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.

Join me and learn how my coaching program works with you to take your doctor’s instructions and create a routine that fits into YOUR lifestyle.

When:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 7 PM (Eastern Time)

Topic:

This will be an online conference that demonstrates my Diabetes Lifestyle Coaching Program. REGISTER HERE

Description:

Life for people with diabetes is not one simple lifestyle, and so no one’s diabetes should be treated the same. We are as individual as snowflakes and that is why coaching to create a plan to tailor your diabetes maintenance to your current lifestyle is a better option than using one set of procedures for prescribed for everyone. I will show you how my program works.

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Where medicine couldn’t go any

further, God stepped in to end the

 battle.

 

 

 

 

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What to eat when dinning out?

…from the U-M Comprehensive Diabetes Center

Tips for dining out

Adapted from a forthcoming publication by the U-M Adult Outpatient Diabetes Education Program.

Dining out can be one of life’s pleasures. You can enjoy yourself and still take care of your diabetes. It takes some planning and asking for what you need to achieve this goal. Also, the more you measure food portions at home, the better you can estimate portion sizes when dining out.

Here are some tips to get you started!

  • Choose a restaurant that offers      heart healthy options. Some helpful websites to help you find one are the      Healthy Dining Finder from the American Heart Association (HealthyDiningfinder.com)      or calorieking.com.

  • Some restaurants have their own      websites with menus that you can review in advance, or ask for a nutrition      guide at the restaurant.

  • Ask how a food is prepared and      steer away from gravies and cream sauces.

  • Read the menu creatively. Order      fresh fruit from the breakfast menu, or choose an appetizer and a salad as      a dinner entrée.

  • Choose a smaller portion from      the lunch menu, or split a meal with someone.

  • To control portions, ask for a      “to-go container” to be served with your meal. When your meal      arrives, portion out what you would like to eat, then put the rest in the      container.

  • Ask for substitutions. If your      meal comes with French fries, ask if you can substitute vegetables.

  • Choose no-calorie beverages      such as water, club soda or diet pop.

  • Be choosy at salad bars. Choose      greens, vegetables and beans. Limit the higher calorie foods such as      prepared salads (for example, potato or macaroni salad).

  • Plan ahead for desserts and eat      slowly; share your dessert with someone.

  • Avoid the      “value-sized” options (supersized, jumbo, giant, deluxe) and      order a regular or junior-sized sandwich instead.

  • Skip the French fries, choose      fruit or a salad with low-calorie dressing or flavored vinegar instead.

  • Choose grilled chicken instead      of breaded, fried chicken.

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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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Come out May 18, 2013 to join a fabulous gathering of people with diabetes, medical professionals and researchers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s DIABETES TODAY AND TOMORROW. This year’s theme is

Diabetes in the Age of Technology

This is an educational and networking conference for persons living with type 1 diabetes and insulin dependent type 2 diabetes, their families, and the medical care community.

Registration is free and can be done online at www.jdrfmichiganeast.com.

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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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Enjoy this video as transplant recipients say thank you.

Wolverines for Life encourages you to sign up to be an organ and tissue donor, donate blood and get screened for bone marrow donation.

You can be a hero, and save a life … and it’s easy to do. For more information go to www.wolverinesforlife.org

 

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My son celebrated a milestone birthday, 21. And in Michigan that means getting rid of the probationary portrait driver’s license for a regular landscape one. He made another adult decision while at the Secretary of State: He signed the registry to become an organ donor.

Like me, he too has seen both sides of organ donation. He witnessed his mother’s second chance at life, thanks to the generosity of his uncle and a complete stranger. He also understood his grandmother’s gift of life so that other families would be as fortunate as his.

Here is another story of a famous donor and the lives he saved.

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While diabetes can be a chronic illness that brings about devastating consequences and long term complications (like kidney failure, blindness and amputations), managed well, diabetes can become a cheerleader for success.

There’s no debating the issue, diabetes requires work to manage glucose levels. It requires a consistent routine so that we can function well during other demands placed on our lives.

No one manages diabetes for a living without other responsibilities.

 

 

 

Take a look at this list of famous people with diabetes:

 

  • Mary Tyler Moore

  • Halle Berry

  • Thomas Edison

  • Ernest Hemmingway

  • Elvis Presley

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber

  • BB King

  • Howard Hughes

  • Ray Croc (McDonalds founder)

  • Anwar Sadat

  • Mike Huckabee

  • Jackie Robinson

  • Billie Jean King 

 

What can you imagine about each of them? That they were all work hard at their craft? That in order to focus, they had to maintain near perfect blood sugars? Not only did Halle Berry have to control her blood sugar in order to jump into her Bond Girl role, but especially while pregnant and preparing for her most important role as Mommy.

 

The lessons learned from this list of people are 1) diabetes has to be a self managed routine that occurs without long periods of thought or a lot of concentrated effort.  For instance, if my blood sugar is ____,  then I will react like this. Reviewing records at the end of the day may suggest tweaks to the system over the long run. And 2) DIABETES DOES NOT PREVENT SUCCESS!

 

It is my belief that the regimen that diabetes requires encourages the same discipline in other areas of your life. For instance, at age 7, when my diabetes was diagnosed, like other people with diabetes, I had to learn to give myself an insulin shot, pay attention to how I felt, test my glucose levels, plan to marry exercise and meals, etc. But my dream as a young girl was not to become a well managed diabetic. Yes of course, I wanted grow into a healthy adult, however my dreams were to get good grades, make friends, become a cheerleader, attend a good college, enjoy my job, marry and have children.

 

 

 

With goals like most of us have, diabetes has to be something that we are aware of, however something that we manage in the background of our lives. This is why the regimen is so important. If we know what to do in most if not all circumstances, then all we have to do is test to find out what circumstance we’re in.

 

 

 

And so it is no surprise that people with diabetes work hard in other aspects of their lives to strive or perfection.  Can you imagine balancing Billie Jean King’s glucose levels while she’s in the middle of a tennis match; or during a day of practice for that matter? Similarly can you imagine the emotional ups and downs as well as the blood sugar ups and downs Howard Hughes endured.

 

 

 

What I urge is to listen to your body and note how it reacts to various stimuli such as exercise, food, emotions like fear, nervousness and anger to see how it impacts blood sugar. Not just generally—but find out how to what extent your body reacts. For instance, when you have an insulin reaction, do you need 1,2 or 3 glucose tablets to cure it? Is an apple before exercise snack enough to prevent hypoglycemia? When you lead a meeting or do public speaking, does your blood sugar drop from the jitters? When you become angry, what happens to your blood sugar?

 

 

 

Successful people with diabetes understand this and know what happens to their bodies in these, and other circumstances. Once you’ve mastered this approach, you can create regimens around music, sports, business, relationships and other aspects of your life.

 

 

 

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DATING WITH DIABETES

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The scenario: The waiter arrives. He places the entrees in front of you and your date. You look at the food. You glance towards the bathrooms. What do you do? Do you check your blood glucose at the table or do you politely excuse yourself and hope he or she doesn’t think something is wrong?

Dating can be hard enough. Dating with diabetes puts another twist to things. In addition to the “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” conversations, should you initiate the “I have diabetes” conversation? If so, when do you bring it up? Before the appetizers? After the third date? On your wedding night?

Let Life Happen

On top of the “I have diabetes” conversation, there is the rest of the Diabetes 101 syllabus that you could offer your date (maybe wait until the plates are cleared). Bolusing. Carb counting. Hypoglycemia. The list could go on and on.

One approach to dating and diabetes is to let life happen and explain as needed. “I find that the majority of people are quite uneducated about diabetes and that when they see how nonchalant I am about everything, it piques their curiosity. They want to ask more questions,” shared Karen, a fifty-something from Wisconsin. “The way I look at it, I should manage my life, including my relationships, versus letting diabetes manage them. If they can’t handle that, they’re not the kind of person I want to be with anyway, so it wasn’t meant to be.”


 

From the Other Side: Tips on Dating a Person with Diabetes

Written by Howie, a thirty-something from Washington, DC, the significant other of a person with diabetes

  1. Learn as much as you can. The more you know, the better you can understand the physical and emotional experiences of your partner. It helps to share that common bond and provides comfort to your partner in discussing his/her feelings if they are going through extreme shifts in their blood sugar levels for example.
  2. Offer to become involved. Gauging how involved you should become in your partner’s blood glucose and meal planning can be difficult. Some partners might not want that much involvement, and others do. However, offering that support shows you care and can provide your partner an emotional lift. Sometimes I inquire about what my girlfriend’s glucose reading is after a test. If it is low, then I will offer to help her find something to eat or drink. If it is too high, then I know not to suggest having a meal right away.
  3. Be flexible surrounding meals. I generally eat on a structured schedule – breakfast before going to work, lunch around 11:30 and dinner when I get home from work. However, one with diabetes might not always be able to eat on such a structured schedule; it may depend on his/her blood glucose level at the particular time. In my relationship I have learned to be more flexible in my meal/snack schedule, but we have also communicated that to each other that if one person is hungry and the other isn’t (or can’t eat at that particular time), then it is acceptable to go our separate ways.

 

“When I watched Karen so casually measure out her dosage and poke her arm right through her clothing, I thought she’s one tough cookie!” Karen’s new fiancé Rob commented. “I had always hated shots. The idea of piercing the skin with a needle would make me cringe. But I found her more attractive as a result of the experience.”

Twenty-something Dayle from Washington, D.C., brought her boyfriend along for the ride of day-to-day living with diabetes. “When I first went on the pump in college, my boyfriend accompanied me to the training sessions. My diabetes educator found a loaner pump for my boyfriend so we spent the first few days pumping saline solution together. I think it helped him to develop understanding and empathy for my diabetes lifestyle.”

“Diabetes is not something that should be kept secret,” advised twenty-something Dana from Alabama, “unless you would rather say you’re just part of a not-so-secret international club that subscribes to rigorous blood glucose testing, reverence of A1C numbers, and a lifelong addiction to insulin!” jokes Dana.

By being open about your diabetes, you can help to make the other person feel more comfortable. Jim, a former boyfriend of a person with diabetes weighed in, “If the fact that she had diabetes made me feel uncomfortable, educating me on the various aspects simply resolved that problem.”

No big deal?

Let’s face it — diabetes is serious. But if you look healthy and act healthy, then it can be easy for your partner to forget it takes a lot of effort to maintain this level of good management.

“There is a downside to my openness and matter-of-fact attitude. My boyfriends have often assumed that because I’m always testing and bolusing — and because they’ve never seen me have a bad reaction, get sick, or lose consciousness — that diabetes is ‘no big deal,'” shared Miriam, a forty-something from Maryland.

“The guy I’m currently dating said that to me recently, adding that he thought I was ‘doing really well’ with my diabetes. I was surprised, because I often complain to him about my frequent high blood sugars and try to explain the destructive long-term consequences of less-than-optimally controlled diabetes.”

On the other hand, diabetes is not an automatic death sentence — for you or your love life. “When I was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years ago, I thought my love life was over,” commented Keith, from Indiana. “Who would knowingly date a ‘diabetic,’ right? But on a blind date, I made a short comment about my diabetes while I was reading the menu. I found out that my date had been diagnosed with diabetes when she was 15! We ended up talking for hours… and we even put a friendly wager on which one of us had the better A1C result at our next doctor’s appointment! I can only say that having diabetes actually helped me get that part of my life back.”

Love and Understanding

Finding someone who is compassionate can make a big difference when dealing with difficult situations. Having a sense of humor also helps!

“My guy’s ‘no big deal’ attitude did come in handy when I went on the pump last December,” Miriam said. “I was really worried that he would be turned off by the whole ‘medical-ness’ of it, but it doesn’t bother him at all. I, on the other hand, am still struggling with the logistics when it comes to sex and the pump!”

Recently, twenty-something Allison from Virginia was preparing for her wedding and contemplating the switch to a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system at the same time. “With the thought of having a family in the next five to ten years, my fiancé Ross became my biggest cheerleader and advocate when we decided I should try a CGM. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the pre-wedding budget!”

But Ross had different plans. Two days before the wedding, he presented Allison with a CGM starter kit as an early wedding gift. “I joked with Allison that I wanted to have an additional life insurance policy for the person I loved the most,” quipped Ross.

Needless to say, the wedding gift was a hit. “As Ross was taking off my garter at the reception, he checked the CGM that was stuck in my thigh holster to make sure everything was going smoothly,” said Allison. “Naturally, that made our guests cheer all the more!”

For more information or assistance, contact the American Diabetes Association National Call Center at 1-800-DIABETES.

 REPRINTED FROM THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION WEBSITE
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