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 Kidney Disease

Kidney Transplant

 

For those awaiting Kidney Transplant, listen to these transplant experiences and prepare for your own.  For those who are donors or are potentially donors listen to this wonderful series of second chance at life stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) will gather friends and supporters at the MGM Grand Detroit—Grand Ballroom on December 3, 2011 for the 7th Annual Kidney Ball.  The event, which features the theme “Motown Magic” every year, will include a night of live music, great food, cocktails, and an after party, all making it the most fun charity event in metro Detroit. Last year’s Kidney Ball raised over $500,000 for the NKFM’s many programs and services that help more than 900,000 Michigan residents living with chronic kidney disease.

 

The spectacular evening, which attracts more than 700 of metro Detroit’s givers and shakers, will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. and a fabulous dinner served at 7:30 p.m. There will also be an exciting live auction along with an expansive and unique silent auction.  Guests can also enjoy dancing and listening to the soulful sounds of the Jerry Ross Band after dinner.  Jim Vella, President of the Ford Fund, and Vivian Pickard, President of the GM Foundation, will serve as the Honorary Chairs of the 2011 Kidney Ball. Blanche Mack and Myra Moreland will be this year’s Event Chairs.

 

The evening wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Kidney Ball Presenting Sponsor, Meijer, as well as the many other sponsors and supporters of the event.“With so many challenges in our state things are not likely to get easier for people with kidney disease.

“Supporting the 2011 Kidney Ball can continue to help make their lives better,”
said Dan Carney, President and CEO of the NKFM. “We invite everyone to take a
step back into the Motown era and support an organization whose mission truly
is to make a difference.”

Tickets for the event are $250 per guest and can be purchased by calling the NKFM at 800-482-1455. More information about the event is available at www.kidneyball.org or you can get regular updates from the NKFM (including Kidney Ball updates) at www.facebook.com/KidneyMI.

 

The NKFM, voted “Best Managed Nonprofit” of 2003 by Crain’s
Detroit Business, and rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator, is a 501(c)3
nonprofit organization established in 1955. Since its inception, the NKFM has
led the fight against kidney disease and has increased awareness of the
critical need for organ and tissue donations. The mission of the National
Kidney Foundation of Michigan is to prevent kidney disease and improve the
quality of life for those living with it. The NKFM is widely known for
providing more programs and services to more people than any other region or state.

Motown Kidney Ball
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Diabetics are particularly prone to grow vision threatening cataracts. Transplant patients also have an increased risk of developing cataracts  because of the anti rejection drug Prednisone. Because Prednisone is a necessary part of our lives, here are some tips to prevent or reduce the risk of developing cataracts:

Eat foods high in antioxidants, including garlic, onions, beans, vegetables, celery, seaweed, apples, carrots, tomatoes, turnips and oranges.

Reduce or eliminate refined sugars (particularly white sugar, but also fructose, sucrose, fruit juice concentrates, maltose, dextrose, glucose and refined carbohydrates). This includes “natural” drinks that contain a lot of sugar, including fruit juices. Even milk sugar, lactose, found in all dairy products, can contribute to cataract formation, as it destroys gluthathione and Vitamin C in the lens.

Drink eight glasses of water per day. Adequate water intake helps to maintain the flow of nutrients to the lens and to release wastes and toxins from tissues.

Healthy Tips

  • Avoid microwaves. Radiation leakage from microwave ovens is a direct cause of cataracts, so avoid constant peeking into the open door window while you cook. In addition, food proteins exposed to microwaves can become toxic to the lens that is made mostly of protein.
  • Wear 100 per cent ultraviolet blocking sunglasses and a hat, since ultraviolet light from the sun can cause damage to the lens of the eye.
  • Many synthetic chemicals and pharmaceuticals can cause cataracts. Steroids, for example, taken internally or applied to the skin, are a typical cause of cataracts because they block the normal metabolism of connective tissue of which the lens is composed.
  • Cigarette smoking causes about 20 per cent of all cataracts. Men who smoke more than a pack a day increase their risk for cataracts by 205 per cent. For female smokers, the risk of getting cataracts increases 63 per cent. Quitting without supplementing the diet with additional vitamins and minerals doesn’t seem to eliminate the increased risk for almost ten years, probably due to smoking having depleted antioxidant levels in the eye.

(Sources: Encyclopedia.com, Medscape Today, WebMD, Net Doctor.)

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Both transplant anti rejection drugs Prednisone and Tacromulis have a long term effect of raising cholesterol levels.  Because we need both drugs to preserve our life saving organ transplants, we must find other ways to reduce cholesterol.  Here are a few suggestions:

1. Eat a heart-healthy diet with plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Avoid saturated fats (found mostly in animal products) and trans-fatty acids (found in fast foods and commercially baked products). Instead, choose unsaturated fats (particularly omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils and canola).

2. People with an active lifestyle have a 45% lower risk of developing heart disease than sedentary eople. Physically active people tend to have higher HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise can help increase HDL levels. Even moderate exercise reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Resistance (weight) training offers a complementary benefit to aerobics.

3. Quit Smoking

(Sources: Encyclopedia.com, Medscape Today, WebMD, Net Doctor.)

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Mycophenalate

Some medications have side effects and long term implications despite their immediate relief or prevention of more major illnesses.  Transplant immunosuppressant drugs, despite their protective measures for the organs, are particularly hard on the body.
When an organ, such as a liver, kidney, or a heart is transplanted from one person into another, the immune system of the recipient triggers the same response against the new organ it would have to any foreign material, setting off a chain of events that can damage the transplanted organ. This process is called rejection and it can occur rapidly (acute rejection), or over a long period of time (chronic rejection). Rejection can occur despite close matching of the donated organ and the transplant patient. Immunosuppressant drugs greatly decrease the risks of rejection, protecting the new organ and preserving its function. These drugs act by blocking the immune system so that it is less likely to react against the transplanted organ. A wide variety of drugs are available to achieve this aim but work in different ways to reduce the risk of rejection.
Some of the side effects include:

Transplant Drug

Side Effect

Mycophenalate

Anxiety; back pain; constipation; cough; diarrhea; dizziness; headache; loss of appetite; mild stomach pain; mild tiredness or weakness; nausea; tremor; trouble sleeping; upset stomach; vomiting.

Tacromulis

Infections, difficulty sleeping, shaking, usually of the hands, headache, high blood pressure (hypertension), diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, skin reactions, sweating, hair loss, raised blood sugar level, raised cholesterol, changes in normal levels of levels of potassium, sodium, magnesium, # of blood cells, shortness of breath, appetite and weight changes, muscle or joint pain, anxiety, agitation, confusion, depression, dizziness numb sensations, seizures, heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, ulceration or bleeding.

While Mycophenalate (CellCept) and Tacromulis (Prograph) can cause more immediate and temporary side effects that can be treated with changes in diet, activity or temporary relief medications, Prednisone has more significant long term effects.
Over the next three weeks we will take a look at the long term effects of Prednisone: Cataracts, Osteoporosis, and Cholesterol.
(Sources: Encyclopedia.com, Medscape Today, WebMD, Net Doctor.)
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From the time I was a child, my brother and I always grew up with a dog. At one point, we had several dogs: one purchased and we took in several strays. And so, when you grow up with a dog as a part of your family, you tend to continue to have a dog as a part of your family.

Santa brought my son a Rottweiler / German Sheppard or Collie (or maybe both) mix rescue from the Humane Society for Christmas. I’ve always preferred rescues to pure bread dogs because they somehow seem to have that character of appreciation and unconditional love for sparing their lives.  So Lizzie is the dog my son has grown up with and she now is the center of attention since our son is away in college.

WhenLizzie began to shed this summer, I thought it odd, but was more concerned with all the hair on our carpet and getting it up than the reason why she was shedding. When she began to get slower and have some difficulty getting up, I thought it was joint or arthritis issues, even though she was only 8 years old (56 in dog years) . The herbal fix of glucosamine and chondroitin didn’t seem to work, so I took her to the vet. He gave her a trial sample of a prescription arthritis drug to see if she perked up. Indeed she seemed to perk up and so I bought the full prescription.

Then she began to have black tar-like looking stools, which indicated she was bleeding internally. The veterinarian said that it was likely the arthritis medicine causing an ulcer and that I should discontinue it. I did of course, and her weakness worsened. Not only that but she really became lethargic and didn’t have much energy at all.

Well, I can remember being anemic during kidney failure (because my kidneys were chewing up my red blood cells) and how tired I was. So I attributed her tiredness to being anemic.  But her symptoms continued to worsen and she stopped eating and shortly stopped drinking. The vet drew blood work and instructed me to get some water into her body by using a turkey baster to squeeze into her mouth, and he should have answers from the blood work in the morning.

When I called the vet, I couldn’t believe my ears–Lizzie is in kidney failure. Kidney failure? What? My first thought was, well, we’ll have to start dialysis until we can find a donor dog who is a tissue matches, right? Wrong said the vet, while there is a doggy dialysis machine at Michigan State, it is used for puppies who are poisened from drinking windshield washer solvent or something, or ate a bottle of Tylenol. They don’t make appointments for regular sessions.

Ok, so the possibilities came immediately to mind and not the probabilities. Even if she could have made appointments for dialysis, could I have really driven an hour each way and waited while she dialyzed? And the cost! I could have just heard my husband talking screaming about the $45 donation to the Humane
Society for the dog with the balloon payment in eight years.

The vet explained to me that the best starting treatment for dogs in kidney failure is hydration therapy. She would receive ongoing hydration packs regularly which has worked for some dogs for up to 2 years. So Lizzie spent two days in the hospital receiving IV fluids while I contemplated becoming a part time nurse to
my dog–my dog who has loved me unconditionally for eight years–I can do this.

When I called to check on her (it’s not a good idea to visit because they become confused why you came and didn’t take them home.) the vet said that each day brought a little more interest in food. When the vet rechecked her blood work, her BUN, potassium and sodium were within the normal canine range–her kidney function was restored!  Ecstatic with the news, I next asked, so what is wrong with her? What caused her kidneys to shut down? More extensive blood work diagnosed that Lizzie has Addison’s disease. As they say, hind sight is 20/20–the hair loss, the weight loss (10 lbs in a month), weakness and loss of appetite were classic symptoms.

Addison’s disease, a condition former president John F. Kennedy had, is controlled by Prednisone and a shot of Cortisol every 25 days. I can handle giving her a daily 5 mg pill of Prednisone hidden in a finger full of peanut butter. The near monthly shot costing about a hundred bucks a pop may turn into a shot from
one of my old insulin syringes–if I can purchase a vial of the cortisol.

After one shot of Cortisol and a little more than a week of Prednisone, I’m happy to report that Lizzie is better than new.

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Brandie Ivy lived on dialysis and has been listed for a kidney transplant for more than 9 years.  During that time she she attended college and married the love of her life. 

This young marriage has always had to consider the constraints of dialysis–hours of time each day, devoted simply to dialysis, nephrology dietary restrictrictions,  constant testing, fluid restrictions, registering with  doctors and a transplant center in the area they planned to travel to that she would be in the area, packing dialysis supplies, . . . and the list continued. 

 

 

On August 12, 2011 all of

that changed!!!!!!!!!!

 

Brandy received her long awaited kidney transplant! Now she and her (not so new, but I bet the relationship will feel new) husband will live a life that they only dreamed of!

The blessing and miracle of organ transplant is not just a medical one. In fact it is a very complicated medical miracle and spiritual experience.  Think about it, the organ that once grew in someone else’s body is surgically implanted and now functions in another person’s body. It is a medical miracle that only Christ can guide.

As you can imagine, transplant is a very expensive procedure, there are the costs associated with procuring the organ, preparing the organ for transplant, administration of the transplant process, the actual transplant procedure and post operative care which continues for life.

Insurance pays for most of the expenses, however there is a significant portion left unpaid that the transplant recipient has to bare, including an anti rejection drug regimen or the rest of this young woman’s life.

That is why on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church there will be a fundraiser and I will be the keynote speaker.  Brandy asks that I bring a message that teaches the importance of organ donation, particularly in the African American community.  We will use our examples of life restored through organ transplantation to encourage others to become organ donors.

Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church is located at  2080 W. Grand Blvd. Detroit, MI 48210.  Tickets for this event are $30 and can be purchased by calling 313 598 2537 and the tickets will be delivered. Checks can be made payable to Brandie Ivy. You may also purchase tickets  through paypal.com by using the email address brandieivy@gmail.com.

I hope you will come out and support

this courageous young woman.

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Hurricanes Irene and Katrina, terrorist attacks like 911, earthquakes and other disasters have us contemplating emergency preparedness.  What items would you pack up to move out of harm’s way? In the case of a sudden emergency, what items would you grab? Even if there is a fire in your home and you have a quick moment to grab one thing, what would it be?

If you wait to answer these questions when you need to, chances are you won’t grab the right things and you will regret that you didn’t think through these  uestions pre-need and not at-need.  For people with diabetes, organ transplants or other chronic conditions,  the question is critical and the first item is a given–medication,  items 2-10 may vary.

 On September 11, 2001, a good friend of mine was traveling from the Midwest to the West coast.  He called  from his layover in Minneapolis to tell me that the FAA was considering grounding all aircraft.  He had been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  So as I listened to him complain about airport hotels and poor restaurant choices, my Type 1 brain immediately began to calculate what I would need. What concerned me was that since he had homes in both locations, he likely wasn’t carrying several days of medication. I interrupted his complaining and asked, “How much medication do you have”? He answered, “Oh, I don’t know.” I asked him to pull it out and count how many days worth of medicine he had.  I listened as he opened pill bottles and counted, and he was comfortable that he had at least a couple weeks of medication. Funny thing is that as he was counting pills, I was thinking of next steps if he didn’t have enough medication.  Time was critical because he would need to call his pharmacist (during business hours in another time zone) to transfer his prescriptions to a local pharmacy, in order to fill them.

Here’s a quick list of items to consider:

Quick Evacuation

 

  1.  Medication
  2.  Medication
  3.  Medication
  4.  Critical / Portable equipment

 

Hours to Evacuate or Move to a limited space in the home

  1. Everything from the quick evacuation, plus
  2. Medical supplies such as glucose tabs, glucometer & supplies
  3. Durable medical equipment (dialysis supplies, heart monitors, etc., breathing machines)
  4. Physician and pharmacy phone numbers
  5. CASH
  6. Water
  7. Non perishable food
  8. Flashlight
  9. Battery operated radio

 

Some of these items can be stored in
one location, so that only a few will need to be gathered in the case of an
emergency. No one wants to imagine such disaster, but it is better to be
prepared and not need it, than to need it and not be prepared.

 

 

 

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Join walkers from all over the state of Michigan to support the National Kidney Foundation in its quest to advocate for patients in all stages of chronic kidney disease.

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MY SWEET LIFE: Successful Women with Diabetes

by Beverly. Adler, PhD, CDE

and friends

 

This book is a collection of life stories – each chapter written by a highly respected successful woman with diabetes.  This group of diverse women share their stories how they find balance between managing their careers and/or family AND managing their diabetes.

MY SWEET LIFE is compiled by Dr. Beverly S. Adler who is also one of those women.  “Dr. Bev” as she is better known, is a clinical psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator in private practice, specializing treating patients with diabetes and also has had Type 1 Diabetes for 36 years.  All those years ago when she was diagnosed, there were no role models with diabetes for her. This book is geared for women with diabetes who need role models who can inspire them. The book  is written for the newly diagnosed woman with diabetes who is overwhelmed with her diagnosis.  Or, for the woman who has had diabetes for a while, but can also benefit from uplifting, inspirational stories to encourage and motivate self-care (especially if they already are trying to cope with some complications).

She is joined by 27 contributing authors who are all women of exceptional accomplishments! Each story is unique and heartwarming, as these very special women share their triumph over diabetes. The reader can learn how the women’s experiences with diabetes helped to shape them into who they are today. The forward to the book is written by Nicole Johnson – Miss. America 1999. The theme running through the book is that “diabetes is a blessing in disguise.”

 

 

This book is inspirational, motivational, and uplifting!

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

Contributing authors (in alphabetical order):

Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE

Judith Jones Ambrosini

Brandy Barnes, MSW

Lorraine Brooks, MPH

Fran Carpentier

Sheri R. Colberg-Ochs, PhD

Deanna Glick

Riva Greenberg

Carol Grafford, RD, CDE

*Nicole Johnson (*Writing the Forward to the book)

Sally Joy

Zippora Karz

Kelli Kuehne

Kelly Kunik

Jacquie Lewis-Kemp

Joan McGinnis, RN, MSN, CDE

Laura Menninger (aka “The Glucose Goddess”)

Jennifer Nash, PhD

Vanessa Nemeth, MS, MA

Alexis Pollak

Kyrra Richards

Lisa Ritchie

Christina Rowlandson, MS

Mari Ruddy, MA

Cherise Shockley

Kerri Morrone Sparling

Natalie Strand, MD

Amy Tenderich, MA

Heartha Whitlow

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