Take Control of Your Health and Your Life
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Take Control of Your Health and Your Life

By Debbie

March 2000 marks the 23rd year that I have been on hemodialysis. I think I have done so well on dialysis because I: 1) educate myself, 2) take responsibility, and 3) keep a positive attitude.

Educate Yourself Learn as much as you can about kidney disease and its treatment. I constantly ask questions and have taught myself about every aspect of my ESRD, including how the machine works, and why I need certain medications.

Take Responsibility I also feel patient responsibility is very important. When I dialyze, I check all the settings on my machine to see that everything is ready for my treatment, including fluid removal, sodium level, etc. Staff members are “human” and can make mistakes, so I must take care of myself.

If you are doing hemodialysis:

Don’t miss treatments. Run your full time. Watch your diet. Don’t gain too much fluid between treatments. For those of you who have children with kidney disease, don’t treat them any differently from a healthy child. I was diagnosed with kidney disease at 3 months of age, but was never treated differently from other children. At about 5 years of age, I learned the names and dosages of my medicines. My parents gradually gave me responsibility for taking the medicines, under their watchful eyes. I feel that early responsibility is the basis of my success today.

Keep a Positive Attitude Having a positive attitude is very important, although it’s not always easy. Don’t forget, “laughter is the best medicine” and “dialyze to live, don’t live to dialyze.” Keep your sense of humor and enjoy your life.

Permission received to post the following information:

Name: Debbie
Address: Las Vegas, NV
Cause of renal failure: Undiagnosed cystic disease
Time on dialysis: 23 years
Treatments used: In-center hemodialysis, home hemodialysis
Date: February 2000