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.

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This month, May 30, 2017 will mark 15 years of living with a pancreas transplant.  As a young girl growing up with diabetes, I never imagined NOT taking insulin, managing my blood sugar and counting what I ate.  After all, it’s how I grew up, doesn’t everybody wake up, shower, put on deodorant, take a shot and eat breakfast?

Turns out, no they don’t. And in this past 15 years I’ve found lots of things to do instead of manage diabetes: 

  • Eat breakfast earlier

  • Leave the house earlier

  • Wear shorts without the embarrassment of bruises

  • Ok, not wear a mid drift shirt.

  • Go out to lunch or dinner without having to test or take a shot in the restaurant.

  • Exercise without the fear of hypoglycemia

  • Have a hot fudge sundae 

  • No more keeping glucose tablets for “just in case”

  • My gums and teeth are healthier

  • My feet and hands are warmer

  • Sores heal faster




By: Lauren Eveler Glover, RDN, LD

How many people have a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more? A lot. How many people will actually stick to it past January 31st? Not many. The truth is habits are hard to break. If you think about it, however, this is actually a good thing! While it may be hard to break your unhealthy habits at first, once you form those new healthy habits, then those will become hard to break. So, you’re more likely to stick to it. Keep these tips in mind to develop better habits, and you won’t need to set a resolution again. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2016!

N – Never trust fad diets.

They don’t work. While they may deliver short-term results, they usually don’t last forever.  Why? Fad diets are simply unrealistic. They make you exclude entire food groups, include unnecessary supplements, or even worse, starve. If you can’t eat that way for the rest of your life, don’t trust it.

E – Exercise a little every day.

How often do you exercise right now? If your answer is “never,” then you have a great area for opportunity! Even if it’s just a 10 minute walk every evening, or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, every little bit helps.

W – Watch out for phonies.

There is so much nutrition information out there it’s hard to determine what’s fact and what’s fiction. Who can you trust? Have no fear, Registered Dietitians are here! When it comes to a healthy diet, kidneys can be complicated. It’s best to meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) to discuss which options are best for you.

Y – You don’t need to focus on weight.

Weight is just a number on a scale that’s affected by many factors. Rather, measure your waistline. Anything greater than 40 inches for men, and 35 inches for women increases your risk for disease.

E – Eat more often.

Instead of eating two or three large meals a day, try eating four or five smaller meals spaced evenly throughout the day. This will help keep your appetite under control since you’re eating more frequently.

A – Avoid junk food.

Your body doesn’t need it. Eating too much processed food is proven to have negative consequences on our health. They are high in calories and low in nutrients, which is an awful combination.

R – Rest.

Plain and simple, your body needs sleep to recoup and reset for the next day. Aim for 7 to 9 hours per night. Adequate rest, along with a healthy diet and exercise, are the secrets to good health.

Remember, make it a habit and you’ll stick to it.


Vita Redita (“Life Restored” in Latin) is UM Transplant Center’s annual gala & auction. This black tie optional event features a strolling dinner provided by The Moveable Feast, drinks, and dessert.

Guests have a rare opportunity to tour the Wolverines’ locker room and visit the football field. The brief program will include special speaker Evin Green, who received a double lung transplant last year.

You can bid on fabulous items at our silent and live auctions. Silent auction bidding will all take place online via your cell phone. Please bring your cell phone fully charged to the event!

Stay for the afterglow party with special musical guest legendary guitarist Laith Al-Saadi and his band! This wonderful evening supports the Transplant Center’s patient emergency fund, outreach and educational efforts, and helps send our transplant kids to Camp Michitanki.


An Introduction to Haley Funeral Directors





Here is a good explanation of how the donation and transplantation process works. I hope that if you are not currently signed up on the national registry, you will consider signing up after watching this.


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.




While on dialysis, I wondered whether we would see this day.  But now, after kidney and pancreas transplants, my years have been significantly extended!

Friday, May 23, 2014 Steve and I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. We had a fabulous time with friends, members of our wedding party and of course family. We entered the routunda after guests viewed the video below, as the dj played Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”!  Please enjoy our video:




Because diabetes is a disease affecting many parts of the body, successful management requires a team approach. Today’s podiatrist is an integral part of the treatment team and has documented success in preventing amputations:

  • More than 65,000 lower limbs are amputated annually due to complications from diabetes.

  • After an amputation, the chance of another amputation within three to five years is as high as 50 percent.

  • Including a podiatrist in your diabetes care can reduce the risk of lower limb amputation up to 85 percent and lowers the risk of hospitalization by 24 percent.

The keys to amputation prevention are early recognition and regular foot screenings performed by a podiatrist, the foot and ankle expert.

Take Action

If you have diabetes, follow these foot care tips:

  • Inspect feet daily. Check your feet and toes every day for cuts, bruises, sores, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration.

  • Wear thick, soft socks. Avoid socks with seams, which could rub and cause blisters or other skin injuries.

  • Exercise. Walking can keep weight down and improve circulation. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising.

  • Have new shoes properly measured and fitted. Foot size and shape may change over time. Shoes that fit properly are important to those with diabetes.

  • Don’t go barefoot. Don’t go without shoes, even in your own home. The risk of cuts and infection is too great for those with diabetes.

  • Never try to remove calluses, corns, or warts by yourself. Over-the-counter products can burn the skin and cause irreparable damage to the foot for people with diabetes.

  • See today’s podiatrist. Regular checkups by a podiatrist—at least annually—are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.