Yesterday, I met a fellow dialyzor. This guy goes to the same hospital I used to go to when I was in-center. What started as a social meet-up with a couple of other pee-ers (defn. - people with healthy kidneys and able to pee!) drifted time and again to comparisons between both of us.
This guy is really amazing. He has been on dialysis for about twelve years now. He had an unsuccessful transplant about ten years back. Pretty much the same story as mine. Currently, he dialyzes only twice a week. He does not exercise. He takes no medications except for a small dose of a sedative at night. No EPO either. He rarely consults a nephrologist. Despite all this, he has absolutely no co-morbidities (side effects of long term kidney disease). His hemoglobin is 16 (the higher end of normal and he takes no EPO!).
Compare this with me. I dialyze every week day for seven hours on an average. I go for a swim every day. I take all my medications on time. I rarely, if ever, miss a dose. I consult with my nephrologist (often more than one) every month without fail. I am also in touch with some nephrologists over the internet. I constantly read up about my condition on the internet and actively participate in the online forums on dialysis. Despite all this, I have all but one of the co-morbidities associated with kidney disease. My hemoglobin is around 12.9 after all the EPO I have taken and continue to take.
Look at this guy. He is not bothered about his disease at all. He is living quite a normal life. He does not even work. Not that he can't. But he does not want to. Dialysis is a small part of his life. I am thinking about my health all the time. I am constantly getting stressed trying to balance my life between work and my health and trying to find moments of happiness in all this madness.
Does this make any sense? This set me thinking. Was all this effort in staying on top of my health really worth it?