Life as a Dialysis Patient

I have had a rough couple of weeks with my health. I have been getting fluid around my lungs and this makes it hard to breathe. This makes it very difficult to do anything, a couple of steps tire me out and any kind of exercise tires me out which annoys me greatly. I know I need to exercise to stay strong and when I don’t get to, I feel very weak.

The reason I have fluid around my lungs is because of my dialysis. Sometimes the fluid gets absorbed throughout my body and it seems to form around my lungs. The only way to get this fluid out is by doing more dialysis. Yay! More dialysis talk about fun...

There is a lot of work that goes along with dialysis, such as trying to drink enough fluid or cut back on fluids. I have to say, I hardly drink anything and I still have trouble with fluid building up, which is very annoying, as you can imagine. Another thing is changing your diet around. You always have to make sure your numbers are at certain levels to keep your body healthy. To do that you have to take your medications, follow your diets, and follow your dialysis regimen. Here is a list of labs that are normally taken every month.

: A normal level of Albumin is 3.5 or greater. Peritoneal dialysis increases your protein needs. Eating plenty of protein helps with healing, building muscle, and it keeps you strong. If you have peritonitis, an infection in your peritoneum, your body needs even more protein than normal. You can increase albumin by eating more beef, chicken, turkey, fish, fresh pork, lamb, veal, egg or egg substitute. Take a protein supplement if recommended by dietitian.

Calcium: A normal level is 8.4 to 9.4. If too high try to avoid Tums, Rolaids, or other calcium pills unless prescribed. This is important for healthy bones and heart.

Cholesterol: A normal level is 100 to 200. Is a waxy, fatty substance found in tissues throughout the body. Certain types of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream can accumulate in blood vessels, and eventually cause clots if not maintained. If you take medication to lower cholesterol, you can help keep your level normal by eating foods low in cholesterol and fat.

Ferritin: A normal level is 200 to 500. Ferritin is an iron-carrying protein which is a more accurate monitor of long term body iron status than the Blood iron level, which varies with diet.

Hemoglobin: A normal level is 11 or higher. A protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs. If it is too low you may feel tired. It is important to take your Renal Vitamin everyday.

Hemoglobin A1C: A normal level is less than 7.0. Hemoglobin A1C measures blood sugar over a period of 2 or 3 months.

Iron saturation: A normal level is 20 to 50%. Iron is needed to build red blood cells and to prevent anemia.

Potassium: A normal level is 3.5 to 5.5. Normal potassium keeps your heart and nerves working well. Eating fruits and vegetables and taking a potassium supplement (if prescribed) helps keep your potassium normal.

Phosphorus: A normal number is 3.5 to 5.5. Most of the phosphorus in the body is found in the skeletal system, it helps keep your bones strong.

PTH Intact: A normal number is 150 to 300. PTH is your parathyroid hormone which acts as the most important endocrine regulator that controls calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood.

CA x PHOS: A normal number is less than 55. Calcium x Phosphorus = Product. To have a good product, follow a low phosphorus diet and taking your binders when you eat. Normal product is important for healthy bones and heart.

Triglycerides: A normal level is below 200. Triglycerides are fats normally found in your blood. Extra levels may be harmful to your heart. You can lower your levels by including fish high in omega-3 fatty acid; using olive or canola oil instead of butter or lard; avoiding alcohol and foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and cholesterol. If you have diabetes, try to keep your blood sugar normal. Weight loss if you are overweight and exercise help lower triglycerides.

KT/V: A normal level is 1.7 or higher. Your KT/V is the adequacy of dialysis. It is the measurement of how well your blood is being cleaned. A good number means your blood is being cleaned well. KT/V is affected by your dialysis treatment, such as number and size of bags, dwell time, transportation gradient, and how well you follow your treatment regimen. The benefits of adequate dialysis include feeling better, eating better, fewer hospitalizations, and living longer.

These are just a few of the things that we have to do as dialysis patients. Having kidneys made life a lot easier! :)


LaTease "Teasas Tips" said...

Hi Thomas. Thank you for sharing. I read thru your entire post. My son was an insulin dependent diabetic his entire life, his last 2 years of life was on dialysis. I am all too familiar with those terms. The changing of diets frequently just so we could aid in balancing out too much potassium or extra fluids. It was a life changing experience for him and me.

Lori said...

Wow Thomas! What we go through! God's grace is truly sufficient. We don't get the grace until we need it.
But it's still a pain!!!

I tell people that my body's not doing that great, but my spirit is soaring! And Thomas, I know your spirit is soaring!

This earthly tent isn't made to last forever. May God pour abundant blessings on you! Luv ya!

ThomasCSlater said...

Hi Latease, thank you for coming by and leaving a comment!

Yes I know all about having to give myself insulin, being a diabetic myself for a few years.

I do believe these life changing experiences help make us better and more compassionate people.

I'm sorry about your son, losing a loved one is not easy for anyone. I am truly sorry for your loss.

ThomasCSlater said...

Hi Lori, thanks for stopping by I always enjoy your company. :)

Yeah it's funny that you wrote that, when doctors or nurses ask me how I am doing, I usually say I'm "Doing great!" or "Doing good!" and later on my mother who is usually with me, says "you aren't doing great, why don't you tell them the truth?" and I'm like, "well my spirits are high, that's all that matters to me."

Lori said...

Hey Thomas, stop over at my blog. I passed a much deserved award on to you:)

Sherri Watt said...

I am humbled as I read your words and what you struggle with each day. I do not have physical issues like this to deal with and you have shown me that I take that for granted. I am encouraged by the fact that even in your daily struggles, God can make your spirit soar! It is not about the here and now but about the beyond. God Bless and you will be in my prayers.

ThomasCSlater said...

Sheri thank you for stopping by and thanks for your kind comments. Being in your thoughts and prayers will be appreciated greatly.

God bless and peace be with you!