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 living with diabetes

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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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.

 

 

 

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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

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A few weeks ago I talked about the old days and the diabetic exchange system diet. It was up to the diabetic to understand and almost commit to memory the exchange system. It has been at least 30 years since this was the way the diabetic diet was managed, but I still remember that 5 cashews equals a fat exchange. Although people believe nuts are high in protein (and they are a source of some protein), they are higher in fat than protein. The diabetic diet is now managed by counting carbohydrate content. As an old timer, I feel something is lost in the nutritional value of the meal when counting carbohydrates only. In this new jack swing system of carbohydrate counting it doesn’t matter if you eat mostly from one food group as long as it meets the carbohydrate count. Man does not live by bread alone, but if he’s carbohydrate counting, who’s to say he can’t live by beer alone?

And who did away with Tes-Tape™? Remember before the days of glucometers and home blood testing, that gray tape dispenser with yellow tape that we had to pee on before each meal? It was ¼ inch wide and you cut off a piece about 2 inches long to pee on to test your urine sugar. It was the closest thing we had to estimate (I mean really guess) at what our blood sugar was. I mean really, how accurately could urine sugar indicate blood sugar?

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I participated in a study of one of the first glucometers. I carried with me to college a 1 ½ foot long by 8 inch wide by 4 inch deep, 40 pound machine with manual gages like an old airplane cockpit. With it was synthetic blood vials used to calibrate the machine whenever it was moved or unplugged; strips, and steel lancets designed to poke a hole in the finger that almost required stitches to stop the bleeding. Test results were complete 2 minutes after the poke and the results were displayed by the hand on the gage stopping on one of four hashes: 0, 120, 240 and 480. If the hand landed between the hashes, you had to estimate the best you could.  

Boy how technology has improved! Today glucometers fit in your pocket, and even come with an ap to record blood sugar and suggest meals or exercise.  Even beyond the snapshot picture that the glucometer provides is another advancement called the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). If the glucometer is a snapshot of what your blood sugar is at that moment, the CGM is a video camera of how your blood sugar varies throughout the day. This is valuable information as the diabetic can better schedule and plan rather than prepare for just in case.

Change resulting in progress is good! What are your memories of the good ol days?

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Growing children, even high schoolers often have a difficult time managing glucose levels because of the influx of hormones, gym class, academic stress, after school sports and the dietary make up of school lunches.

According to the American Diabetes Association, “Federal laws that protect children with diabetes include Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1991 (originally the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975), and
the Americans with Disabilities Act. Under these laws, diabetes has been considered to be a disability, and it is illegal for schools and/or day care centers to discriminate against children with disabilities. In addition, any school that receives federal funding or any facility considered open to the public must reasonably accommodate the special needs of children with diabetes.”
Indeed, federal law requires an individualized assessment of any child with diabetes. The required accommodations should be provided within the child’s usual school setting with as little disruption to the school’s and the child’s routine as possible and allowing the child full participation in all school activities.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) encourages the use of a 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) so that medical instructions are clear for educators when needed. You can find an example plan at http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/504/.

For more information with the opportunity to ask questions, the JDRF sponsors a back to school conference:

 

JDRF’s Back-to-School Conference

No Fee to Attend

Everything you need to know about creating

a safe learning environment for students with
diabetes

For parents/caregivers, school administrators
& staff including teachers,

support personnel (lunch room aides and bus
drivers), and school nurses!

August 9, 2011

2011 Club Venetian, 29310 John R Road, Madison
Heights, MI

August 16, 2011

Holiday Inn French Quarter, 10630 Fremont Pike,
Perrysburg, OH

August 23, 2011

Walnut Hills Country Club, 2874 E. Lake Lansing Rd,
East Lansing, MI

Program Hours (each site): 6:00PM-8:00PM

Students with type 1 diabetes need a strong
support network at school to help them manage their diabetes.

JDRF is here to help!

Hear presentations from Certified Diabetes Educators:

Diabetes Basics • Educational tools and templates • The ‘team’ approach to keeping students safe

Receive information from JDRF:

School Advisory Toolkit • Health Care Providers Toolkit • Service & Support Programs

Visit the diabetes vendors in the exhibit area:

Roche Diagnostics, Medtronic, Solara Medical Supplies, Nova Biomedical, Animas, Novo Nordisk

Questions? Contact Denise Pentescu at dpentescu@jdrf.org or 248-936-1284

JDRF’s Back-to-School
Registration Form

Fax to: 248-355-1188 or
Online at: www.JDRFcares.org/ConferenceRegistration

(If you email your registration, include all the
information requested below in the text field)

I will attend:
____ Aug. 9 – Metro Detroit/Madison Heights ____ Aug. 16 – Perrysburg, OH ___ Aug. 23 – Lansing

Contact Name_________________________________________Title ______________________

Email __________________________________________ Phone_________________________

School Name (if
school employee) _________________________________________________________________

Address _______________________________________________________________________

City/State/Zip ____________________________________________________________________

Free Return form no later than one week prior to event date to reserve your seat!  Free

Register
On-Line at www.JDRFcares.org/ConferenceRegistration

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When chronic illness hits, we often think of the bad things that the illness brings. With diabetes, we lament over having to take insulin injections, taking other medications and following a diet. Diabetes does in fact require a lot of scheduling and monitoring but with that comes discipline that we can use in other areas of our life.

I can’t tell you how often I used my understanding of diabetes and how my body works to understand other concepts.  For instance, when learning how to develop a Bill of Material to manufacture automotive components, I was taught that each manufacturing process had a cost and the sum of those processes and materials made up the unit cost of the product. Said simply, the piece of steel, plus the labor to form it, plus the cost of painting it, plus the box cost, plus the cost to put it in the box, plus the overhead burden cost equals the “cost” of the product—not the price.  The price resulted in a profit margin markup of that cost.

Well, it was easy for me to conceptualize this BOM (bill of material) cost concept as a carbohydrate counting recipe. When a diabetic eats, it is more than a total caloric counting process. Especially in the 1970s, the diabetic diet was comprised of a total caloric diet broken down into meat, milk, bread (or starch), fat, fruit and vegetable exchanges. Such a diet would include a “bill of material” that may call for 2 bread exchanges, 1 fat exchange, 1 meat exchange, 1 vegetable exchange and 1 milk exchange for dinner. It was up to the diabetic to choose between 1 cup of spaghetti with meat sauce (1 bread and 1 meat), a dinner roll (1 bread), 1tsp. of butter (1 fat), ½ cup of broccoli (1 vegetable) and 1 cup of skim milk (milk exchange); or 1 medium sized lean pork chop (meat), ½ cup corn (bread exchange), ½ cup of green beans (vegetable exchange), 1 cup of skim milk (milk exchange) and ½ cup of vanilla ice cream (1 bread and 1 fat exchange).

In school, teachers call using one concept to teach another the use of pneumonics. This worked for me? What works for you? How has diabetes and it’s management helped you in another unrelated area of life?

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The book ”Blessed Assurance” gives the reader  a sense of admiration and appreciation  for the fortitude and resilience  that Jacquie had going through bouts of illnesses and having hope and faith and believing that through God she would be victorious.

I used her book and its teachings to console a close friend of mine who was depressed because of her own illness. “Blessed Assurance” is a tool for people to learn to have hope in the face of  so many uncertainties. There were many times she prayed for strength and courage to face the many challenges encountered. It
is apparent that God used Jacquie for a purpose to witness and testify to what God can do.

It is through the belief that Christ died so we  may have life, that surely was the basis that kept Jacquie fighting the bouts of  diabetes, and it was though the love displayed by her family that  helped her propel her illness into a platform for success.

 

Barbara Talley

A Friend in Christ

Hope United Methodist Church

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As women we multitask.  All at the same time we work, manage a household, cook, clean, tutor, and manage a marital partnership—financially, spiritually and emotionally, not to mention manage the in-laws, out-laws and other extended family members.  Multitasking focuses us to handle most if not all of these issues during the course of a regular day.  Always handling problems can sometimes keep a woman from living victoriously.

 If we’re around people who constantly point out what’s wrong with us and around us, then we too can begin to believe that there is lots wrong with our lives and that there is nothing we can do about it.  And we become depressed.

 For women with chronic illness, we have another set of issues that tell us why we shouldn’t succeed.  In fact, many of these issues are not imaginary but really exist and are things that we have no choice but to deal with.  And in that case we not only become depressed but feel powerless about our lot in life.

 In these examples, what the women have forgotten is that God made us to be complicated individuals.  Complicated in the sense that we have abilities that we use so much everyday that we don’t even realize that they are unique attributes.  We have an innate ability to organize and find ways around the obstacles we face, if only we’d ask God for help and remain faithful and obedient to His word.

 Think about the time when you spent your last dime on paying bills and your daughter needed money for a school field trip?  Or when you knew you had a busy week upcoming both at work and at home, but you were sick and bed ridden? And you said, “Lord, how will I get this all done”?

Something happened, didn’t it?  And maybe it didn’t seem so miraculous.  You found a $10 bill that you stuck in your coat pocket and had forgotten about it.  Or that cold medicine seemed to work overnight; or the next day was such a beautiful sunny day that you got up and got started.

Everything that God does or makes possible isn’t always an elaborate display of miraculous acts.  Sometimes they are, like when I was comatose for a month with the West Nile virus seven years ago and today I breathe air.  But sometimes it is the small shove of confidence and help with decision making or organizing that helps us to live victoriously.  What has been your challenge and small shove of confidence?

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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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We were both diagnosed diabetic at 7 years old and thanks to the focus diabetes requires, we have Success Despite the Odds.

Sotomayor opens up about her diabetes

By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The parents of Sonia Sotomayor, the future Supreme Court justice, knew something was wrong when their daughter, 7 years old at the time, was always thirsty, began wetting the bed and fainted in church.

By Charles Rex Arbogast, AP

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivers an address at the University of Chicago Law School.

In heartfelt remarks before a group of 150 children Tuesday, Sotomayor recalled being taken to the hospital for tests. When a technician pulled out a needle to draw blood, she was so scared that she tore from the room, ran out of the hospital and hid underneath a parked car. After hospital staff dragged her back, “kicking and screaming,” and completed tests, things turned scarier: Sotomayor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

It was the first time she saw her mother cry. The doctor told her diabetes wasn’t so bad, and Sotomayor thought, “If it isn’t so bad, why is my mommy crying?”

Sotomayor’s diabetes has long been known, yet she has never spoken so publicly and in such personal terms about her life with the condition. Over the course of a half-hour at a downtown Washington hotel Tuesday, Sotomayor spoke as a group of children in bright blue T-shirts — ages 4 to 17, from around the nation — sat rapt before her on the floor of a large conference room.

She opened her remarks at the event sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation with the shame of wetting the bed after drinking too much water and the fear of her disease. She quickly moved into how she learned to manage it and the discipline diabetes has given her.

After living with it, she said, she discovered “it wasn’t so bad, but it was still bad.”

She told the children, diabetics like her, that they could become anything they wanted. If you want to be a Supreme Court justice, she said in response to a 10th-grade boy from Michigan, “do the things you like to do and do them well.”

She told one of the smallest girls in the audience, from South Carolina, that life as a diabetic will get better as she grows up, figures out what’s happening to her body and learns to manage her blood sugar.

Sotomayor, who will turn 57 Saturday, said she constantly calculates how a meal will affect her and said that no matter where she is having dinner, she will give herself a shot of insulin. Unlike most of the children in the room who get their insulin through a pump, Sotomayor said she uses needles about four times a day.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation estimates that about 3 million people in the USA have type 1 diabetes and, like Sotomayor, must regularly test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections.

Sotomayor, whose parents came from Puerto Rico, grew up in the Bronx. When she was 9, her father died. Her mother, who eventually became a nurse, worked long hours to support her daughter and son.

In an era before disposable needles, Sotomayor recalled getting up early to boil water and sterilize needles. She said she was so little, she had to pull a chair over to the stove.

Sotomayor stressed the discipline cultivated over the years, such as learning what foods are best for her. “Unlike other people, I actually pay attention to my body,” she said, noting that she can usually tell when she is getting sick.

The juvenile diabetes foundation says that even with insulin injections, complications from diabetes can arise, such as kidney failure, blindness and heart disease.

Sotomayor went to Princeton University and earned a law degree from Yale. When President Obama appointed her to the Supreme Court in 2009, she became the first Hispanic to sit on the nation’s highest court.

In what she described Tuesday as “the job of my dreams,” Sotomayor said she watches how the stress of the court business might affect her blood-sugar level and always checks it before she takes the bench for the hours-long oral arguments.

She accentuated the positive side of having diabetes, telling the youths, “It affects you in knowing how precious it is to have good health.”

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