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.




Although philosophies about the treatment of diabetes and maintenance technology have improved in my more than 40 years, you should understand the very staggering statistics that now exist.

  • •      Over 20 million Americans have some form of diabetes (most of them Type 2 diabetes) and 60 million Americans are now considered pre-diabetic. (5 million people have diabetes and don’t even know it!)
  • •      Diabetes kills more Americans every year than AIDS & Breast Cancer combined.
  • •      Diabetes is the #1 cause of new blindness in adults ages 20 to 74
  • •      Diabetes doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke. It is also the leading cause of kidney failure, and responsible for more than 60% of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations.


Regular checkups with your doctor can identify and perhaps diagnose a condition known as Pre Diabetes and allow you to prevent a diabetes diagnosis.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, careful and committed management of the condition is necessary to reduce your chances of long term complications such as kidney disease, blindness, amputation, heart attack, stroke and other disorders.

Symptoms of diabetes include constant thirst and frequent urination, headaches, dizziness and weight loss. If you’re not sure whether you have diabetes but have some or one of the symptoms, see your doctor and get tested.



I will be hosting a health coaching demonstration targeted specifically for people with Chronic Kidney Disease (whether approaching kidney failuire, on dialysis, waiting for a kidney transplant or post transplant living) on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 3 pm,

I will also be hosting a virtual demonstration of health coaching for people with diabetes on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7pm.

Transplant Living Wheel

You can participate in an Introduction to Health Coaching on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 3pm by registering at



The following study from the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital describes diabetes as “a self managed disease whereby the patient provides 95% of the daily care”. It continues that education is the prerequisite and ongoing contact (coaching) maintains compliance and saves lives as well as health care cost.


HealthWorks – Achieving Balance with Diabetes

A Diabetes Self-Management Education Program

of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital


Diabetes is a common, serious, and costly disease that affects an estimated 16million people in the United States. It impacts many aspects of the lives of diagnosed patients and their families, the health system, and society. People with diabetes are more likely than their non-diabetic peers to have heart attacks, strokes, amputations, kidney failure, and blindness. As a result, they have a more frequent and intensive visits within the health care system. A great number of hospitalizations are for acute problems such as foot ulcers, acute myocardial infarction, circulatory and nerve problems, and pneumonia.1 As evidenced by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), many of these complications can be prevented with better glucose control.2


Because diabetes is a self-managed disease with the patient providing more than 95% of the daily care, patient education is the fundamental prerequisite for diabetes Self-management.3 Diabetes education is viewed by many as a “process” whereby a patient develops his/her knowledge base and improves his/her skills related to compliance with the recommended treatment plan. Modern diabetes self-management education programs emphasize patient empowerment rather than strict adherence to a regimen.4 HealthWorks at TJUH has been designed to support the current model of self-management education. In order to accomplish this, the program places emphasis not only on one’s knowledge and skill level, but most importantly on improving one’s self-confidence by helping them to:


• Identify and set realistic goals;

• Problem-solve

• Manage stress caused by living with diabetes;

• Identify and obtain social support; and

• Develop a plan for changing behavior


1. Patient-reported outcomes measurement to be featured in diabetes management

study. UHC Clinical Practice Alert. June 1997.

2. Implications of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. Diabetes Care 1998;21; Suppl.1:88-90.

3. Anderson RM, Fitzgerald JT, Oh MS. The relationship of diabetes-related attitudes

and patients’ self-reported adherence. Diabetes Educator 1993; 19: 287-292.

4. Anderson RM, Funnell MM, Butler PM, Arnold MS, Fitzgerald JT, Feste CC. Patient

empowerment. Diabetes Care 1995; 18(7): 943-949.



Read more of this article at


Does any one of these situations describe you?


I’ve been dieting for years and can’t seem to lose weight

I’m so tired of my doctor harping on my blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar.

I wish I could find a routine that allows me to manage my diabetes and live a normal, active life.


If so, you are probably one of millions who would benefit from having your own personal health coach to help you to design a lifestyle that helps you to reach yours and your doctor’s goals.

My health coaching practice, Take Control of Your Health is a custom program that is designed to your needs and specializes in Active Diabetes Lifestyles, Living with Chronic Kidney Disease and Transplant Living. Listen in to this free sample health coaching call to determine if the accountability of health coaching is for you. 


Email me at for the details of participating on the call.

Decide which type of coaching works best for you:

Individual Coaching

            LIVE, in person, phone or web based coaching

Group Coaching

            Live, conference call or virtual chat sessions


(Lewis-Kemp holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and is a health coach trained by Hilton Johnson Productions, Inc.  Learn more about Jacquie at and health coaching at



Nearly 12 years ago my brother saved my life by giving me his left kidney. As awesome as his decision to make such a gift was, almost as awesome is the process to donate a kidney as a living donor. My brother’s road wasn’t quite this simple since it was 12 years ago, but today, this process will hopefully encourage many to become living donors.


Vita Redita (Life Restored) Gala, Silent & Live Auctions Support UM Transplant Center.

Join us at the 10thannual Vita Redita Gala Dinner & Auction in support of the University of Michigan Transplant Center.


We have some very exciting things planned for the evening; including a chance to win a one of a kind diamond, custom made jewelry, a flight on a B-17 Bomber, Suite tickets to the Michigan Homecoming game, premium wine and more.


We still have seats available. Please consider inviting your friends and family to join you for this fun filled evening supporting a great cause.


The final leg of our 3 Legged stool of glucose control is diet. Our diet or the food we consume is the source of the glucose our bodies use to fuel our cells. Therefore the more we focus on the ultimate purpose for the food we eat, the more efficiently our bodies can use the fuel and function best.

According to the National Institutes of Health, “It [The diabetic diet] should take into account your weight, medicines, lifestyle, and other health problems you have.

Healthy diabetic eating includes

  • Limiting foods that are high in sugar

  • Eating smaller portions, spread out over the day

  • Being careful about when and how many carbohydrates you eat

  • Eating a variety of whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables every day

  • Eating less fat

  • Limiting your use of alcohol

  • Using less salt

With these parameters, The American Diabetes Association recommends a “meal plan” which it describes as “a guide that tells you how much and what kinds of food you can choose to eat at meals and snack times. A good meal plan should fit in with your schedule and eating habits. Some meal planning tools include the plate method, carb counting, and glycemic index. The right meal plan will help you improve your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers and also help keep your weight on track. Whether you need to lose weight or stay where you are, your meal plan can help”.

The Exchange Method gives a detailed account of the food pyramid and how to incorporate each of the food groups into a daily meal plan. It also details the serving sizes in order to comply to the appropriate calorie limits prescribed by your doctor.

Carb Counting

TheJoslinDiabetesCentersuggests the following steps for Carbohydrate Counting.

1.     The first step in carb counting is to have a meal plan.  A meal plan is a guide that helps you figure out how much carb, protein and fat to eat at meals and snacks each day.  If you don’t have a meal plan, meet with a registered dietitian.

2.      Step two involves learning which foods contain carbohydrate. Most people know that starchy foods, such as bread, pasta and cereal contain carbs.  But other food   groups, such as fruit, milk and desserts and sweets, have carbs, too.
There are three main ways to learn about carbs in foods:

o       Ask for a food choice list from your dietitian.

o       Learn how to read the Nutrition Facts Label

o       Purchase a food counts book that provides the number of grams of carb in various foods.

3.      Measuring tools.  In order to accurately count carbs, you’ll need to be accurate with the portion sizes of foods that you eat.  Invest in a food scale to weigh foods such as fruit and bread.  Use measuring cups to measure cereal, pasta and rice, and use liquid measuring cups for carb-containing beverages such as milk, juice and energy drinks.

The Glycemic Index

Web MD defines,  “The glycemic index is a ranking that attempts to measure the influence that each particular food has on blood sugar levels. It takes into account the type of carbohydrates in a meal and its effect on blood sugar.

Foods that are low on the glycemic index appear to have less of an impact on blood sugar levels after meals. People who eat a lot of low glycemic index foods tend to have lower total body fat levels. High glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. People who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods often have higher levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI).

Talk to your doctor, a registered dietitian, or a diabetes educator and ask if the glycemic index might work to help gain better control of your blood sugar levels”.

The Plating Method

Here’s a quick video from the American Diabetes Association on how the Plating Method works.

Ask your doctor to prescribe or refer you to a dietician to prescribe a meal plan or daily calorie count, and also ask which diet method is best for you.