated with pills? Is your age such and such?”
I was curious, but my first thought was “Oh my God, it is about an implant”, it’s a type of pacemaker, a stimulator – DIAMOND. A new therapy for diabetes, type 2, with a bonus: a side effect of weight loss is very likely! Sounds mysterious. I would have to have an operation, no, I never wanted this. No stomach stapling surgery, gastric bypass, gastric banding or other procedure performed on my body. I have always felt them to be too violent and threatening.
But this is different. Although it is implanted, and under general anesthesia, the surgery is only minimally invasive, and most importantly: everything that is done is reversible. This sounds good. My metabolism would be stimulated by electrical signals, so that my stomach will feel full very soon after starting to eat, and will tell my brain that it has had enough. This fits very well to my personal profile: I can resist eating for some time, but whenever I start to eat, I can’t stop until I am completely stuffed. I decided to ask the Doctor’s assistant that I am interested in this treatment. The Doctor called and informed me that he had also thought of me as a candidate, and that I have all the necessary parameters for this implantation.
Cool! I get enrolled and from that point everything goes very quickly. Surgery was performed in early December. It was not very thrilling because of the general anesthesia, and I had to stay in the hospital for five days, but there were no complications, and the service was competent and comprehensive. A Technician from MetaCure attended the procedure and took care of all the technical issues, tweaking all the necessary settings on DIAMOND. This was done externally, through the skin. Now all I have to do is use an external charger once a week to power up the stimulator. The technical parameters are checked by my doctor and the MetaCure technician at regular intervals and the treatment is analyzed and evaluated.
And above all, it works wonderfully! Of course I had to get used to it, because there is now a part in me which is unnatural, but I see it as a spare part, which helps my body maintain a process that it could not handle by itself – almost a necessary repair.
During a meal, I now realize even after a very small portion that I’m full and I eat so much less*. After just six weeks my HbA1c – value is 6.4. Up to now I have already lost nine kilograms – without stress and without the constant feeling that I am hungry. I realize this is not long-term experience, but so far it is a success across the board. The scars have healed well, and actually I eat what I want, but just a lot less of it than before. I have almost no appetite for sweets, which of course is very helpful for my long-term goal of reducing my oral drugs and avoiding Insulin.
My preliminary summary: I can recommend the DIAMOND stimulator for anyone who is in a similar situation as I was. This must be carefully considered, and the personal level of motivation is key for success. I am now very confident that it will continue to run smoothly in the future as well. So far I have no reason to doubt it. Wish me luck!
Lucia S., Fondi, Italy, February 2011
“My name is Lucia and my story began about 2 years ago, in 2009. I have Type 2 Diabetes and am also obese. In fact my weight was 125kg and my height was 171cm. I received metformin for my diabetes, but was not feeling good. I wasn’t able to do too many things and because of that I was always nervous; I felt tired, I always wanted to sleep, and when I was awake I wanted to eat.
So one day I told myself – that’s enough now! and I decided that I had to do something to change my way of life because I couldn’t stand myself anymore.
I had heard about this department for obesity disease in Policlinico Gemelli of Roma, so I set an appointment and I met a great team there. The doctor prescribed some tests to better understand my situation. She showed me which of the results were problematic, and informed me about an investigational medical device, the DIAMOND system [TANTALUS], giving me all the info about it.
At the beginning I was hesitant, but after I thought about it carefully, my desire to finally change my life motivated me to undergo this treatment, even though to be honest, I had never heard about it until then.
On the day of the implant I wasn’t worried about the procedure itself but I was afraid of not being able to have a normal life afterwards. Fortunately, my fears were not realized and today I’m very happy and I keep doing what I used to do before, even my job that is a very hard one.
I understood that many things had to be changed after the procedure. Many wrong behaviours of my previous way of life had to stop, I had to walk a lot, do sports and eliminate my sedentary life.
I must admit that it wasn’t easy; I had to learn to eat the right way and with moderation, otherwise I would get these strong abdominal pains.
In this way, by carefully following all the suggestions of the physicians, I was able to stop taking metformin.
At the same time, I saw my body change and as a consequence, finally, also my wardrobe was changing. I was feeling well, I was happy and my life was changing. Day after day my health was improving and sometimes I almost couldn’t believe it.
After 8 months I lost 35kg, it wasn’t easy, but I was doing so well that making the effort wasn’t hard for me. I understood that we need to learn to love ourselves.
Now, 2 years later, I’m feeling very well, I like myself, I can have fun window-shopping, while before that just made me nervous because I couldn’t wear what I wanted.
Sometimes I still wonder how I was able to do it and the only thing I’m sure of is that I was never alone. I must thank the Professor and her team, that were always very close to me, they took care of me and listened to me each time I needed it, like the time I had abdominal disturbances or when I couldn’t sleep, always helping me in solving the problem.
So if today I’m feeling well, it’s thanks to all of them.”
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS MAY VARY FROM PERSON TO PERSON