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Friday, August 14, 2009

I reject that categorization: Life during dialysis

Frank Sietzen, Jr.'s story:
Daniel Asa Rose says dialysis leaves patients "with an enervated excuse for a life." As one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans undergoing hemodialysis, I reject that categorization.

Dialysis isn't easy – there is pain each session when a pair of 15-gauge needles are inserted in my arm and removed three hours later, but if a patient follows the appropriate diet and fluid restrictions, the remaining part of life is no different from anyone else's.

I have energy and a zest for life, swim and exercise every day, and am on the transplant list (which involves a five- to seven-year wait in my region). I am often told how "well" I look.

My life – which I call my 65% life since dialysis and related care consume about a third of my time – is a life well worth living, especially considering the alternative.

Advice: Live a life well worth living, like Frank.

Read a story about a kidney transplant patient's choices after a transplant.

Thanks to the New York Times for printing Frank's letter to the editor on July 17.

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