The Need for More Awareness

By Kendra Deike, DPC Patient Ambassador
July 14, 2014

As a dialysis patient of 26 years it is hard for me to imagine that the public in general doesn't know what dialysis is and that is not what bothers me.  In my opinion what bothers me is that people are not concerned enough about others to ask about it.  As a society we are so caught up on our own life that we take for granted how good we have it.  I am not writing this to get sympathy because I am the last person who wants that.  I writing to bring awareness to the kidney community and get the word out that people on dialysis are real people and this is a real issue that needs to be addressed. 

There are 400,000 (DPC, 2014) dialysis patients across the country.  Hemodialysis is a process that takes 3-4 hours every other day.  It takes the place of the human kidneys when they are not functioning properly.  Although dialysis maybe the only option for some patients it does not take place of the kidney as it is only working for 3-4 hours as opposed to the kidneys which function 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Dialysis is not a cure for kidney disease and the best option is to get a kidney transplant but that is not always an option due to other health issues, shortage of organs, or rejection of the kidney.  You are never truly cured of kidney disease and if you don't get a transplant, dialysis is the only option to keep you alive.  You can't miss a treatment as it could be costly to your health, as the toxins/fluid will build up in your body, causing major health issues.  Dialysis can make you very tired and lack of energy.  People need to be aware of what dialysis patients go through and be understanding and considerate of the struggles of patients. 

I believe one a huge issue of dialysis patients is the lack of time to work and feel like working.  It is hard as a dialysis to work when you have limited hours to work at certain careers as well as not feeling well enough to work.  I have always wanted to work and tried to keep working but is a difficult task.  I believe some employers don't want to work with you and find ways around hiring, but I have also worked where my employer has been very good about my situation.  We just need to get the word out that dialysis does not define us.  It is a part of our life not our whole life and we can still be very productive.  I have learned that I need to keep setting goals and never give up on success.  We can achieve anything we set out to do.  

Kendra maintains her own blog which you can find here to read more.

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