Outset Medical

Meet U.S. Army Vet and Wheelchair Athlete Sebastian

Meet U.S. Army Vet and Wheelchair Athlete Sebastian

Paralyzed since the 1970s, Sebastian has not let his disability or kidney failure slow him down. The Hall of Fame athlete and his wife and care partner Liz enjoy active lives, while managing Sebastian’s home dialysis with Tablo.

For patients with kidney disease and their families managing their own home hemodialysis, feeling burdened and burnt out may seem inevitable. Sebastian and his wife Liz say that with a positive mindset, staying balanced with activities that they love, and easy-to-use dialysis technology, this doesn’t have to be the case. How do they make it work?

Sebastian and Liz, married for nearly 30 years, live in the California Bay Area. Sebastian, a championship table tennis and rugby player and coach, has had a challenging health journey. This includes a liver transplant 16 years ago, and a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in 2021. Since February 2022, the couple has managed his dialysis at home with the Tablo® Hemodialysis System, while maintaining active and fulfilling lives.

What makes their story especially inspiring is that Sebastian is quadriplegic, due to an accident while he was serving in the U.S. Army as an elite Special Forces soldier 45 years ago. With Liz and their family by his side, his positive attitude, outlook and drive to help others have helped them succeed on home dialysis.

“I've heard paralyzed people say, ‘it’s going to be so hard to accomplish things now because I can’t walk anymore.’ That has nothing to do with it,” says Sebastian. “My philosophy is, move on with life and enjoy it. It’s all mental. Life is about what you can offer,” he says. “Their life could be wonderful if they make it wonderful. Don’t ever give up.”

Independence and Balance - At Home

In November 2021, Sebastian’s nephrologist said that Sebastian would soon need dialysis, and based on his desire to remain independent, he recommended home dialysis with Tablo. “He told us that we are perfect candidates. The machine is easy to use and user-friendly in comparison to other technology,” says Liz.

After a brief training period and a Tablo console being set up in their home, Liz started managing all aspects of Sebastian’s treatment. “Tablo gives us our day,” she says. “Sebastian rests or watches TV while I set up his two-hour dialysis [prescriptions vary by patient; see disclaimer]. I just do my thing with the step-by-step instructions on the touchscreen. Tablo doesn’t let you forget a step.”

Prior to starting on Tablo at home, Sebastian hadn’t felt well enough to play his beloved table tennis in a long time, but now he enjoys playing again. “I have three beautiful daughters, a beautiful wife, a really nice life, and that’s what’s important to me,” he says.

Advice from a Care Partner

“Yes, I was terrified to do Sebastian’s dialysis at first,” says Liz. “Give yourself a bit of time, you can do this. You do the same routine each time,” she continues. “It’s also convenient.  Dialyzing at home on Tablo allows you to schedule treatments around your schedule, not on the dialysis center’s schedule. Our lives are better now than before we started doing dialysis at home.”

As a full-time caregiver, Liz says that the key to staying balanced includes being active, which for her includes swimming, bike riding, Pilates, tai chi and choir singing.


Learn more about Sebastian and Liz in this February 7, 2023 HDC webinar, The Importance of Care Partners, sponsored by Outset Medical:

(NOTE: Image at the top of this page shows Liz and Sebastian with their dog Pebbles in Santa Cruz, CA. This story is excerpted from Outset Medical DOC 1613-v1 (v1.0))

Tablo Hemodialysis System Disclaimer: Results may vary. Keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information. It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of this product with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment. Read more at www.outsetmedical.com.

This article was posted on March 31st, 2023