- Types of home dialysis
- Daily HHD
- Nocturnal HHD
- Standard HHD
- News & events
- Message boards
- For professionals
- About us
...everything you need to know about doing dialysis at home.
At 41 years of age, Tish has been living with kidney disease for 33 years. During that time, she has tried almost every form of renal replacement therapy, including in-center hemodialysis, transplantation, and two forms of peritoneal dialysis.
Right now, after the failure of her 3rd transplant, Tish is using continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). “I feel real fortunate,” says Tish, “years ago people didn’t have this (CCPD), but it works for me, and that’s good.”
Tish was born with one kidney, and just 8 years old when it began to fail. She started in-center hemodialysis at age 15. “I didn’t like it,” remembers Tish. “I’m thin and I have small arms, and I always had problems with my access.” She had a real fear of the needles, and, of course, had to closely watch her diet and fluids.
Because Tish did not like hemodialysis, she was glad at age 17 when she got a kidney transplant from her mother. “My transplant lasted 3 years,” reports Tish, “but unfortunately it rejected and I had to go back to hemodialysis.”
Not for long, however. Tish received her 2nd transplant—this time from a deceased donor—at the age of 20. “My second transplant gave me a lot of problems,” remembers Tish, “it kept trying to reject and I ended up losing it after just a year. And then it had to be removed.”
After the failure of her second transplant, Tish turned to continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) for her treatments. “I enjoyed CAPD,” says Tish. “It was really perfect for me.”
It took two tries to get Tish’s PD catheter placed correctly, but once her second catheter was working, she had few problems with her treatments. “My blood levels were good and I didn’t need to watch my diet,” she says. “Although, I did have to take supplements because my potassium would get too low sometimes.”
During the time she was on CAPD, Tish and her longtime sweetheart “ran off to Las Vegas to get married.” She also went to school and worked in the pharmacy at Loma Linda University.
Tish continued on CAPD until she got her 3rd transplant (deceased donor) in 1991. And, for 14 years, that transplant worked well. Tish didn’t even have to think about dialysis.
Then, in February 2005, her 3rd transplant failed. “I’ve grown up with kidney disease,” explains Tish, “and it’s been part of my life for so long, that I take most of the medical things in stride, but this last rejection was hard on me.”
It was hard, in part, because Tish was also having other medical problems. But, mostly, it was hard because she was afraid she’d have to go back to hemodialysis. “I knew that I probably had some scar tissue from my past abdominal surgeries,” she explained, “and I thought my chances for PD might not be good.”
Her surgeon did an abdominal ultrasound and decided to try to “clean up the scar tissue.” A few months after the successful surgery, Tish had a new PD catheter placed. “I was so thankful for that,” claims Tish, “because I am so afraid of needles. I was only a little kid when I had my first needles and problems with my fistula, so the thought of that again really scared me.”
This time around, Tish is doing CCPD—peritoneal dialysis with a Baxter HomeChoice PRO™ cycler. She spent a few weeks re-training to refresh her memory and to learn the machine. “It went fairly easy,” she says, “because I was already familiar with PD.”
Now, Tish follows her dialysis routine 7 nights a week. She hooks up for her nighttime exchanges about 9 pm and stays up for a few hours, snacking and working on her laptop computer, reading, or watching TV. Her cycler runs 5 exchanges over 10 hours, and she is ready to disconnect at 7 am. Once a month, she goes into her dialysis center—about a one-hour drive—for blood tests and a visit with her nephrologists.
When she started her CCPD routine, Tish found it hard to adjust. “I didn’t like having to stop whatever I was doing at 9 pm to go and hook up,” she complains. “I was off of dialysis so long with my transplant, that I wasn’t used to having to schedule treatments as part of my day.” Four months later, Tish has grown accustomed to her new routine and doesn’t mind the schedule. “I’ve adjusted like I’ve had to do with so many other things,” says Tish, “it’s become the norm.”
Tish has also found ways to handle the PD supplies. “My father-in-law made a table for my bedroom that holds my supplies and the machine,” she says. She stores the bulk of the dialysis solution bags in the garage, and her husband, Larry, moves them up to the bedroom as needed.
“My doctors are pretty happy with how I’m doing on PD,” reports Tish. “My lab values are good and I feel good.” When Tish remembers the “ups and downs” of in-center hemo, she really appreciates the stability she has with PD. “A lot of people don’t even realize I have anything wrong,” she adds proudly.
Because Tish and Larry have a special-needs daughter who attends a residential school for the blind, Tish also likes the fact that she can travel with her PD cycler. “I fly to visit her once or twice a month,” Tish explains, “and I put my machine in a suitcase, load up my supplies and take it all with me.” At first she was worried that her catheter might set off the security alarms, but now knows it won’t. “There’s no metal in it,” she notes.
Tish’s adjustment to CCPD was not without a few glitches along the way. She had some problems with draining the first few nights at home and had to call to get some advice on what to do. She also had to get accustomed to the placement of her catheter. “Years ago, my PD catheter was lower (on my body),” she says, “and my new one is above my belly button.” She wears a tube top to hold the catheter in place and buys blouses with little sashes or belts so that people can’t see it.
Even though CCPD is working well for Tish, she has put her name on the list to get another transplant. She is not too hopeful, however. “My antibody levels are pretty high because I’ve had some transfusions over the years, and it will probably be a long time before they find a match. In the meantime, Tish is grateful that PD is an option for her. “I have the freedom to sit and do my dialysis at home, where I’m comfortable,” she explains. “If you have to do dialysis, this is the way to go!”
Home Dialysis Central is made possible through the generous annual contributions of our Corporate Sponsors. Learn more about becoming a Corporate Sponsor.