March is National Kidney Month

kidney dialysis26 million American adults have CKD chronic kidney disease and millions of others are at increased risk. Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
Are you at risk?Take the Kidney IQ test and see for yourself.  Also take a personal journey with Pei Lin as her Mom begins her own treatment for kidney failure.

As a tribute to the amazing nephrology staff at Crouse Hospital, Pei Lin will set aside a portion of any new listing or sales contract signed in the month of March to be donated to the National Kidney Foundation.

A Daughter’s Perspective:

The kidney is vital to your body’s health–in layman’s terms, it takes away excess fluids and toxins. That’s the simplified explanation.

As I sit here typing, it is January in Syracuse, and I’m watching my mother on her second day of dialysis. It’s been a several year journey to this point, but when decisions had to be made, they had to be made fast and immediately!

I am so very grateful for the preparation of her nephrologist, Dr. Matthew Chaffin of Nephrology Associates of Syracuse on Buckley Rd. He had us already thinking about the what-if’s and would-we-do-it in the event her situation became dire, which it did two days ago.

It was hard to believe that her kidney function was 12%–she was perky and alert, and felt great. But that very quickly changed–Mom’s breathing became more and more labored, she coughed incessantly, and was retaining fluids. It was especially telling when she gained over 15 pounds in a matter of a couple of weeks.

We immediately hospitalized Mom and she had surgery to insert a port at her collarbone so that she could start dialysis. I think the prospect of facing the unknown was more stressful than the actual procedures she has faced in the last two days.

Mom is a complete wimp when it comes to anything medical. Draw her blood and you would think her arm was being amputated. A slight exaggeration, I grant you, but not far from the truth. However, she reported that the surgery to insert the port was painless, easy, and she didn’t remember a thing. I know that for a fact–I was behind a glass wall in the Operating Room of Crouse Hospital

Our “homework” visiting the dialysis center and attending one-on-one orientation went a long way in helping us to make an informed decision. It was also helpful watching the “dialysis movies” in the hospital. I sat and translated as Mom got her dialysis in the Dialysis Unit of Crouse Hospital, run by Central New York Dialysis Center.  It helped Mom to see all these “normal” people on the screen going about their daily life–all of whom were on one form of dialysis or another.

Dr. Phillip Ondocin, also of Nephrology Associates of Syracuse, was the nephrologist on call, and has been very patient with our questions, and explained our options very clearly. (It was also comforting as he is a former client!) From the wonderful staff at the dialysis unit (thank you Mari and Michelle!) to cardiologist Dr. Charles Perla of Cardiovascular Group of Syracuse who, with Mom’s nephrologist, arranged a direct admit, we were competently directed every step of the way–sometimes it felt we were on a tidal wave that was propelling us forward.

I never knew that there were multiple options for dialysis–hemodialysis, or HD,  in a dialysis center or–yes–at home! For home care, there is also the option of peritoneal dialysis, or PD, and for this too there are two options. The treatment you choose is very personal and depends on your support and lifestyle.We were hoping to have home PD, but the doctors were doubtful as mom has had multiple surgeries and scar tissue would make home PD impossible.

However, her surgeon, Dr. Scott Surowiec of the Cardiovascular Group of Syracuse was willing to explore the possibility, despite his doubts–and he successfully put in a PD catheter. Time will tell if home treatments will be a viable option for her, but at least he did not summarily rule it out.

My advice to anyone going through something similar would be to ask plenty of questions, read and watch any educational materials available. Two good resources: National Kidney Foundation and Davita.

Yes, this is a life-changing illness, but one that can be managed to help you lead a normal, healthy life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *