Ken Hamilton is 50-years-old, married, and a business owner in Hot Springs, AR. He has been on dialysis for over 5 years now and is currently getting on the transplant program.
I was diagnosed with kidney disease five years ago. I have been on dialysis for a good five years, maybe a little longer. It is very challenging when a patient hears the diagnosis “end-stage kidney disease.” A lot of constants in your lifestyle will be altered in order for you and your body to be able to live longer and lead a semi-regular life, a life as close as possible to the life you had before the diagnosis.
The main everyday challenge with end-stage kidney disease is the amount of fluids that you can put in your body. Life was so much easier when I was able to drink a cup of tea, a cold glass of lemonade on a summer day, or cocktails with friends after work. I remember the enormous amount of water I used to drink while working outside on hot summer days.
I am very observant of the people and conditions around me. I see a lot of patients coming to dialysis with 2 or 3 kilograms of fluid over their dry weight, while I would have gained 5 or 6 kilograms at a time. It is a constant battle trying to control the amount of fluid a person puts into one’s body in between treatments. Patients decide how to control their fluid intake, and each patient is different. Some patients measure their intake daily and control it that way. Myself, I have found that impossible to do as I am always on the go and I work even on dialysis treatment days. What I do instead is weigh myself daily to keep track of the weight gain. I find it is important to know if my scale at home differs from the one at the dialysis center, and to notice if there are sock marks on my legs indicating that I have a lot of fluid gains.
The better you are at disciplining the amount of fluid gain in between your treatments, the easier your treatment will be on your body. The best way to help yourself, the doctors, and the nurses, is to take responsibility of your fluid gains, and to be aware of your condition. Living with kidney disease is and will always be a very difficult and challenging part of one’s life, but with knowledge and discipline, one can make it much more tolerable and can come out with good outcomes in the end.
– Guest Post written by Ken Hamilton
As with all content on the AJKD Blog, the opinions expressed are those of the author of each post, and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the AJKD Blog, AJKD, the National Kidney Foundation, Elsevier, or any other entity unless explicitly stated.
Competitors for the Volume Assessment Region