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 jacquie lewis-kemp

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

From the time I was a child, my brother and I always grew up with a dog. At one point, we had several dogs: one purchased and we took in several strays. And so, when you grow up with a dog as a part of your family, you tend to continue to have a dog as a part of your family.

Santa brought my son a Rottweiler / German Sheppard or Collie (or maybe both) mix rescue from the Humane Society for Christmas. I’ve always preferred rescues to pure bread dogs because they somehow seem to have that character of appreciation and unconditional love for sparing their lives.  So Lizzie is the dog my son has grown up with and she now is the center of attention since our son is away in college.

WhenLizzie began to shed this summer, I thought it odd, but was more concerned with all the hair on our carpet and getting it up than the reason why she was shedding. When she began to get slower and have some difficulty getting up, I thought it was joint or arthritis issues, even though she was only 8 years old (56 in dog years) . The herbal fix of glucosamine and chondroitin didn’t seem to work, so I took her to the vet. He gave her a trial sample of a prescription arthritis drug to see if she perked up. Indeed she seemed to perk up and so I bought the full prescription.

Then she began to have black tar-like looking stools, which indicated she was bleeding internally. The veterinarian said that it was likely the arthritis medicine causing an ulcer and that I should discontinue it. I did of course, and her weakness worsened. Not only that but she really became lethargic and didn’t have much energy at all.

Well, I can remember being anemic during kidney failure (because my kidneys were chewing up my red blood cells) and how tired I was. So I attributed her tiredness to being anemic.  But her symptoms continued to worsen and she stopped eating and shortly stopped drinking. The vet drew blood work and instructed me to get some water into her body by using a turkey baster to squeeze into her mouth, and he should have answers from the blood work in the morning.

When I called the vet, I couldn’t believe my ears–Lizzie is in kidney failure. Kidney failure? What? My first thought was, well, we’ll have to start dialysis until we can find a donor dog who is a tissue matches, right? Wrong said the vet, while there is a doggy dialysis machine at Michigan State, it is used for puppies who are poisened from drinking windshield washer solvent or something, or ate a bottle of Tylenol. They don’t make appointments for regular sessions.

Ok, so the possibilities came immediately to mind and not the probabilities. Even if she could have made appointments for dialysis, could I have really driven an hour each way and waited while she dialyzed? And the cost! I could have just heard my husband talking screaming about the $45 donation to the Humane
Society for the dog with the balloon payment in eight years.

The vet explained to me that the best starting treatment for dogs in kidney failure is hydration therapy. She would receive ongoing hydration packs regularly which has worked for some dogs for up to 2 years. So Lizzie spent two days in the hospital receiving IV fluids while I contemplated becoming a part time nurse to
my dog–my dog who has loved me unconditionally for eight years–I can do this.

When I called to check on her (it’s not a good idea to visit because they become confused why you came and didn’t take them home.) the vet said that each day brought a little more interest in food. When the vet rechecked her blood work, her BUN, potassium and sodium were within the normal canine range–her kidney function was restored!  Ecstatic with the news, I next asked, so what is wrong with her? What caused her kidneys to shut down? More extensive blood work diagnosed that Lizzie has Addison’s disease. As they say, hind sight is 20/20–the hair loss, the weight loss (10 lbs in a month), weakness and loss of appetite were classic symptoms.

Addison’s disease, a condition former president John F. Kennedy had, is controlled by Prednisone and a shot of Cortisol every 25 days. I can handle giving her a daily 5 mg pill of Prednisone hidden in a finger full of peanut butter. The near monthly shot costing about a hundred bucks a pop may turn into a shot from
one of my old insulin syringes–if I can purchase a vial of the cortisol.

After one shot of Cortisol and a little more than a week of Prednisone, I’m happy to report that Lizzie is better than new.

Share

Listen as Anthony discusses the specific pitfalls

African Americans fall into and become victims of

diabetes.  He offers suggestions to move from apathy

to healthy and fight diabetes.

Share

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.

Share

Brandie Ivy lived on dialysis and has been listed for a kidney transplant for more than 9 years.  During that time she she attended college and married the love of her life. 

This young marriage has always had to consider the constraints of dialysis–hours of time each day, devoted simply to dialysis, nephrology dietary restrictrictions,  constant testing, fluid restrictions, registering with  doctors and a transplant center in the area they planned to travel to that she would be in the area, packing dialysis supplies, . . . and the list continued. 

 

 

On August 12, 2011 all of

that changed!!!!!!!!!!

 

Brandy received her long awaited kidney transplant! Now she and her (not so new, but I bet the relationship will feel new) husband will live a life that they only dreamed of!

The blessing and miracle of organ transplant is not just a medical one. In fact it is a very complicated medical miracle and spiritual experience.  Think about it, the organ that once grew in someone else’s body is surgically implanted and now functions in another person’s body. It is a medical miracle that only Christ can guide.

As you can imagine, transplant is a very expensive procedure, there are the costs associated with procuring the organ, preparing the organ for transplant, administration of the transplant process, the actual transplant procedure and post operative care which continues for life.

Insurance pays for most of the expenses, however there is a significant portion left unpaid that the transplant recipient has to bare, including an anti rejection drug regimen or the rest of this young woman’s life.

That is why on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church there will be a fundraiser and I will be the keynote speaker.  Brandy asks that I bring a message that teaches the importance of organ donation, particularly in the African American community.  We will use our examples of life restored through organ transplantation to encourage others to become organ donors.

Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church is located at  2080 W. Grand Blvd. Detroit, MI 48210.  Tickets for this event are $30 and can be purchased by calling 313 598 2537 and the tickets will be delivered. Checks can be made payable to Brandie Ivy. You may also purchase tickets  through paypal.com by using the email address brandieivy@gmail.com.

I hope you will come out and support

this courageous young woman.

Share

Hurricanes Irene and Katrina, terrorist attacks like 911, earthquakes and other disasters have us contemplating emergency preparedness.  What items would you pack up to move out of harm’s way? In the case of a sudden emergency, what items would you grab? Even if there is a fire in your home and you have a quick moment to grab one thing, what would it be?

If you wait to answer these questions when you need to, chances are you won’t grab the right things and you will regret that you didn’t think through these  uestions pre-need and not at-need.  For people with diabetes, organ transplants or other chronic conditions,  the question is critical and the first item is a given–medication,  items 2-10 may vary.

 On September 11, 2001, a good friend of mine was traveling from the Midwest to the West coast.  He called  from his layover in Minneapolis to tell me that the FAA was considering grounding all aircraft.  He had been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  So as I listened to him complain about airport hotels and poor restaurant choices, my Type 1 brain immediately began to calculate what I would need. What concerned me was that since he had homes in both locations, he likely wasn’t carrying several days of medication. I interrupted his complaining and asked, “How much medication do you have”? He answered, “Oh, I don’t know.” I asked him to pull it out and count how many days worth of medicine he had.  I listened as he opened pill bottles and counted, and he was comfortable that he had at least a couple weeks of medication. Funny thing is that as he was counting pills, I was thinking of next steps if he didn’t have enough medication.  Time was critical because he would need to call his pharmacist (during business hours in another time zone) to transfer his prescriptions to a local pharmacy, in order to fill them.

Here’s a quick list of items to consider:

Quick Evacuation

 

  1.  Medication
  2.  Medication
  3.  Medication
  4.  Critical / Portable equipment

 

Hours to Evacuate or Move to a limited space in the home

  1. Everything from the quick evacuation, plus
  2. Medical supplies such as glucose tabs, glucometer & supplies
  3. Durable medical equipment (dialysis supplies, heart monitors, etc., breathing machines)
  4. Physician and pharmacy phone numbers
  5. CASH
  6. Water
  7. Non perishable food
  8. Flashlight
  9. Battery operated radio

 

Some of these items can be stored in
one location, so that only a few will need to be gathered in the case of an
emergency. No one wants to imagine such disaster, but it is better to be
prepared and not need it, than to need it and not be prepared.

 

 

 

Share

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 !


Share

Join walkers from all over the state of Michigan to support the National Kidney Foundation in its quest to advocate for patients in all stages of chronic kidney disease.

Share

The Affordable Care Act, signed and passed in March of last year, holds many benefits for those both pre- and post-transplant. While you may already be familiar with some of the Act’s immediate benefits, it’s in your interest to understand how long-term initiatives may improve your healthcare coverage in the future.

General benefits to look for

If you have been denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition—such as a history of transplant or kidney disease—the Act is creating ways to help1,2:

It removes lifetime coverage limits and sets more reasonable annual limits

As of September 2010, it eliminated pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying coverage to, or setting high premiums on, individuals up to 19 years of age

Effective 2014, it will eliminate pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying coverage to, or setting high premiums on, individuals 19 years and older

Your options until 20143

Most significantly, the Act has created the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)—which may provide you affordable, non–income-based coverage if you’ve been uninsured or denied insurance for at least 6 months due to a pre-existing condition.4

Standard PCIP benefits include primary, specialty, and preventative care; hospitalization services; and prescription drug coverage.4 Depending on where you live, these benefits may either be managed by the federal government or the state.4 Click the map for benefits, coverage rates, and enrollment details specific to your state of residence5:

If your PCIP program is run by the state, you will be offered a single plan by that state; but if it is run by the federal government, you will have the option of selecting from the following 3 plans6-8:

Be sure to read the 2011 PCIP Brochure and the PCIP Benefits Summary before discussing your options with a financial coordinator or PCIP representative.

Your access to coverage is critical to your transplant health. With the help of the Affordable Care Act, you are now many steps closer to ensuring a successful journey ahead.

Share

 

MY SWEET LIFE: Successful Women with Diabetes

by Beverly. Adler, PhD, CDE

and friends

 

This book is a collection of life stories – each chapter written by a highly respected successful woman with diabetes.  This group of diverse women share their stories how they find balance between managing their careers and/or family AND managing their diabetes.

MY SWEET LIFE is compiled by Dr. Beverly S. Adler who is also one of those women.  “Dr. Bev” as she is better known, is a clinical psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator in private practice, specializing treating patients with diabetes and also has had Type 1 Diabetes for 36 years.  All those years ago when she was diagnosed, there were no role models with diabetes for her. This book is geared for women with diabetes who need role models who can inspire them. The book  is written for the newly diagnosed woman with diabetes who is overwhelmed with her diagnosis.  Or, for the woman who has had diabetes for a while, but can also benefit from uplifting, inspirational stories to encourage and motivate self-care (especially if they already are trying to cope with some complications).

She is joined by 27 contributing authors who are all women of exceptional accomplishments! Each story is unique and heartwarming, as these very special women share their triumph over diabetes. The reader can learn how the women’s experiences with diabetes helped to shape them into who they are today. The forward to the book is written by Nicole Johnson – Miss. America 1999. The theme running through the book is that “diabetes is a blessing in disguise.”

 

 

This book is inspirational, motivational, and uplifting!

 

___________________________________________________________________________

 

Contributing authors (in alphabetical order):

Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE

Judith Jones Ambrosini

Brandy Barnes, MSW

Lorraine Brooks, MPH

Fran Carpentier

Sheri R. Colberg-Ochs, PhD

Deanna Glick

Riva Greenberg

Carol Grafford, RD, CDE

*Nicole Johnson (*Writing the Forward to the book)

Sally Joy

Zippora Karz

Kelli Kuehne

Kelly Kunik

Jacquie Lewis-Kemp

Joan McGinnis, RN, MSN, CDE

Laura Menninger (aka “The Glucose Goddess”)

Jennifer Nash, PhD

Vanessa Nemeth, MS, MA

Alexis Pollak

Kyrra Richards

Lisa Ritchie

Christina Rowlandson, MS

Mari Ruddy, MA

Cherise Shockley

Kerri Morrone Sparling

Natalie Strand, MD

Amy Tenderich, MA

Heartha Whitlow

Share