Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Journey to Dialysis

   In the winter of 2009, I began to have agonizing leg cramps in the evenings.  I thought it was caused by the high heeled shoes I wore to work.  I was working as Executive Assistant for a bank and the lady executive I was assisting insisted that I wear suits daily except on casual Fridays.  Suits don’t match with flats.  Other than the cramps, I felt great.

   In April of the same year, I got excruciating stomach pain.  I thought it was cancer.  I went to a doctor to confirm.  It was my first time to get sick in America so the doctor I went to, Dr. Russell T. May, was a perfect stranger.  He prescribed antibiotics.  I was back to work in a week.

   Then, I received a letter from Dr. May.  The letter was hand written.  That means the content was so confidential that he didn’t have his assistant type it.  It says, he’s referring me to a kidney specialist.  He wrote, “We do not know the cause”, underlined for emphasis because I didn't have any other medical condition that could lead to CKD.  An appointment has already been set for me to see Dr. Nizar M. Attallah.  

   The diagnosis form dated May 7, 2009, says “Stage V” Chronic Kidney Disease.  I was already at Stage V!!!  What happened to Stage I – IV?  That means, as a Filipino saying goes, “I had one foot in my grave.”  If Dr. May had not sent me to Dr. Attallah I would have died in probably less than a year.  I owe my life to those doctors and to my God Jehovah, who made sure I live to continue my journey of a hundred lives.

   I was referred by Dr. Attallah to dialysis education.  I was placed in a room to watch a video presentation of different kinds of dialysis so I can make an informed decision which one would suit my lifestyle.  I, right up, rejected peritoneal dialysis or any kind of home dialysis.  

   What followed was a series of medical procedures.  My vascular surgeon, Dr. Lambert, first installed a fistula on my upper arm.  The scar went all the way down to my elbow.  That fistula was abandoned.  The vein refused to grow wide enough for dialysis. He installed a graft.  On August 26, 2010, fifteen months from the time I was diagnosed, I started hemodialysis at the University of Louisville Kidney Disease Program, Louisville, Kentucky.  I am now with DaVita, in California.

See also:
Blog’s 4th Anniversary 
Paperback Writer - REBEL 
Paperback Writer

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