- Treatment Type
- Peritoneal Dialysis
- Marital Status
- Not at Home
- Work Status
- Poor Vision
Tish has had kidney disease since she was 8 years old. In that time, she has tried in-center hemodialysis (HD), transplant, and two forms of peritoneal dialysis (PD).
After her 3rd transplant failed, Tish is using continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis (CCPD). "I feel real fortunate," says Tish, "years ago people didn't have this, but it works for me, and that's good."
Tish was born with one kidney, and it failed. She started in-center HD at age 15. "I didn't like it," notes Tish. "I'm thin and have small arms, and I always had problems with my access." She had a real fear of the needles, and, of course, had to closely watch her diet and fluids.
Because Tish did not like HD, she was glad at age 17 when she got a kidney from her mother. "My transplant lasted 3 years," reports Tish, "but, sadly, it rejected and I had to go back to hemo."
Not for long, though. Tish had her 2nd transplant—from a deceased donor—at age 20. "My second transplant gave me a lot of problems," recalls Tish. "It kept trying to reject and I ended up losing it after just a year. And then it had to be removed."
Back to dialysis
After her second transplant failed, Tish turned to PD for her treatments. She did her PD fluid exchanges by hand. (This is continuous ambulatory PD, or CAPD.) "I enjoyed CAPD," says Tish. "It was really perfect for me."
It took two tries to get Tish's PD catheter placed in the right spot. Once it was working, she had few problems with her treatments. "My blood levels were good and I didn't need to watch my diet," she says. "I did have to take supplements, since my potassium would get too low sometimes."
While she was on CAPD, Tish and her longtime sweetheart, "ran off to Las Vegas to get married." Tish also went to school and worked in the pharmacy at Loma Linda University.
A third transplant
Tish did CAPD until she got a 3rd transplant (deceased donor). And, for 14 years, that transplant worked well. Tish didn't even have to think about dialysis.
Then, her 3rd transplant failed. "I've grown up with kidney disease," says Tish. "It's been part of my life for so long, that I take most of the health things in stride, but that rejection was hard on me."
It was hard, in part, because Tish was also having other health problems. But, mostly, she was afraid she'd have to go back to HD. "I knew I might have some scar tissue from my past abdominal surgeries," she explained. "I thought my chances for PD might not be good."
Her surgeon did an abdominal ultrasound and decided to try to clean up the scar tissue. A few months later, Tish had a new PD catheter placed. "I was so thankful," claims Tish, "because I am so afraid of needles! I was only a little kid when I had my first needles and problems with my fistula. The thought of that again really scared me."
Back to PD
This time, Tish is doing CCPD—PD with a Baxter HomeChoice PRO™ cycler. She spent a few weeks retraining to refresh her memory and learn the machine. "It went fairly easy," she says, "because I already knew PD."
Tish follows her PD routine each night, starting at about 9pm. She hooks up and stays up for a few hours snacking and working on her laptop, reading, or watching TV. Her cycler runs 5 exchanges over 10 hours, and she unhooks at 7 am. Once a month, she goes into her clinic—about an hour's drive—for blood tests and a visit with her care team.
Tish found it hard to adjust to CCPD, at first. "I didn't like having to stop what I was doing at 9 pm to go and hook up," she complains. "I was off dialysis so long with my transplant, that I wasn't used to having to fit it into my day." In a few months, Tish got used to her new routine and doesn't mind the schedule. "I've adjusted like I've had to do with so many other things," says Tish, "it's become the norm."
Tish has also found ways to handle the PD supplies. "My father-in-law made a table for my bedroom. It holds my supplies and the machine," she says. She stores the bulk of the PD bags in the garage, and her husband, Larry, moves them up to the bedroom as needed.
"My doctors are pretty happy with how I'm doing on PD," reports Tish. "My lab values are good and I feel good." When Tish thinks about the "ups and downs" of in-center HD, she really values how stable she is on PD. "A lot of people don't even know that I have anything wrong," she adds proudly.
Tish and Larry have a special-needs daughter who goes to a residential school for the blind. So, Tish also likes the fact that she can travel with her PD cycler. "I fly to visit her once or twice a month," Tish relates. "I put my machine in a suitcase, load up my supplies and take it all with me." At first she was worried that her catheter might set off the security alarms, but now knows it won't. "There's no metal in it," she notes.
Tish's adjustment to CCPD had a few glitches along the way. She had some problems with draining during the first few nights at home and had to call for help. She also had to get used to the placement of her catheter. "Years ago, my PD catheter was lower (on my body)," she says. "My new one is above my belly button." She wears a tube top to hold the catheter in place and buys blouses with sashes or belts so people can't see it.
Even though CCPD is working well for Tish, she has put her name on the list to get a fourth transplant. She is not too hopeful, though. "My antibody levels are pretty high because I've had some transfusions over the years. It may be a long time before they find a match." In the meantime, Tish is grateful that PD is an option for her. "I have the freedom to sit and do my dialysis at home, where I'm comfortable," she exclaims. "If you have to do dialysis, this is the way to go!"