Dialysis and Football

brockingtonGreen Bay Packer’s Football Player Goes the Extra Yard to Live‏

The Renal Support Network has a new podcast that’s all about kidney issues.  I posted about it previously in “Dialysis and Kidney Talk

Today RSN has a great interview with a former football player,  John Brockington, who like many of us ended up in the ER needing help with his failing kidneys.   As RSN says:

“John Brockington was one of many men who ignored the warning signs of health issues until he ended up in Emergency. John played football at Ohio State and for the Green Bay Packers and was in top shape. He didn’t think his body could fail him. Diane Brockington stepped forward and was a match. Listen to their remarkable story, and how their journey led them to help others through the John Brockington Foundation.”  (Renal Support Network)

You can listen to the interview by CLICKING HERE.

Posted in Catheter, dialysis, ESRD, kidney, kidney donation, patient care, Transplant | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dialysis and “Doc Fix”

Billy BillFinally, after SEVENTEEN years, Congress has passed the “doc fix” bill to fill a hole they created in 1997.

Read about it here… 

From the DPC website, here’s the impact on dialysis patients based on the House version of the bill:

We are pleased to report that no cuts to dialysis funding are currently included in the bill. This time around, the House chose not to offset the entire cost. However, the bill would require wealthy seniors to pay more for their Medicare outpatient and prescription drug coverage, and restrict Medigap plans from being used to cover the Part B deductibles (currently $147). These changes will only apply to future Medicare beneficiaries and will not affect current dialysis patients enrolled in Medicare. To read more, CLICK HERE

Posted in CMS, dialysis, Dialysis Center, Dialysis Patient Citizens, DPC, ESRD, kidney, lobbying, Medicare, politics, Social Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dialysis and Rebirth

rebirthI recently made some profound changes in my life.  I didn’t mention anything previously because I didn’t want to jinx it.  But, now that I am a bit down the road, I’m comfortable to write about it.

Confession time.  I’ve not played it close to the chest in this blog.  Good or bad, I have written about it because I want people to know about the dialysis experience.  You should get a lot of information from your treatment center but my experience is that they want to get you hooked up to the machine, go about their business, and get you off the machine.  The only time you interact with a staff member, generally, is when they are busy sticking you or taking you off.  The nurse may come around and check your heart, lungs, access but, again, there’s not a lot of chatting.  So, when you have a question, I expect you don’t get an answer.  That’s why I began this blog.  I’ll talk about anything — diarrhea, depression, conflicts, “the Center from Hell, etc.  I don’t hold anything back.  But this topic cuts to the quick.  It’s painful to write about and here goes.

When I began dialysis back in August 2008, I was about 125 kilos (275 lbs) in dry weight.  I’d go in on a Monday at well over 133.  I was drinking entirely too much fluid and I didn’t know much about a kidney-friendly diet.  In my last year with CKD-4, I gained about 40 lbs because the only activity, aside from going to work behind a desk, was eating.  In the first year or so of dialysis, I gradually got to the point where I was going in a kilo more every other month.  In a year that was 6 kilos.  I was working and maintaining a home with two young men.  I didn’t have time for much more than eating.  So gradually I gained until my dry weight was 143.  That is almost 315 pounds!

The Eureka! moment was when I couldn’t put on my own shoes and could barely get dressed without help.  Then, when I couldn’t wipe my butt thoroughly because I couldn’t reach it, I decided to go into a weight reduction program.  Over the years, I had tried all the “drink this”diets and about all the popular diet methods like the South Beach, Atkins, etc but now that I had full-blown ESRD, I had to be careful with anything like that.  I decided on the bariatric method, specifically LapBand.  Actually, I wanted to do that back in 2007-2008 but my insurance at the time wouldn’t cover it.  I even considered paying for myself.  It was supposed to be $9500 but because of my kidney failure, it would be $15,000 as it had to be done in the hospital instead of the outpatient surgical center.  Even at the higher price, it would have been worth it but then I got laid off.  So, I figured I’d wait until Medicare kicked in as my primary insurance after the first 3 years.  That was 2011.  (It took a few years before I reached my breaking point and got the courage to begin.) Over the summer of 2014, I worked on the pre-op requirements.

On September 22, 2014, I got the LapBand installed.  It has been about 7 months and I am at 119.2 kilos (262).  That’s over 52 pounds later!  I am half-way to my initial goal of 100 lbs.  But it’s not the LapBand alone that’s changed my life.  It controls how much I can eat and that’s helpful.  (It takes me about 30 minutes to eat a sandwich!)  But, I also go to the fitness center three days a week and walk for one-half to three-quarters of a mile on the treadmill, do some circuit machine workouts, and ride a reclining bike for a mile or two.  That is short of my ultimate goal but it’s steps in the right direction.

Here’s how this applies to dialysis.  Because I’ve lost this weight, my access is easier to stick.  I don’t have that centimeter of fat over the top of my fistual and, as I reduce my weight, that will only get better.  The best part is: You know those people who come into dialysis skipping and hopping?  Then they go out the same way? Well, I’m becoming one of them.  I didn’t expect that but it’s happening gradually. I have considerably more energy when I get through with dialysis. I rest for a bit when I get home but it’s almost more out of habit than need.  I recover more quickly now and that’s a blessing.  Probably because I’m not carrying an extra 50 pounds!

It’s all a real challenge and I’ll write about “Dialysis and LapBand” next so perhaps you can be helped by my experience with that!

DevonTexas 2015

Posted in bones, calcium, constipation, cooking. cookbook, dialysis, Dialysis Center, diarrhea, diet, dietary restictions, ESRD, exercise, kidney, layoff, personal, phosphorus, potassium, recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dialysis and Chicken

ChickenI came across this posting at Davita.com about some simple 5 ingredient, kidney-friendly, chicken recipes. If you are like me, finding simple, creative meal ideas is a full-time job!

Take a look and let me know what you think in the comments. Feel free to post some of your chicken recipes, too.

Click HERE to access the site.


Posted in calcium, cooking. cookbook, Davita, dialysis, diet, dietary restictions, ESRD, New Patient, phosphorus, potassium, recipes | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dialysis and the 5-star @CMS Rating

DPC logoDialysis Patient Citizens recently reported on their efforts to respond to the CMS 5-star Rating System.  Under this system, the Mayo Clinic, for example, got a 1-star rating.  Obviously this is not a good measure of patient feelings or experience.  Rather, it is a very flawed system that uses measure which result in a prestigious provider getting a poor rating with other centers with poor service may get a high, or 5-star, rating.

I wrote about this a while back when CMS announced they were doing this 5-star rating system. And, in fact, I’ve written about this a couple times.  But here’s the latest news about this issue…

Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) has taken the lead in seeking improvements to the Dialysis Facility Compare star rating system. Under the current methodology, all dialysis clinics across the U.S. are ranked against one another, with stars assigned by dividing the facilities into five tiers. Under this system, the bottom 10 percent are given one star, and those in the next twenty percent (11th percentile to 30thpercentile) given two stars.

DPC objects to this methodology for several reasons…

Read more at Dialysis Patient Citizens…


DevonTexas © 2015

Posted in CMS, Dialysis Center, Dialysis Patient Citizens, DPC, ESRD, lobbying, Medicare, ratings | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dialysis Insomnia

GoodnewsHey all! Good News!  I posted an update to my previous article about “Dialysis and Insomnia”.  I want to get this message out to everyone because a large percentage of dialysis patients also have insomnia.  (If there are some researchers out there looking for a topic, this is a good one!).

I want to apologize for not being on my blog lately.  My friends with kidney disease certainly understand the predicament of coming home after dialysis and lack energy for much more than survival.  I added a workout at the fitness center to my “off” days and so I’ve been busy in a good way.  Also, I had my home PC monitor go out and it took me a while to find a replacement I could afford.   Anyway, it’s not a problem now and I hope to be back online more often with more topics.  In fact, my recent decision to get myself back in shape will probably be another topic soon.  I’d like to tell you about it.

Finally, I am heading to Washington, DC again this year!  Thanks to Dialysis Patient Citizens and I will be posting about it and tweeting (@DevonTexas) my trip.  Follow me on Twitter and add #WKD2015 to your hashtag search.  Many of us will be using that hashtag during World Kidney Day visits to Congress.

Posted in dialysis, Dialysis Patient Citizens, DPC, ESRD, exercise, kidney, lobbying, National Kidney Foundation. NKF | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dialysis and Bones

DPC Education CenterThere’s a very good presentation from the DPC Education Center with audio and slides that describes the relationship of kidney function, calcium, the thyroid gland, and bones.  I found it very help in my understand of bone density and kidney disease.

From the DPC Education Center website:

The DPC Education Center recently developed an online classroom on bone & mineral disease for dialysis patients. One topic the classroom focuses on is Vitamin D and its many benefits. Vitamin D balances calcium and phosphorus, regulates parathyroid hormone (PTH) production, helps build strong bones, and prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Receptors in the kidney turn Vitamin D into its active form, calciferol, but the kidneys of dialysis patients are unable to perform this function. This helps explain why almost all dialysis patients are Vitamin D-deficient.

You can view it by CLICKING HERE

Posted in bones, calcium, dialysis, Dialysis Patient Citizens, ESRD, kidney, patient care | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments