Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
Francine with her husband Richard
More than 13 years ago, Francine Hillpot of Staten Island, NY, was told that she had chronic kidney disease and could expect her kidneys to fail within two years. Instead of sulking, this 55-year old mother and executive assistant became vigilant about her health. Hillpot began monitoring her kidney function regularly and following a healthy diet which helped her stave off kidney failure for a full decade. It was only after undergoing chemotherapy treatment to combat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that her kidneys shut down and she needed to rely on dialysis to do what her kidneys no longer could.
After receiving in-center hemodialysis for 18 months, Francine discovered she had the option of doing the treatment at home.
"At first, I was skeptical about the home option," she said. "I feared that I wouldn't be able to administer the treatment properly and safely. But after my husband, Richard, and I underwent eight weeks of extensive training, I was comfortable doing my treatment at home."
Now every morning, Hillpot spends her three hours of home dialysis answering work-related phone calls and e-mails. She even squeezes in some time to listen to music and watch her favorite shows. Hillpot also now has more time to spend shopping with her daughter Rachel and indulging in her fitness passion. She jogs, lifts weights and goes to the gym regularly.
"My advice to people who are beginning dialysis is to be patient and research all your treatment options," said Hillpot."When I made the choice to switch to home treatment, I was able to live my life on my own schedule, instead of being tied to the center. For a busy person who needs flexibility, this was terrific. For other people, the center is the right place. They key is to know you have options and pick the one that's best suited to your lifestyle."