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Archive for Patient Stories

July 15, 2008

Allan Patrick A. Lubiano: Full-time worker, choir member, fiance, PD patient

Allan Patrick A. Lubiano is a peritoneal dialysis patient in Daly City, CA. This is his story. 

“Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.’ Twenty years ago, I thought I was on the end of my rope. I was 15 years old back then and was diagnosed with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Having just started high school, I thought my life would be completely altered. It wasn’t altered. I just made a slight detour in the road of life. Since then, I have had two failed transplants and three stints with peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. Along the way, I had so many medical procedures that I lost track, but I never lost focus of my goal of living a full life. 

My second transplant ended at quite the unfortunate time. I was in my last year in college, pursuing a double major in Computers Information Systems and International Business and on track to graduate with honors. I was readying myself to transition seamlessly to the professional world. I had my dreams and I was ready to fulfill them. Then, all of a sudden, after suffering pneumonia, I lost my transplanted kidney after only three years. I was devastated at first, but after looking at the shattered pieces of my life, I refused to allow my illness to sidetrack me from fulfilling my goals and decided to go back to peritoneal dialysis. 

After taking a semester off, I continued my studies and eventually graduated from college with honors. I then proceeded to become a part of a management training program. I am currently working full time and supervising a team consisting of 50 employees. I refuse to be a burden to anyone, financial or otherwise. 

I am also very active in the church community, serving as a member of the Holy Spirit Choir and as a leader of the young adult ministry. I am also an active partner with Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based anti-poverty movement launched in 2001 by Couples for Christ to care for worse-off Filipinos and survivors of natural disasters. To date, through several fundraising events, we have raised enough funds to sponsor a village, which can provide housing for 30 impoverished families. But Gawad Kalinga is about more than building houses for the poorest of the poor, it is the empowerment and upliftment of society’s chronically disadvantaged. 

Next year, I am marrying my fiancé, Nerissa, and God willing, I will raise a family of my own. 

Yes, I was dealt a bad hand when I was stricken with ESRD, but with the help of God and peritoneal dialysis, I played the hand that I was dealt and was able to rise above and live a full and meaningful life. The flexibility it afforded me also provided me the freedom to explore what life has in store. But with the help of my family and my PD caregivers, I am not done yet. Indeed, PD is the knot that made me hang on. But it is also the strong knot that allowed me to lengthen the rope of life and to see the exciting beauty that it has in store.”

June 19, 2008

Katy Mills: transplant recipient, former PD patient

Katy Mills is a transplant recipient living in St. Louis, MO. Before receiving her transplant on January 28, 2008, Katy was on peritoneal dialysis. This is her story. 

“Hi, my name is Katy, and I have a suspicion my story may be familiar. I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in the early 1990s. I immediately assumed I was the one who would beat the odds and never need dialysis or a transplant. 

By 2006, my kidneys were functioning at about ten percent and I had no energy whatsoever. I felt ‘stuck in neutral.’ Of course, I totally disregarded the fact that my doctor kept telling me how ‘puffy’ I looked. Then, the day after President’s Day in 2006, I just stopped urinating. Oops! That won me a trip to the hospital. I got a reprieve when they sent me home urinating, a little. However, they also sent me to DaVita to learn about my dialysis treatment options, and I chose peritoneal dialysis. I still didn’t quite get it. I informed them that I might see them in June.

Wrong again! Two weeks later, in March, I was back in the hospital with end stage renal disease. YIKES! Somehow it was easier to talk about that catheter this time. Good thing this time I didn’t get out of the hospital until I had a catheter. Unfortunately, I chose that this would be the end of my teaching career in a public elementary school. But it was also the start of a period of time when I actually felt better than I have in years. Would I prefer to have functional kidneys? You bet! But, if the alternative is dialysis or dying, this is okay for me. I’m doing things I haven’t had time for in years, and I have the energy to do them.”

May 15, 2008

Katie Siesennop: Transplant recipient, former PD patient, mother

Katie Siesennop is a transplant recipient living in Troy, MO. Before receiving her transplant in December 2007, Katie was on peritoneal dialysis. This is her story.

“I had a kidney transplant in September 1998. In 2005, my blood pressure kept rising and nobody knew why. A biopsy in August determined a virus had attacked the kidney, and I had to start dialysis. The doctors put me on hemodialysis but my blood pressure remained high. In September, it rose so high I had a seizure and the kidney was removed. Each time I visited the doctor, a new blood pressure medicine was added until I was taking five of them. Almost every time I was taken off the machine, I had to sit and wait for the blood pressure to come down before I could leave to go home.   I had heard of peritoneal dialysis. I was told I wouldn’t have to come to the center three days per week for four hours at a time, but I was scared and didn’t want to have more surgery. Eight months later a guy my age came into my hemodialysis unit, but he was switching to peritoneal dialysis (PD) and it struck me, ‘Hey, if this guy can do it, so can I.’ I talked to my doctor, and he was worried because I don’t have a kidney. He wasn’t sure it would work for me.   A month later, I began PD. I no longer had to worry about finding a ride to my treatments, being home on time when my son got off the bus or hearing talk of putting the line in my arm. Not long after, my days were free, and my treatments were done by machine while I slept. What’s better is that my blood pressure was 110/70, and I only took one medicine.   

PD also made going on vacation easier. The PD supply company delivered my dialysis solution to the hotel before I arrived. I brought my machine. My nurse contacted a center nearby in case I had a problem, and I had the freedom to see the sights all day.”

March 3, 2008

Ann David: Wife, mother of two, quilter

Ann David is a peritoneal dialysis (PD) patient who is constantly on the go. Ann enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, shopping and doing crafts. She’s thankful that PD has given her the energy to get moving. This is her story.

My name is Ann David, and I am 77 years old. I have been on home peritoneal dialysis for one year. I live with my husband and have two daughters who live in the same subdivision as us.

Deciding whether to do dialysis at home or to do dialysis at a clinic was a tough decision. Reading the material, I was overwhelmed with the information about doing dialysis at home. The amount of supplies, the machine, making sure things are sterile, learning how to run the machine, hooking myself up, it all seemed so complicated. Then, there were the questions. What do you do if there is a power failure or if the machine malfunctions? Where do we store everything? Can we make this work? With the help of my family, we decided to make it a family project and try doing dialysis at home.

The first hurdle I encountered was getting the catheter put in. I had breast cancer 43 years ago. I’ve had two mastectomies and several abdominal surgeries. There was a possibility that I had too much scare tissue for it even to be possible to have the catheter inserted. I went to Columbia, MO, and Dr. Nichols did the procedure without any problems. First hurdle cleared.

Next came the classes and learning how things would work. My daughters and I went to DaVita Lake St. Louis. Lisa Wilson is my nurse. The girls took notes as we learned how to do dialysis manually. We’d talk about the things we learned and review handouts. Lisa had all of us doing all parts of the dialysis in the office, and eventually, we felt better about what we were about to encounter at home.

After doing manual dialysis for a while at home, it didn’t seem that overwhelming. We had a schedule, and things went pretty smoothly. Now it was time to learn how to operate the machine. We went back for more classes and practice sessions. Soon it was time to begin at home.

I’d like to say that the first night was a piece of cake, but it wasn’t. The machine started beeping in the middle of the night. We were scared that we messed up. We called the 24-hour help line, and they walked us through some steps. We found out that we did everything okay. We did manual treatments that next day, and in less than 24 hours, the machine company had a new machine out to us.

You probably think that at this point, I was ready to give up and go to the clinic. That is just the opposite of what happened. This problem was a good thing for us. We were no longer afraid of anything going wrong. We found out how nice and helpful the people were on the 24-hour helpline. We didn’t have to worry about messing up because help was just a phone call away. This experience gave us the confidence and courage that other problems wouldn’t be that hard to solve.

During the winter, there was an ice storm, and we were without power for three days. Once again, we were put to the test. When the power first went off in the middle of the night, I disconnected myself, found an extra blanket, and went back to bed, knowing Lisa or one of the nurses on call would advise me what to do in the morning. The next morning, we still did not have power, so I was told to do manual dialysis. This was a little more complicated since we had to find a way to heat the solution and get enough light to see what we were doing. The family all helped, and we made it through the ice storm.

Enough about the mechanics of home dialysis, how has this affected my life? Before dialysis, I had little energy, had lost my appetite and spent most of my time sitting in my recliner and sleeping in front of the television. I stopped doing most of my crafts, didn’t do much shopping and limited activities outside the house. When we would go to the doctor’s appointments, that was about all I could do that day. It would wear me out. I didn’t even want to stop for lunch outside the house.

Once I started dialysis, all of that slowly changed. Now, I am back doing my crafts. I have energy again, and people can’t believe how much better I look physically. Don’t believe me? Last Monday, I had a doctor’s appointment. After that, my daughters and I went to lunch. Then we went shopping. We went to four stores all located in different areas. Five hours later, we finally came home, and I spent my evening crocheting. On Tuesday, I went to my church’s seniors’ meeting and luncheon. Then, on Wednesday, I spent the day quilting. My family says I’m always on the go now, and they think it is great.

Home dialysis has given me my life back. I am grateful for all the help and support of my family and the great staff at DaVita. I am so glad I didn’t give in to my concerns and gave home dialysis a try. I would recommend it to anyone.

Visit www.davita.com/home for more information on peritoneal dialysis.

February 14, 2008

Temeka Holliam: Mother, full-time employee

Temeka Holliam is a working mom who has been on home hemodialysis for four months. Since she made the switch to HHD, Temeka has seen her energy level increase greatly, giving her energy to spend time with her son and work full time. This is her story.

I have been on home hemodialysis for four months now, and my, how my life has changed. The biggest and most noticeable difference is that I have more (lots) of energy. It is amazing to hear my family, friends and co-workers tell me how much energy they have noticed that I have now. Speaking of co-workers, I am no longer leaving work at 2:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to go to the center. Therefore, my work production has increased, and I am readily available for my staff.

During the first week or so of my starting home hemodialysis, I was able to dose down and finally be taken completely off my high blood pressure medications. I was very excited about that, and to this date, I am still not taking any blood pressure medications. My blood pressure has been at a good rate.

The most important advantage of home hemodialysis for me is that I am able to spend time with my son without being tired. I am able to attend his sports activities, attend PTSA meetings, conferences, etc. His high school years will not pass me by because I am too tired to participate.

I would recommend home hemodialysis for anyone who wants to have an active life. Home hemodialysis is private and personal. And it puts you in control of your health needs.

For more information about home hemodialysis, visit www.davita.com/home.

January 21, 2008

Kevin Reynolds: Volunteer, full-time employee, husband, father

Kevin Reynolds works full time doing public relations and special events for Cincinnati Public Radio. He also volunteers for the American Cancer Society. Home hemodialysis has given him back “a comforting sense of normal” he is grateful for. This is his story.

It’s been five months since I began home hemodialysis, a treatment that takes place while I sit comfortably in my recliner in my family room surrounded by pictures of my family with my wife and daughter on the couch nearby and all the amenities of my home close at hand - my books, my laptop, my remote and my TV.

How did I get to this place? The short answer is cancer got me here - malignant tumors in both kidneys caused me to lose them in separate surgeries just two months apart. We were fortunate that at a modality training session on the day before I was to enter the hospital for my second nephrectomy, we learned that there was such a thing as home hemodialysis.

It is astonishing the level of normalcy that I have attained through home hemo, a level that I truly thought would never be possible again. So, here I am today, fully entrenched in my life as a dialysis patient, but working hard not to let that define me totally. I am, more importantly, a husband, a parent, a son, a friend, an employee, a co-worker, a volunteer and hopefully a well-rounded human being.

In spite of my lack of kidneys and in spite of my almost daily dialysis, I’m leading a life fairly close to the one I lived before all this happened. Had you asked me a few months ago if I thought this was possible, I would have said, “No way.” But time, love, patience, modern technology and the support of great professionals has made it possible. Home hemodialysis has meant all the difference in my life and my family’s life. It’s given me back a comforting sense of normal, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

Learn more about home hemodialysis at www.davita.com/home.

January 9, 2008

Marvin Burney: Husband, baseball coach

Marvin Burney’s life is finally returning to normal, thanks to home hemodialysis (HHD). The at-home dialysis treatment has given him the energy to get moving again and live the active life he’s used to. This is his story.

I started my walk down “Dialysis Road” almost thirteen years ago. When ESRD grabbed me, I was young, busy and relatively healthy, but all of that soon changed. After just a few months on in-center hemodialysis, I looked, felt, and moved around like an old, old man (and I was only 39 at the time!). My life had been very busy with working a full-time job and then spending an additional 25 to 30 hours a week volunteering as a youth baseball, football and basketball coach. But all of that stopped because my “new” life revolved around dialysis, and after treatments, I didn’t have the strength to work or coach anymore.

HHD has allowed me to reclaim my life. This is now my body, my disease, my treatment and my life, and I’m in charge. That’s a feeling I haven’t had in thirteen years, and boy, it’s a terrific feeling! HHD has also made me young again. After finishing my HHD training in August, I decided to coach a fall, youth baseball team, something I haven’t done in years.

The last year I coached when I was on in-center dialysis, I had to do all of my coaching from a golf cart because I couldn’t walk to the field or walk around during practice. On HHD, I got out on the field with the boys and led them in warm-up exercises. I walked for two hours and only stopped to demonstrate fielding and batting techniques, and I wasn’t even tired!

Yes, it’s true, dialysis still keeps me alive. But now, home hemodialysis keeps me alive, but it also lets me be young, busy and healthy again, and that makes ALL the difference!

Visit www.davita.com/home to learn more about home hemodialysis.

December 18, 2007

George Hartman: Husband, father of 5, outdoorsman

George Hartman is a father of 5, a grandfather of 19 and a great grandfather of 2. Peritoneal dialysis (PD) gives him the energy to spend time with his family and do the things he loves. This is his story:

Before I got sick, I was very active. My wife and I had a house up in the mountains…We went hunting. We had a lake I kept for swimming. It was great. Then, it got to be too much for me to keep up so we sold it. I still did the landscaping and gardening at our home. I love working outdoors. I even built my own birdhouses.

As I got sicker, I was tired all of the time. I was always taking naps. It was getting close to Thanksgiving. My family loves this holiday. We all get together and just really enjoy each other. I was feeling so bad I didn’t even want to go to dinner. My granddaughter was getting married on New Year’s Eve. The whole family was looking forward to it. My granddaughter was upset, thinking I wouldn’t be able to attend.

On November 15, I started my PD training. I could not believe that after just one week I could feel so much better. I started raking my lawn. It felt good to be back out working in my yard. I went to Thanksgiving, and everyone kept saying how healthy I looked. The best part was I felt good. My wife and I enjoyed getting ready for the holidays.

The next best thing that happened was I was able to attend my granddaughter’s wedding, and I even danced with the bride.

For more information about peritoneal dialysis, visit www.davita.com/home.

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