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 Organ Transplant

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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Wolverines For Life!

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The final risk in our three part series on the long term use of prednisone, is that of Osteoporosis. Tips to reduce that risk include:

Eat and drink milk, yogurt, sardines, orange juice, green leafy vegetables, calcium with Vitamin D supplements, soy products, salmon, nuts & seeds, reduce salt, sunshine (best source of vitamin D).

To get the most out of your bone-boosting diet, you’ll want to do regular weight-bearing exercise. This includes any activity that uses the weight of your body or outside weights to stress the bones and muscles. The result is that your body lays down more bone material, and your bones become denser. Brisk walking, dancing, tennis, and yoga have all been shown to benefit your bones.

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

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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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I was able to speak with ‘Living Single’ actress Kim Coles and others at the 2011 Fuller Woman Conference last month about the reducing the risk of diabetes among fuller women. Although the picture was blurry, I hope you can make out both Ms. Coles and the Blessed Assurance book cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Updated: 2011-08-18 10:25:03 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Tan Ee Lyn

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Stem cell researchers in Hong Kong and the United States are trying to grow spare parts for the human heart that may be ready for tests on people within five years, they said on Thursday.

Scientists have already made basic heart muscle from stem cells, but the Hong Kong-led team wants to refine it so it can replace any part damaged in heart attacks, and to recreate the natural pacemaker, where the heartbeat originates.

“When you get a heart attack, there is a small time window for a cure when the damage is still small. You can cure with a patch, a small tissue, so you won’t progress to late stage heart failure,” said team leader Ronald Li, director of the University of Hong Kong’s Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Consortium.

“We have the muscle strip now, but we want it to mimic what we see in the native heart better, (and) that requires engineering,” Li told Reuters in an interview.

An organ or section of tissue grown from a person’s stem cells can, in general, be surgically implanted only in that same person because of immune-compatibility issues.

“There are many different types of heart cells. If cells that are responsible for electricity aren’t going right, you get arrhythmias or heart rhythm disturbances. There are heart muscle cells that do mechanical heart pumping that work all the time.”

The team will use human embryonic stem cell lines to build these human heart muscle strips in the laboratory, as well as the natural pacemaker tissue for people with arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.

They plan first to transplant these muscle strips and pacemakers into pigs, and, if successful, to move to human clinical trials, in which they will transplant parts of the heart that are grown using the patients’ own stem cells in about five years.

“The question is whether we can put it in the heart to integrate with the recipient organ. Even if it becomes integrated, will it last?” Li said.

He added that the team chose to use pigs because porcine hearts were anatomically and functionally more similar to human hearts.

“I am hoping that at the end of the five years, we will have a number of blueprints for designing different prototypes that can be tested,” he said.

So-called adult stem cells are the body’s source of all cells for the maintenance and repair of tissues. They can generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate. Because of their ability to generate different types of cells, to multiply and extend their own lifespans, scientists hope to harness stem cells to treat a variety of diseases and disorders, including cancer, diabetes and injuries.

As well as the Hong Kong experts, the team will include scientists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the United States.

Copyright © Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

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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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