Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
  One Week On Dialysis

I've had my second full treatment of dialysis. Overall, I'm feeling better. I'm going to try to describe how I felt before and how I feel now; it's difficult, so bear with me.

Before dialysis, with all the extra fluid on board, I would wake up feeling like I couldn't breath because the fluid would pool in my chest. If you've ever been held under water, you know the panic that comes when you can't get your head above water. Imagine feeling that panic, but you're sitting in bed with air all around you. You don't want to move around, because that burns oxygen. I would close my eyes and breath deep.

Excess fluid is the most visible danger of failing kidneys, but the other danger is the toxins that build up in the bloodstream. The waste we generate will actually damage the other organs if it's not removed by the kidneys. There's no way to feel when the toxins have built up to a critical level and for me it happens so gradually that I never notice the change. Now that dialysis has cleaned my blood, I can feel the difference. Before, when walking to the pool in my development, it felt like there was actually junk in my blood. Imagine putting sand in your car's oil, the oil is meant to lubricate, but the sand will gum up the works and wear out the engine... Now, with clean blood, I can walk to the pool and I'm not out of breath and my blood feels clean. It's possible that the dirty feeling is all in my head, but either way, I feel better now.

I cramped pretty bad during yesterday's treatment. They had to administer saline (by IV) and some chicken broth (by mouth). I also got to meet my new Nephro...She's 32...Yes, my doctor is 4 years younger than me. Is that one of the signs of the Apocalypse you're getting old? The scary thing is we were at Maryland together...She got her MD in 2002, I got my MBA in 2003. Small world.


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Glad you are feeling better, glad the treatments are doing their job. Hopefully you'll be back on the bike before too long.
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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