A KidneyBuzz.com viewer sent an email and said, "I HATE Dialysis." Many Chronic Kidney Disease patients who have to conduct regular Dialysis Treatments share similar sentiments (feelings) as the previously-stated individual. Hooking up for treatments nightly or heading into their thrice-weekly (three times a week) In-Center Dialysis Sessions can be near torture for patients. Yet, if you scratch the surface of that broad statement, you will find that Dialysis patients do not "Hate Dialysis" at all. Most are grateful to have access to the treatment to remain alive and be here for their family, friends, and others. Instead, patients hate how Dialysis makes them feel - how treatments greatly limit their lives, and how sometimes they feel alone. However, the following tips may help make Dialysis more bearable for patients while offering loved ones insights about how they can be of further support.
Whether you're new to Dialysis or a multi-year veteran, chances are that you are dealing with complications - hair loss, nausea, skin issues, stomach troubles, pain, weakness, cramping, and more. Since we don't know the details of your specific Dialysis Treatment such as Peritoneal or Hemodialysis, duration, and frequency, etc. the following tips will relate to all Dialysis patients, by necessity:
1. You should actually see yourself as strong and heroic and not weak: Imagine yourself as a warrior, or a superhero. Picture yourself as victorious, not a victim. Many people look at Chronic Kidney Disease patients and admire their strength under difficult conditions. Even though you may not feel very good some days, do not fall victim to thinking of yourself as a weak person. Just the fact that you conduct Dialysis, proves that you are stronger than most.
2. Forget about the "Stats": Some people become junkies to the statistics — i.e., Dialysis patients live for 5 to 10 years on average. Many patients become paralyzed with such information and very depressed. This can cause Dialysis Treatments to be even more challenging and directly impact a patient's quality of life and survival. You should know that the Founder of KidneyBuzz.com has been on Dialysis for over 17 years and some patients have lived 30 years on Dialysis. For patients that want a Kidney Transplant, they should know that living kidney donation is on the rise. Hence, share your need with as many people as possible.
3. Say yes and no: Don’t be afraid to say “yes” when someone offers to do something nice for you (cook a meal, drop off a few groceries or drive you to a treatment). You’ll be surprised at how good these small acts of kindness feel — for them and for you. Similarly, do not be afraid to say “no” when you’re tired or when you simply don’t feel like doing something. You only have a limited amount of energy and you have to pick and choose what you do. People who truly care about you will understand.
4. Try to surround yourself with love: Many Dialysis patients underestimate how important it is to have a quality support network. Assemble yours with people who care about you and will stand by you no matter what. What's more, do not have flaky or negative people around you. They will just wear you down emotionally and physically. Your network does not have to be large, just truly caring.
5. Take it easy on yourself: You might forget a birthday or an appointment. You might not have the energy to make your child's dance recital. You might not have the appetite to eat the special meal your spouse/partner prepared for your anniversary. Accept it. Let it go. They’ll survive and you will as well. Be as forgiving of yourself as you would be to someone else in a similar position.
6. Keep looking forward, not back!: Try not to waste your time thinking about how things "used to be." Celebrate how many Dialysis Treatments you have already done instead of how many you have left to go. Look forward to a brighter future, not backward.
Loved ones can also be a huge support and help Dialysis patients through this tough time in their lives. First, loved ones should understand that they do NOT fully understand what a patient is going through. The best you can do as a loved one, is be empathetic and kind. You can make a Dialysis patient feel better by providing a helping hand and emotional support. For instance, schedule to drive them to and from Dialysis Treatments on days that you are available, talk to them without being pushy, set up a visiting schedule if the patient is without family at home, offer to cook for a loved one on Dialysis days, offer to help clean their house, and do the shopping for your loved one when you can?
Those with Chronic Kidney Disease usually do not like advice from family and friends looking up cures and alternative treatments on the internet. Dialysis patients need their friends to be friends and don't need the extra burden of sifting through reams of printouts and emails about treatments and supplements.
If you are a Chronic Kidney Disease patient, be sure to share this article with your loved ones so that they can better understand how to best offer productive support. Similarly, if you are a loved one of a Dialysis patient, then pass this article along so that others may also gain insights.
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