Northwest Kidney Centers - Spotlight Archive
Keep doing what you love: tennis, anyone?
When the weather around Puget Sound is decent, there’s a good chance you’ll find Jose Salas playing tennis. When the weather is bad, he’s probably on an indoor court. He’s always on the lookout for the next game.
Tennis has been Jose’s sport for many years; it’s one of activities he loves most in life. In addition to being an employee of the Boeing Company for nearly four decades, he coordinated leagues at the Boeing Employees Tennis Club. He routinely played for 2 hours at a time.
Toward the end of his working career, following years of high blood pressure, Jose’s kidneys failed and he began peritoneal dialysis. Shocked at his diagnosis, he pulled back from many activities, including competitive tennis.
When he started dialysis, he cramped a lot and would get easily fatigued. He tried to play tennis, but just 15 or 20 minutes exhausted him.
His care team at Northwest Kidney Centers in Seattle encouraged him not to give up. Though frustrated, he continued to play. Over the next year and a half, he steadily increased his stamina so he could once again play for 2 hours at a time.
“Once you get past the fatigue, then you can get back to enjoying the activities that you love,” he says.
Jose stresses persistence and belief in oneself, along with paying attention to doctors’ advice. “Make sure your doctor says it’s OK and make sure you know your limitations,” he says.
Today tennis and yard work at home help Jose stay fit and ready for a kidney transplant. He qualified for the waitlist soon after being diagnosed.
Staying fit will also improve his chances of success post-transplant. People with kidney transplants often live longer, have better health and a better quality of life than people on dialysis.
Jose credits his care team and his wife, Kathleen, for the encouragement that keep him going. “Without a support group, you are a lone ranger,” he says.
Jose and Kathleen have traveled to Oakland to see their son since he started dialysis, but it’s been longer since he visited his native Panama. Until he reaches that goal, Jose is ready for a game of singles or doubles.