About Niki

Treatment Type
Peritoneal Dialysis
Marital Status
Not at Home
Work Status
Poor Vision

Niki, 34, is a full-time student in Vanderbilt University's nursing practitioner program. Her schedule of classes, exams, and internships is busy and ever changing. "I have a new schedule each week," she said. Niki does it all—and still gets the dialysis she needs. How? She chose continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD).

Switching from in-center dialysis

Niki started dialysis in 2005, not long after she learned that she had lupus. The lupus made her so sick that she was put on life support and her kidneys failed. She got her first dialysis in the ICU.

When she went home, Niki did hemodialysis (HD) three times a week at a clinic. "One of the nurses told me about PD," Niki reported. "She said she thought I might like the freedom." Niki agreed and began her training at the Fresenius Medical Care Vanderbilt home dialysis program.

"I didn't like hemo," Niki recalls. "I was tired all the time, and didn't feel well. Now, I don't feel any different than I did before my lupus. I have a lot of energy and can do what I want. There is no comparison."

Lots of flexibility

Being able to flex her routine to fit her changing schedule is one reasons Niki likes PD. "I do PD 7–9 hours a night, five or six times a week," she explained. "I have a goal of the total number of hours I need each week. Then I adjust it to fit my schedule." Niki uses a cycler to do PD exchanges while she sleeps at night. "I can change the number of exchanges and the length of the dwell times to get the treatment I need," she added.

Niki also enjoys a flexible diet. "My doctor is very good about working with me," she adds. "As long as my lab values are good, I can make my own choices about what I do, what I eat, and how much I drink. I have control over my own health with PD."

Thorough training

Niki learned to run her cycler and adjust the settings during her two-week training. She brought her dad to train with her (a partner was required by her center), but "he's never had to do a treatment," Niki noted.

She was "a little nervous" about doing home treatments at first, but Niki says it is "second nature" now. She does all her own cycler set-up, treatments, and supply management herself. "I live on my own," she explained; "my cycler is in my bedroom and my supplies are in the extra bedroom. It works out great."