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 tagged diabetes management

Once again, we are excited to present our ‘FREE’ Annual “Taking Diabetes to School 2013” Conference & Exhibits …everything you need to know about creating and maintaining a safe learning environment for students with diabetes.  A strong support network at school is needed to help them manage their diabetes, stay safe and continue learning – JDRF is here to help!

New this year: Hands-on Demo Stations and interactive networking with diabetes educators, clinicians, and parents!

If you have questions or you would like to reserve your spot at this important and informative event, please contact Denise Pentescu at JDRF.

Phone: 517.899.2251

Fax: 248.355.1188

Email dpentescu@jdrf.org

JDRF Registration Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Actor Anthony Anderson, Spokesperson for the Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program.

African Americans are diagnosed with diabetes more than 2.5 times the rate of whites. I had the opportunity to interview Anthony Anderson about his ambassador role as national spokesperson for Eli Lilly’s F.A.C.E. program. The Fearless African Americans Connected and Empowered (F.A.C.E.) program is designed specifically to reach African Americans and inform us about how to prevent or manage the epidemic diabetes diagnoses in our community.
Listen to our hilarious interview:

This is part one, stay tuned for part 2.

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Although the hottest of weather, heat warnings and advisories seems to have moved past the metro Detroit area, people with diabetes
and organ transplants should continue to exercise extreme caution.

The effect that the heat can have on diabetes is complex

  • Sweating, which burns calories and therefore lowers blood sugar, can lead to hypoglycemic  episodes (low blood sugar). Heat can also make hyperglycemic episodes more difficult to identify.

  • Dehydration due to excess heat can cause hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).  Since dehydration occurs when there is low fluid level in the blood stream, there is a high concentration of glucose, causing hyperglycemia.

  • Medication, such as insulin, and supplies can be damaged by excess heat and manufacturer’s recommendations regarding storing medication and supplies must be followed.

Recommendations for people with diabetes:

 

  • Drink plenty of fluids

  • Keep water convenient and close by to make hydration a thoughtless effort.

  • Test blood glucose more often than prescribed, particularly if you don’t feel normal. Since the heat’s impact on blood sugar

    control can be varied (heat can make it go both up or down) it is best to know exactly what the blood sugar level is, rather than guess.

  • Keep diabetes medication and supplies cool without subjecting them to freezing temperatures.

Kidney Transplant Patients must also exercise caution in the heat

 

  • Excessive sweating—not even dehydration–can cause creatinine levels (a measure of kidney function) to increase. High creatine levels can potentially lead to kidney transplant rejection, or worsening of chronic kidney disease.

 

Kidney Transplant Patients should:

 

  • Drink more than the 2 liters of doctor prescribed fluid each day.

  • Again, this should be done by always having water, decaffeinated and non alcoholic, beverages handy to sip on all day.

  • Remember, both caffeine and alcohol dehydrate.

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Jacquie diagnosed with T1D at age 7

Many people tend to categorize Type 1 diabetes as a “worse” case of diabetes than Type 2.  The fact of the matter is that while they are both diabetes–an endocrine disorder whereby the body cannot move glucose from the blood stream to feed the cells–the reasons for the disorder are different. Because the reasons are different, the treatment is often different.

 

People with Type 1 diabetes always take insulin injections because the reason for their inability to move glucose to the cells is because their pancreas doesn’t produce insulin at all. Therefore the only way to complete the digestive process is with insulin injections.

 

People with Type 2 diabetes develop it for a number of different reasons. Some suffer from insulin resistance, meaning that their pancreas’ produce insulin, however their bodies have become resistant to the insulin and oral medication is needed to make the insulin work or work more efficiently.

 

Others with Type 2 diabetes have undergone a major change (weight gain, stress etc.) that increases the amount of insulin required for digestion. Sometimes the pancreas can be stimulated with oral medications to produce more insulin, however in other cases insulin injection therapy is needed.

 

So as you can see, there is no “worse” case of diabetes, just differences in how they are treated.

 

To  answer to my own question, I do have an opinion about which type is easier to manage. Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children, hence the earlier description “juvenile diabetes”. Type 2 often occurs in older adults. Managing diabetes is a lifestyle change, and for children, it is creating a lifestyle–not changing it.

 

Many people have difficulty managing Type 2 Diabetes because it is a lifestyle change more than adding a pill a day, but includes blood testing, weight management, exercise for more than just pleasure and following a diet.  I believe that people managing Type 1 diabetes have it easier because they created a lifestyle as a child that they have adapted to their routine as they grew older.

 

For example, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 7.  It was August, two months after my baby brother was born and a month before second grade started. In fact I missed a few weeks of the start of school because in 1969, patients with diabetes were hospitalized while they learned to manage, and doctors determined what dose of insulin to prescribe (Boy was this old school). In 1969, there was no such thing as a glucometer and patients were prescribed an insulin dose to take for six months until the next doctor’s visit and a blood glucose test could be done.

 

It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I participated in a study with a new machine called a glucometer. It was the size of an old cassette tape machine and weighed about 40 pounds. The machine had to be calibrated with synthetic blood anytime the machine was turned off–oh yeah, it had to be plugged in. While this doesn’t sound convenient or conducive to anyone’s lifestyle, it was a major step in managing diabetes. Once I graduated from college, glucometers became pocket sized and much more portable. With this new technology, I was “able” to do nearly anything.

 

One of the most important things my parents taught me when I was diagnosed with diabetes, was that I can do anything that I wanted to do as long as I was willing to work hard at it. While technology made it possible to manage a busy lifestyle, it was my parent’s words that continue to ring in my ears and hopefully have been passed on to my son’s ears. With that mantra, it was relatively easy to modify my regimen from high school cheerleading, to walking the campus to class; from school to work and the impact on my blood sugar of emotions during meetings or public speaking. Adding marriage, childbirth and a young family to the mix was more an organizational feat than it was a procedural change.

 

So the next time you see a child with diabetes, don’t hang your head in sorrow because of her diabetes. Know that she is preparing for a busy life ahead.

 

Wife, Mom & CEO managing T1D

 

 

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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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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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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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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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THE NEW INTRODUCTION TO EXERCISE VIDEO FEATURING JAMIE BROOKS IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!

 

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