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 kidney transplant

Last Updated: 2011-08-18 10:25:03 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Tan Ee Lyn

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Stem cell researchers in Hong Kong and the United States are trying to grow spare parts for the human heart that may be ready for tests on people within five years, they said on Thursday.

Scientists have already made basic heart muscle from stem cells, but the Hong Kong-led team wants to refine it so it can replace any part damaged in heart attacks, and to recreate the natural pacemaker, where the heartbeat originates.

“When you get a heart attack, there is a small time window for a cure when the damage is still small. You can cure with a patch, a small tissue, so you won’t progress to late stage heart failure,” said team leader Ronald Li, director of the University of Hong Kong’s Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Consortium.

“We have the muscle strip now, but we want it to mimic what we see in the native heart better, (and) that requires engineering,” Li told Reuters in an interview.

An organ or section of tissue grown from a person’s stem cells can, in general, be surgically implanted only in that same person because of immune-compatibility issues.

“There are many different types of heart cells. If cells that are responsible for electricity aren’t going right, you get arrhythmias or heart rhythm disturbances. There are heart muscle cells that do mechanical heart pumping that work all the time.”

The team will use human embryonic stem cell lines to build these human heart muscle strips in the laboratory, as well as the natural pacemaker tissue for people with arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.

They plan first to transplant these muscle strips and pacemakers into pigs, and, if successful, to move to human clinical trials, in which they will transplant parts of the heart that are grown using the patients’ own stem cells in about five years.

“The question is whether we can put it in the heart to integrate with the recipient organ. Even if it becomes integrated, will it last?” Li said.

He added that the team chose to use pigs because porcine hearts were anatomically and functionally more similar to human hearts.

“I am hoping that at the end of the five years, we will have a number of blueprints for designing different prototypes that can be tested,” he said.

So-called adult stem cells are the body’s source of all cells for the maintenance and repair of tissues. They can generate all the cell types of the organ from which they originate. Because of their ability to generate different types of cells, to multiply and extend their own lifespans, scientists hope to harness stem cells to treat a variety of diseases and disorders, including cancer, diabetes and injuries.

As well as the Hong Kong experts, the team will include scientists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the United States.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I’ve had juvenile diabetes for more than 32 years and so I have always had to figure out how to incorporate my diabetes monitoring into my busy schedule.   My schedule became even more complicated when my kidneys failed and I was on dialysis.  I was married, with a fifth grader and an automotive supplier executive.  I did peritoneal dialysis which required me to be connected to a machine which dialyzed me overnight and I did one exchange of fluid midday from work.  Because I kept my dialysis a secret from employees I usually tied up one of the phone lines and closed the door to my office so that it appeared that I was on a confidential call and no one would disturb me.

One day I needed to attend a meeting about a half hour away.  In order to get to the meeting on time, I wouldn’t be able to do my midday dialysis at the office.  Once I missed my midday exchange and felt awful, so I vowed never to miss dialysis again.  For a quick moment I thought, maybe I can’t do this.  Maybe it is too much to run a company while on dialysis.

This is where God helped me to think creatively so that I could attend the meeting and not miss dialysis.  I remembered that God created me to be a quick thinking and resourceful woman, and so from my office I gathered all of my dialysis supplies and fluid into a spare briefcase and put them into my car. In my office parking lot, I put on my surgical mask and washed my hands with the disinfectant wipe.  Carefully I uncoiled my dialysis hose implanted in my abdomen and connected it to the drainage bag that I put on the front passenger side floor (below my heart, so that gravity would cause the old fluid to drain out of my abdomen).  I laid my new fluid bag on the car dash to heat up from the sun and window defroster.  Once my old fluid finished draining, and at a red light, I moved the new bag of fluid from the dash and pinched it in my sunroof window (above my heart, so that gravity would cause it to drain into my abdomen).  I moved the clamp so that the fluid would start to drain.  After the bag was empty and at another red light, I washed my hands again, put on my mask and disconnected from the dialysis system.  I taped up my hose and buttoned up my pants.  I put everything into the trunk of my car and attended the meeting as scheduled and felt just fine.

What this experience reminds me is that no matter what people say or what may be going wrong, I am a child of God, created in His image.  He has shown me how to multitask and how to creatively work my way through problems and because of that, I can live victoriously—and so can everyone.

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The Healthy Hair Starts with a Healthy Body™ African American women’s health program was started by the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan in June 1999.  The goal of this program is to help prevent kidney disease by raising awareness of its two primary causes – diabetes and high blood pressure – and encouraging people to make healthy lifestyle choices.  Campaigns have been successfully implemented in ten Michigan cities: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Inkster, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac, Saginaw, Southfield, and Ypsilanti.    Since 1999, over 1,200 hair stylists have been trained to become lay health educators in their salons.  These stylists have completed 70 campaigns, reaching nearly 28,000 African American salon clients.  This program has gained national recognition.

 The centerpiece of the Healthy Hair intervention is the “health chat” conducted by the stylist.  In each campaign, stylists have two health chats with their clients.  During the first chat, stylists explain the risks faced by African Americans for kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  They also discuss the importance of good nutrition, adequate physical activity, smoking reduction/cessation, and taking prescribed medications properly if already diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure.  Stylists encourage their clients to make improvements in these areas and to seek blood sugar, blood pressure, or urine analysis tests at a doctor’s office.  Clients receive a risk assessment tool for diabetes and high blood pressure, along with a variety of health education materials to supplement the health chat, and a community referral guide of local support services.  The second health chat takes place approximately one month later, during which stylists review the key health messages, answer any questions, and offer further encouragement to help their clients take steps to improve their health.  Watch as Deborah Ivory explains how Healthy Hair worked at her salon, Optimum Beauty Works,  located on Livernois between Eight and Nine Mile roads in Ferndale, Michigan:

 Clients complete a survey after each health chat with their stylist.  The data from these surveys show the following: 

  • 56% of salon clients indicated that they had made at least one healthy lifestyle change as a result of the Healthy Hair intervention, including increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, increased physical activity, decreased consumption of salt and fat, decreased smoking, and improved medication adherence. 

 

  • The number of clients who were taking their diabetes and/or high blood pressure medication as prescribed increased by 9% between the first and second health chats.

 

  • 43% of clients indicated that they had visited or made an appointment to visit their primary care doctor between Chats 1 and 2.

 

  • Of those clients who visited their doctor, 80% discussed their risks for diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease; 90% were tested for one or more of these diseases, and 42% were diagnosed with a disease they did not previously know they had.

 

  • 34% of clients who completed a health risk assessment scored at high risk for diabetes.  In addition, 28% of clients indicated a previous diagnosis of high blood pressure; 11% reported a prior diabetes diagnosis. 

 

  • Clients talked to 3 other people, on average, about what they learned in the salon.  This significantly broadens the reach of the Healthy Hair messages in the community.

 

  • Participating hair stylists reported that Healthy Hair campaigns helped their business by improving their rapport with clients, creating a more positive salon atmosphere, building client loyalty, and prompting new referrals.  Many stylists also made their own health improvements.

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