Blessed Assurance: Success Despite the Odds

by Jacquie Lewis-Kemp, Author & Health Coach for Living life with diabetes and organ transplants, rather than limiting life because of them.

Browsing Posts in Health Coaching

With so many instructions on how to manage your blood sugar, it is easy to forget to take care of your feet. However this is an important area to create a care regimen so that other, more risky diabetes complications don’t occur. Take a look at this video and write down any questions that you may have to take to your doctor.

 

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Donald JonesAn article recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine has many people wondering what role fats, including saturated fat, should play in their daily diet. In a nutshell, researchers did not find any relationship between total saturated fat intake and heart disease risk. This seems to contradict everything we have read for the last 40 years! So is it time to break out the pizza and ice cream?! To get to the bottom of this, let’s take a look at the different types of fats and dietary sources:

  1. Monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) can be beneficial to your health, when eaten in moderation. They can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Examples include olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil and sesame oil. Other sources are avocados, peanut butter and many nuts and seeds.

  2. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) can help improve cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Omega-6 and omega-3 (types of PUFAs) are essential fats your body needs but can’t produce, so they must be consumed through foods you eat. Sources of PUFAs include soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil, some nuts and seeds, as well as fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.

  3. Saturated fats are generally thought to increase your cholesterol and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels and this can increase your risk of cardiac disease. Saturated fats are found mostly in animal products like fatty meats and full fat dairy. According to the Harvard School of Public Health “pizza and cheese are the biggest food sources of saturated fat in the U.S. diet.”

  4. Trans fats sometimes occur naturally in foods, but are mostly made from oils through a process called partial hydrogenation. Trans fats can increase your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and lower your HDL (“healthy”) levels, thus increasing your risk for cardiac disease. Trans fats are often found in commercially baked goods such as cakes and cookies. Other sources are fried foods, shortenings and margarine. You can determine the amount of trans fats in packaged food by looking at the nutrition label.

We’ve read about the heart, but what about diabetes? According to Mayo Clinic consuming MUFAs may “benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control.” They also state PUFAs may “also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.”

The bottom line is fat is an important and necessary part of your diet but should be limited. At 9 calories per gram, it provides nearly double the amount of calories per gram of protein or carbohydrates. In general, consuming an excessive number of calories from any dietary source will result in weight gain, and excessive weight increases risk for heart disease and diabetes. Heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and kidney disease is a risk factor for heart disease because the heart and kidneys are interconnected.

Before you pick up the phone to order pizza for dinner, talk to your health care provider to find out what kind of diet, including what type of fats, will work best for you!

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Show your support for organ donation at the University of Michigan’s Vita Redita, a black tie celebration of Life Restored!

Vita Redita 2014 . . .

   November 8, 2014 at 6pm

      Silent & Live Auction, fabulous food

         at the Jack Roth Suites . . .

             in the Big House . . .

                 SAVING LIVES!

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO GET TICKETS VISIT: http://www.umtransplantevents.org/events/vita-redita

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There are so many observances throughout the year that several of them happen simultaneously. However April’s pairing of National Minority Health Month and National Donate Life Month is not pure happenstance.

National Minority Health Month

African Americans and other ethnic minorities are plagued by a number of chronic illnesses that may not be an immediate threat to life itself; however neglect of these chronic and often preventable conditions can surely lead to an early death. Perhaps the biggest of these chronic illnesses that disproportionately plague African Americans is hypertension and diabetes. According to the National Institute of Health,

“The most common causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, together accounting for about 70 percent of new cases.”

That bears repeating, 70 percent of new cases of chronic kidney disease is caused by uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension—both controllable conditions. Controllable in large part by good decision making: diet and exercise, and medication prescribed by a doctor. And this brings us to the next April observance.

National Donate Life Month

National Donate Life Month promoted largely by the Gift of Life Foundation encourages people to make the decision to become organ donors, either living or at the time of death so that those waiting on the transplant list, can live. There are currently more than 110,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. Millions of organs are wasted daily when people die without donating their organs. It is a simple process to sign up on the national organ donor registry: http://donatelife.net/register-now/

In the case of kidneys, while African Americans make up 12% of the population, we make up 32% of those on dialysis.

In April and beyond, join with me to make smart and healthy decisions to improve minority health, and please “Donate Life”—my brother Jeff (my kidney donor) and another individual (my pancreas donor)’s decisions to donate life are why I live today!

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Actor Anthony Anderson, Spokesperson for the Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program.

African Americans are diagnosed with diabetes more than 2.5 times the rate of whites. I had the opportunity to interview Anthony Anderson about his ambassador role as national spokesperson for Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program. The Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) program is designed specifically to reach African Americans and inform us about how to prevent or manage the epidemic diabetes diagnoses in our community.
Listen to our hilarious interview:

This is part one, stay tuned for part 2.

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After living with diabetes for 32 years of my life, I received a pancreas transplant. Doctors don’t routinely manage diabetes with a pancreas transplant, however because I also needed and received a kidney transplant, my transplant team’s full plan of treatment for my kidney failure was to do a follow-on pancreas transplant. The pancreas transplant would normalize my blood sugar and best protect my new kidney.

 

I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 7. And so I grew up as a normal active child, but quickly learned a diabetes routine that my parents created for me. I also grew up with a very remote and improbable goal of a cure for diabetes. My diabetes would likely be something that I would need to manage for the rest of my life.

 

It has been 10 years since my pancreas transplant and no, I’m not cured of diabetes. Instead I have diabetes treated with a pancreas transplant. “Diabetes treated with a pancreas transplant” because if anything were to happen to that pancreas, I would return to insulin injections and my body has endured 32 years of elevated blood sugars and insulin dependence.

 

Recently I was reminded of my body’s condition as it relates to diabetes. On my way to the airport for a health coaching network event, I noticed a familiar sight in my field of vision–a floater.  A floater is debris or possibly blood floating in the vitreous fluid of the eye. I was sure that I had a broken blood vessel bleeding into my eye.  I called my retina specialist’s office and they agreed to fit me in to have it checked out.  I missed my flight and went immediately to the retina specialist. At that point, they couldn’t even see the bleeder. So I continued my travel plans standby.

 

At my connection in Chicago, my vision had gotten worse. I could barely see the signs directing me to the gate to board my flight to Las Vegas. By the time of my presentation I couldn’t even see my slides on the projector screen. I knew the material so I winged it.

 

I was baffled and somewhat afraid because doctors assured me that my long term complications would freeze right where they were after the pancreas transplant. They wouldn’t reverse, but they wouldn’t get any worse.

 

At home I returned to the doctor and he was able to diagnose what happened. This bleeder was not a new blood vessel that had grown onto my retina, as in diabetic retinopathy. This was in fact an old blood vessel that had been treated 15 or more years ago with laser. Apparently in the normal aging process the vitreous fluid in the eye pulls away from the retina. When this occurred in my eye, it disturbed the blood vessel treated with laser, causing it to bleed again.

 

And so the treatment was to wait for my vitreous fluid to absorb the blood that was blocking and clouding my vision. Here’s a description of what this bleeder looked like:

Day 1

A black string hanging from the top of my eye that remained in   my field of vision wherever I looked

Day 2

Several black strings hanging from the top of my field of   vision.

Day 3

Fewer black strings hanging, but the rest of my vision was like   opening your eyes under lake water.

Day 4

Black strings were turning brown with smaller dots around it;   vision was like it was foggy outside.

Day 5

Very few brown strings remain, able to see computer, but felt   like there was soap scum on my eyeballs.

Day 6

A few brown strings at very top of my field of vision; other   vision very clear.

 

Amazing, they tell me that the eye is the fastest healing part of the body!

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CLICK HERE FOR DAYTON BOOK EXPO

 

Click the link above to hear all the particulars about the Dayton Book

Expo. Let everyone in the Dayton area know about this affair for all

ages.

 

 

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THE NEW INTRODUCTION TO EXERCISE VIDEO FEATURING JAMIE BROOKS IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

 

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It’s not often that I get involved with my husband’s work. My husband is a funeral director and I have lost both of my parents. Empathizing with families who have lost loved ones, brings a familiar heaviness onto my heart–one that takes a long time to remove, and so I try not to become too involved in my husband’s work.

 

But when he has the honor to work with a family of a person who has donated the gift of life, as a two time organ recipient and member of a donor family myself, I can’t help but feel kinship. Whether or not I know anyone affected by the donated organs, I feel compelled to thank the family . . .  unofficially . . . on behalf of the lives that have been saved and enhanced . . .as a part of my unofficial transplant recipient family.

 

If you know anyone with an organ transplant, you notice a special glimmer in our eyes when we speak to one another.  We all have a special kinship. Not just those of us with kidney transplants, but livers, hearts, lungs, pancreases. We don’t discriminate among transplant recipients–even bone, blood, skin or tissue recipients are cousins of sorts.

 

As 2012 comes to a close, my husband received such an honor. I couldn’t help empathizing with the donor family and how courageous they were in giving the gift of life or carrying out the wishes of the donor to give the gift of life.  I also imagined the other story of the amazing gifts of life that were given to make 2013 a very special New Year.

 

Please share your gift of life story, whether as a donor family or organ or tissue recipient.

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