No, being put on dialysis does not mean that the end is near!

First, one piece of factual information. I was put on dialysis in July 1997. Its about sixteen and a half years. I work full time. I swim every morning. I travel. I lead an almost normal life! And I do not intend to change this for some more time.

I was shocked a few days back when I talked to the adult children of a 60-something year old lady who was recently put on dialysis. They went to a nephrologist of one of the more respected hospitals in Hyderabad and to their utter horror were told by him that the end was near! She did not have any co-morbidities, she was otherwise healthy but put on dialysis. Imagine the plight of the family!

When I was diagnosed in 1997, a general physician commented to my father, "There is no chance!" My father was shocked. Then, when we consulted my nephrologist, Dr. Girish Narayen, he dismissed the thought and assured my father that there was nothing to worry.

In this case, however, it is a nephrologist making the claim! This is quite shocking!

Today, with good quality, adequate dialysis, people live for decades. I personally know so many people who have been on dialysis for so long and they lead normal lives - work, travel, exercise, even trek!

Even among the medical community, there is a lot of misinformation about the prognosis once you are on dialysis. Naturally, among people who are not medically trained, this can be much worse. Once your neighbors come to know that you or someone in your family is on dialysis, they all think, "Khel khatam, dukaan bandh!" - the story is over!

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Of course, there are people who die within a few months or a few years of being put on dialysis. But it does not have to be that way! It is up to the patient, his or her family and the treating nephrologist to prevent this. It is possible to live long, productive and fruitful lives after being put on dialysis. It is all a matter of getting good dialysis, enough dialysis and yes, have a positive outlook.