Hemodialysis is No Joke

I have posted before about dialysis and the challenges associated with it. I typically use peritoneal dialysis which, while time-consuming, can allow you to have something close to normalcy during the day.

But I had to temporarily start hemodialysis. This requires 3 daytime sessions a week of 4 hours at a time hooked up to a blood-cleaning machine. It doesn’t hurt but it is hard to describe what it feels like to be hooked to the machine. While you recognize that it is saving your life, your brain pretty much shuts off for the 4 hours. I thought I was going to work on my novel during that time – but – I haven’t been able to make that happen. You can tell when you look around the dialysis center – most patients are either sleeping or watching TV.  And, when I leave the dialysis center, I am exhausted.

It’s very tough.

But unlike many of the patients on dialysis, my time on hemodialysis is temporary. After a couple of weeks, I hope to be back on peritoneal dialysis. I appreciate the kind words and help from my readers. I hope the peritoneal dialysis is temporary too – a kidney donor could make that happen (hint, hint – part of my 2017 plan!)

While it is a big decision to donate a kidney, living donors can save lives. If you think it might be something that you are interested in, you can best help us by calling us at 770-310-2426 for info to do a 15-minute phone screening on being a living donor. You can also call the St. Luke’s Transplant Department directly to do the screening at 832-355-4100.  Just tell them your planned recipient is Dominique (Nikki) Brooks.  They will ask for my birth year, which is 1967.

Be Inspired — Give Life!

Dominique (Nikki) Brooks

 

 

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Out with the Old, Transplanting in the New in 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season and a pleasant start to 2017.  My husband and I had a nice, relaxing holiday season with the children and several friends here in the Houston area.

I am excited about 2017 because I want this to be a big year. It is already a big one because I turn 50 this year!

However, there are other big plans for 2017 as well.

I plan to finish my first novel.  I want to get my daughter back into dance classes and to continue to encourage my son to strive for good grades and track excellence. My husband will continue to grow his business, and we are planning to vacation in Hawaii in May.  And the biggest one – I hope to have a kidney transplant this year.

We appreciate everyone’s well-wishes and for those people who are calling in to be tested, we thank you!

While it is a big decision to donate a kidney, living donors can save lives. If you think it might be something that you are interested in, you can best help us by calling us at 770-310-2426 for info to do a 15-minute phone screening on being a living donor. You can also call the St. Luke’s Transplant Department directly to do the screening at 832-355-4100.  Just tell them your planned recipient is Dominique (Nikki) Brooks.  They will ask for my birth year, which is 1967.

Be Inspired — Give Life!

Dominique (Nikki) Brooks

Dialysis: The Struggle is Real

Dialysis.

It sounds simple enough given the importance it has in the lives of patients with kidney failure. But now that I have started dialysis, I see how it becomes an outsized part of your life. I have to connect to it every night and going to the bathroom at night has just become a lot more complicated. Dialysis makes it difficult to sleep because of the noise, and I hope my kids don’t need anything during the night when my husband is out of town.

The struggle is real.

I have Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) which is an inherited disorder. In PKD, clusters of cysts develop primarily within your kidneys. The cysts vary in size and, as they accumulate more fluid, they can grow very large and cause kidney failure.

For people with kidney failure, there are two types of dialysis – peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis.

Peritoneal dialysis  (shown at the right) cleans the blood as well but that’s done inside the body. A surgeon has to place a catheter into the abdomen for access. During this type of dialysis, a special type of fluid (dialysate) is placed in the abdomen through the catheter. While the fluid is in the abdomen, extra fluid, chemicals, and wastes are drawn out of the blood vessels into the dialysate fluid in the abdomen. The abdominal fluid is then removed and thrown away. This process is done several times a day or night and can be done by the patient at home.

Hemodialysis (shown at left) uses an artificial kidney – in the form of a machine – to clean the blood removing wastes, extra chemicals, and fluids. This method requires the placement of an access into the blood vessels – typically on the arm or leg. Hemodialysis typically lasts 4 hours each time and happens 3-4 times a week.

I am currently doing peritoneal dialysis. With my medical background, understanding the process was not difficult. But the actual performance of the procedure every day is harder than I anticipated. There are risks of infections and I am still tired on a daily basis. However, your comments and well-wishes give me strength!

Now that I have started dialysis, we are looking for a living kidney donor harder than ever. While it is a big decision to donate a kidney, living donors can save lives. If you think it might be something that you are interested in, you can best help us by calling us at 770-310-2426 for info to do a 15-minute phone screening on being a living donor. You can also call the St. Luke’s Transplant Department directly to do the screening at 832-355-4100.  Just tell them your planned recipient is Dominique (Nikki) Brooks.

Be Inspired — Give Life!

Dominique (Nikki) Brooks