Transplant Athlete
Sunday, January 11, 2009
  Dialysis Newbie Newsletter

I was asked by the social worker at the Davita clinic if I would write a short note that could be included with Welcome Pack that Davita gives to all new patients. The link above takes you to some statistics regarding kidney disease from the NIH. According to the numbers(from 2005), there are 15.5 million Americans showing evidence of a chronic kidney disease. There are 485,000 people undergoing treatment for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). The number of people on dialysis is 341,319. More importantly, 17.68% (85,790) of those people undergoing treatment for ESRD die.

I was in a surly mood last night and thought it should be something like this:

Welcome fellow dialysis patient. You're probably confused, I was. You're probably overwhelmed, I was. You're probably scared, I was. Only time and education will take away your fears. It'll take time to learn about your treatment. It'll take time to learn how your body reacts to treatment. Once you get settled in, run don't walk to your nearest NKF office and ask them what you can do to promote organ donation. Dialysis can sustain your life, but statistically speaking, your chances of dying are much higher on dialysis than they are with a transplant. If your doctor is telling you are not a candidate for a transplant, get a second opinion.

First of all, it's too long, they're looking for just 50 words. Second, I doubt they'd print it in it's entirety, they'd cut it down so that it would look like all the other platitudes they'll be printing. "You can do it" "You'll be ok" etc...


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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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