Before his transplant, George was able to do Home Hemodialysis (HHD) and enjoy a full, active life with help from his wife, Carol.
Take control and start living your life
After being diagnosed with kidney disease, it's normal to feel anxious and uncertain about what you'll still be able to do and how your day-to-day life will be affected. One thing is certain. Kidney disease may change your life, but it doesn't have to control the way you live. With home therapies you can face the rest of your life with optimism and an attitude of empowerment knowing that a full and rich life is still possible. To take control of your life, follow the four steps listed below.
1. Be engaged in your care
It's important that you stay engaged in your care. Ask questions. Check out online message boards and user groups. Ask your doctor and nurses how to make contact with other patients. Take part in decisions related to your dialysis treatment. Follow your kidney-friendly diet
and medication guidelines. Keep in close contact with your health care team. It's important to get involved in decisions about when, where and how you will be dialyzing. Studies show that the more involved patients are in the treatment selection, the better their outcomes.1
2. Be honest with yourself and others about your abilities and needs
There are some things you've done easily in the past that may now be a bit more challenging. Know what you can comfortably do on your own and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Remember that if you're honest with yourself and others, you can get the help you need, when you need it. And you can focus less of your energy on your disease and more of it on living your life.
3. Be optimistic
It's easy to lose sight of what's really important when you're weighed down by overwhelming thoughts about your kidney disease. Try to stay upbeat about your situation and focus on taking care of yourself. Once your dialysis treatments start, you will begin to get relief from some of the symptoms, and you'll find it easier to look past your disease and start enjoying the rest of your life. For examples of how other patients stay upbeat and positive, watch any of the videos featured on this website.
4. Help your family understand your needs
Once you've started dialysis, other family members may need to take on new roles. Your work schedule might change and another family member may have to help you make ends meet. It might be difficult for you to accept their help. You might feel guilty or even feel like you're losing some of who you are. It's important to remember that the changes you are going through are out of your control. Your family needs to know that, too. Since it's not “their” disease, sometimes it can be hard for them to understand what you're going through. They might not know what you can and can't do. They might not understand your dietary needs. All they need is a little help from you. If you need help explaining it, your nurse, social worker, dietitian, doctor and other patients in the clinic have access to tools and resources and can meet with your family. Once they realize how your disease works, your family will be able to help you get back in control of your life. They'll be able to help you live life to its fullest.