Northwest Kidney Centers - Spotlight Archive
Man on the move: Tracy lives a full life with dialysis on the go
Tracy Berry is constantly traveling: as a district manager for the video game retailer GameStop, he travels often to conduct inventory at the 12 locations he manages, or to visit corporate offices in Dallas and Las Vegas. And as a father of active teens, he travels often with the family for his children’s soccer tournaments and wrestling matches.
You would never guess it from his active, busy lifestyle, but Tracy’s kidneys failed more than a decade ago, and he fits in regular dialysis treatments at home, and on the go, in order to stay alive.
When diabetes took his kidneys, Tracy quickly realized the only treatment option for him was home dialysis. “I had young kids, and with my work schedule and that of my wife, there was no way I could sit for hours in a center for dialysis. I also wanted to have control over my treatments.
“I do extended dialysis overnight, which for me, is absolutely critical to getting enough dialysis so I can feel better. Plus, I can do extended runs during the day if necessary, or if my work schedule changes.”
Tracy relishes feeling much healthier on home hemodialysis, and enjoys the flexibility it gives him, including the ability to work a demanding job and spend time with his family. They love taking their RV camper to the Pacific coast of Washington, and on a recent vacation they traveled to Canada for the Women’s World Cup.
“When I first started out, I absolutely dreaded traveling. I had terrible experiences with airlines not accepting my equipment, not taking boxes, etc. But after a while, I learned the routine: who to connect with at the airport, the right people to talk to if something happens. Now I have no trepidation about traveling. I know what to do, and ordering the supplies is very simple; I either call my home nurse or NxStage directly.
“I feel pretty fortunate. The constant communication with my home team at Northwest Kidney Centers is the biggest support. They’re like family: they help me figure out what I need and when I need it. Sometimes when I travel, they call up to check on me. And it’s a comfort to know I can call them if something happens.”
Tracy’s dialysis provider, Northwest Kidney Centers, is a longstanding promoter of home dialysis therapy, given that patients often feel better and live longer if they are able to do self-dialysis. About 18 percent of Northwest Kidney Centers patients choose home dialysis, roughly twice the national average. To make home dialysis support more convenient, Northwest Kidney Centers recently decentralized some services formerly offered only in Seattle. Now home dialysis patients can get training and support in clinics closer to their homes throughout the Puget Sound region. To learn more, visit www.nwkidney.org.