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

Kidney Transplant

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On our parents' balcony before Jacquie's wedding

I can hardly believe that it has been 11 years.  Eleven years since my little brother donated his left kidney to me so that I might live.  In eleven years you would think that I would be pretty used to saying that, but it still brings the same tears to my eyes just writing it.

You know Jeff has never known a big sister without diabetes–taking a shot is what she did everyday, a couple times a day.  But slowing down because of illness is not what he was used to either and I think that is why he stepped up to become the big brother (despite our ages) and save my life.

I had lunch with my husband, mother and brother Jeff to tell them that the doctor recommended that I begin dialysis.  Because I was running my dad’s business at the time, Jeff asked, “What will you do?” I told him I wasn’t sure, perhaps I’d have to find a job.  Jeff piped up with a proclamation that no one expected nor could we proove would be possible.  Jeff said that he would give me a kidney.

We knew that we were the same blood type, but tissue type is another hurdle.  Nevertheless, my hero, my little brother was willing to undergo serious, complicated surgery to save his sister’s life.  And his wife supported his decision.

While all this is serious stuff–we had a ball making light of the process.   From doctors testing us to qualify us for transplant “from the rooter to the tooter”, to Jeff’s journey in the hospital from his room across the hall, to my room with foly catheter in tow and having to remind the newbie nurse that neither he nor the lead in the catheter were as long as the distance between them, so she should slow down.

I will forever be grateful to my little brother.

God bless and keep you Jeff. Much love,

Jac

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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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Diabetes is a patient managed disease. While doctors measure blood glucose and average glucose levels over 3 months (HbA1C), they are measuring in order to give you, the diabetic patient, feedback on whether your efforts are working to control your diabetes. Doctors also check for long term complications and whether other treatment is necessary to avoid the long term complication or to treat them. Beyond those activities, doctors really cannot control diabetes–only you can.

Let me say it again, DOCTORS CANNOT MANAGE YOUR DIABETES!  Your actions and your commitment to managing this complicated disease will in large part determine your health. The best endocrinologists, internists, specialists and educators cannot control your diabetes, only you can.

But don’t get me wrong, physicians are absolutely key in your diabetes management system. Your best source of how well you’ve been managing your diabetes is likely from your physician. While that information is about past performance, your doctor should recommend ways to improve your glucose control, whether it is diet changes, exercise changes or medication changes.

Another source of good coaching is from diabetes educators who perhaps have more time to teach strategy and technique for glucose control. Education is always key whether you are talking about diabetes or technology–understanding leads to better ability to control.

Having said that, take it upon yourself to map out a way to control your glucose levels as you navigate the sticky road through the holidays. Plan how you will handle company parties, charity functions, family gatherings, and full days of non-stop shopping. Overeating is not the only complication of the season. Forgetting to eat, or not having access to a healthy meal is another. And that is why planning is key.

Also, don’t forget to get some exercise. Unless we’re winter sports fans, it is easy to become sedentary and work behind a computer all day and watch television all night. Plan some exercise, even if it is walking from the back of the mall parking lot, doing laps at the mall or marching up and down a flight stairs in your home or at work 7 times!

Burn those carbohydrates by dancing!

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The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) will gather friends and supporters at the MGM Grand Detroit—Grand Ballroom on December 3, 2011 for the 7th Annual Kidney Ball.  The event, which features the theme “Motown Magic” every year, will include a night of live music, great food, cocktails, and an after party, all making it the most fun charity event in metro Detroit. Last year’s Kidney Ball raised over $500,000 for the NKFM’s many programs and services that help more than 900,000 Michigan residents living with chronic kidney disease.

 

The spectacular evening, which attracts more than 700 of metro Detroit’s givers and shakers, will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. and a fabulous dinner served at 7:30 p.m. There will also be an exciting live auction along with an expansive and unique silent auction.  Guests can also enjoy dancing and listening to the soulful sounds of the Jerry Ross Band after dinner.  Jim Vella, President of the Ford Fund, and Vivian Pickard, President of the GM Foundation, will serve as the Honorary Chairs of the 2011 Kidney Ball. Blanche Mack and Myra Moreland will be this year’s Event Chairs.

 

The evening wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the Kidney Ball Presenting Sponsor, Meijer, as well as the many other sponsors and supporters of the event.“With so many challenges in our state things are not likely to get easier for people with kidney disease.

“Supporting the 2011 Kidney Ball can continue to help make their lives better,”
said Dan Carney, President and CEO of the NKFM. “We invite everyone to take a
step back into the Motown era and support an organization whose mission truly
is to make a difference.”

Tickets for the event are $250 per guest and can be purchased by calling the NKFM at 800-482-1455. More information about the event is available at www.kidneyball.org or you can get regular updates from the NKFM (including Kidney Ball updates) at www.facebook.com/KidneyMI.

 

The NKFM, voted “Best Managed Nonprofit” of 2003 by Crain’s
Detroit Business, and rated a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator, is a 501(c)3
nonprofit organization established in 1955. Since its inception, the NKFM has
led the fight against kidney disease and has increased awareness of the
critical need for organ and tissue donations. The mission of the National
Kidney Foundation of Michigan is to prevent kidney disease and improve the
quality of life for those living with it. The NKFM is widely known for
providing more programs and services to more people than any other region or state.

Motown Kidney Ball
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Listen to my interview with Divabetic Blog Talk Radio host Max “Mr. Divabetic” Svadec.

Max Szadec, former Assistant to Luther Vandross

Divabetic® was inspired by the late R & B legend, Luther Vandross, and created and founded by his long-time assistant, Max Szadek. ‘Divabetic’, a combination of the word ‘diabetic’ and the letter ‘V’ for Vandross, evokes feelings of power and positive attitude associated with the great DIVAS Luther loved like Ms. Patti LaBelle. Divabetic® encourages every woman affected by diabetes to take on a diva’s bold sassy personae and posture to help improve the quality of her life. We believe, if we empower the DIVA within you to manage your diabetes properly, you will strive to live life at your best. You may even feel glamorous!

Listen to my interview with Divabetic Blog Talk Radio host Max “Mr. Divabetic” Svadec.

Listen to internet radio with DivaTalkRadio on Blog Talk Radio
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My Sweet Life by Beverly Adler, PhD, CDE and friends

There’s a new book hot off the presses, “My Sweet Life: Successful Women with Diabetes.” Published by PESI HealthCare, “My Sweet Life” is available for pre-order now and will be widely available next month, diabetes month.

“My Sweet Life” brings together stories from more than 20 successful women who don’t live with diabetes, but thrive with diabetes. This book is inspirational for the newly diagnosed diabetic woman and for the seasoned diabetic woman needed new ideas and inspiration to continue striving toward her goals. My Sweet Life is also a perfect reference for the men who care about a woman with diabetes.

Finally, this book is perfect for medical professionals and diabetes educators to be able to share “actual” experience and data points about living with diabetes. I am honored to be joined by an illustrious group of women on this project, through the vision and expertise of Clinical Psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator, Beverly Adler.

List of Contributors:
Brandy Barnes, MSW
Claire Blum, MS Ed, RN
Lorraine Brooks, MPH, CEAP
Sheri R. Colberg-Ochs, PhD
Carol Grafford, RD, CDE
Riva Greenberg
Connie Hanham-Cain, RN, CDE
Sally Joy
Zippora Karz
Kelli Kuehne
Kelly Kunik
Jacquie Lewis-Kemp
Joan McGinnis, RN, MSN, CDE
Jen Nash, DClinPsy,
Vanessa Nemeth, MS, MA
Alexis Pollak,
Birgitta Rice, MS, RPh, CHES
Kyrra Richards
Lisa Ritchie
Mari Ruddy, MA
Cherise Shockley
Kerri Morrone Sparling
Amy Tenderich, MA

Heartha Whitlow


 

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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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It’s great – to be – a Michigan Wolverine! It’s great – to be – a Michigan Wolverine!

The historic night football game against Notre Dame drew 114, 803 of my best friends to this fabulous event.  Despite Michigan’s difficult first quarter of play and Notre Dame’s first score, the second quarter found Michigan making strides to stay in the game.

The Michigan Marching band’s halftime show featured dancers and flag bearers with black body stockings with blue neon lights—cool to watch, but even cooler when they got into formation with the band and created a target for military personnel to parachute from an airplane and land in the Big House. They plummeted to earth wearing cameras on their helmets and the view from high above the Big House was broadcast on the endzone Sony screens.

The fourth quarter of play was intense. In fact the last 1:23 was filled with lead changes, right up until the final: 02 seconds. Michigan pulled off the win 35-31.

My 114, 803 friends and I were so excited about the win that we couldn’t leave the stadium right away. In fact the crowd took over the cheers we wanted to sing and the band had to kind of follow and wait to start their post-game show.

Traffic was horrendous, particularly with the extra security enforcement, closed streets and available parking. With all the extra people, the bus lines were particularly long. There was a lady in line behind us looking for a mint or piece of candy. My husband whispered to me that she was having an insulin reaction.  New security regulations at the Big House now prohibit bringing in any bags including purses. So we women have to make critical decisions about what to stuff our pockets with. Will it be lipstick, keys, ID and cash? Or will it be glucose tablets, keys, ID and cash?

Fortunately as we asked around for something with sugar in it, we found a woman with chocolate covered nuts—not the first choice to cure an insulin reaction (because it is not simple sugar that can be broken down by the body easily), but sugar nonetheless.

Insulin reactions make you feel weak and as I placed my hand on her back to encourage her to get in front of us and perhaps ask people to let her cut the line so that she could sit down on the bus sooner and get back to her purse quicker, I realized that her blood sugar was likely much lower than a simple reaction. The night air was cool, yet her t-shirt was soaked and wet from perspiration. She refused to cut the line and insisted upon waiting for her turn.

Her decision to come unprepared to a game that was delayed with excitement was a dangerous game of Russian Roulette for her.

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Join me at the 2011 International Fuller Woman Expo next

Saturday, September 10, from 11 amuntil 6 pm.

 

W e are pleased to welcome back talk show host, comedian and

actress Ms. Kim Coles as our keynote speaker.  She is best

known for her portrayal of Sinclair on the hit television show,

“Living Single”, a role that garnered her 4 NAACP Image award

nominations. Ms. Coles is the host of the popular game show

“Pay it Forward” on BET, making her the 1st African American

Woman to ever host a primetime game show.

Keynote Speaker-Kim Coles

Kim is ever evolving. In January, she let go of her trademark braids she has had for

20 years to go all natural! This decision to reveal her natural locks tranformed her

in ways of thinking and being. She will speak about her new found freedom that has

made her appreciate who she is even more and how you can find the courage to love

your authentic self !


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