Modality of (NOT) Choice

By Leesa Westfall

Modality of Choice Kidney Dialysis

I had been in chronic rejection with my transplant since 1995. My kidney lasted a long time in stage 4 and I am very thankful I made it to 2008 before having to go back on dialysis. I wasn’t too upset when it happened as I had spent most of the fall season battling pneumonia. My healthcare team had to eliminate one of my main immunosuppressants in order to fight the infection. My kidney, as they say, “fought the good fight” but losing that vital medication and being infused with five antibiotics at once was too much for it to keep going.

I had planned all along what was going to happen when this day arrived. The PD catheter was inserted and two weeks later, surgery was required again to re-position the catheter. Meanwhile, I started on hemodialysis because I couldn’t wait any longer on the PD to work. Hats off to my PD nurse, Sara, who patiently worked with me trying to get my abdomen and catheter to cooperate with each other. We spent another 5 weeks trying to get it to all work out. I had rearranged my bedroom, set up my table to accommodate the cycler, purchased a huge supply of paper towels, and we had bought a van so that we would be able to transport all the supplies that are needed for when we travel. The hours of education were fairly easy as I had experienced PD prior to my transplant in ’92.

The doctors determined there was just too much scar tissue from previous surgeries for PD to work properly for me. So it was a pretty devastating blow to finally have to accept that I could NOT do PD this time around.  I think my husband and I had a harder time dealing with this than we did with the actual kidney failure. We were looking forward to the freedom PD would have given me. Unfortunately, home hemo is not an option for me. On the bright side, the center is only 15 minutes from my home so that’s pretty good.

Soon after the social worker found out that I was not going to be a PD patient after all, she came out to do an interview. I found it interesting that ‘no treatment’ was actually given as an option. At first I was a little taken aback by her telling me this, but in retrospect she did me a big favor by sharing this option. It allowed me to see that I am choosing to do hemo. For the first time it hit me what my friend Lori Hartwell, President and Founder of RSN, means when she says, “We dialyze to live not live to dialyze.” As my option, I am choosing LIFE.

Modality of Choice Kidney Dialysis
Leesa Westfall





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