How the Will to Live Well Can Lead to Individual Strength, Inner Confidence and Spiritual Rebirth for You, In and Out of Dialysis (Updated Post April 4, 2018)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Written By: James A Schaner for AAKP

 

Hello. My name is James Schaner of Queen Creek, Arizona. What follows is a brief history of my journey in dialysis. I hope to help you in your quest to conquer the battle of nutritional excellence in dialysis with a military flavor. Welcome aboard, soldier. Let’s win together!

My journey on dialysis began with an internship at Arizona State University in 1991. I was trained as a Medical Social Worker on a local Indian Reservation. I had to work with existing patients regarding minor financial and social adjustment issues outside of treatment. Being a Type I Diabetic myself, I accepted the assignment as a possible preview of what awaited me. Looking at this through existing patients’ eyes opened mine in a very real way. Before that year was over, I was on a string of anti-hypertensive drugs, and under the throes of Diabetic Retinopathy.

Later, I suffered a seizure which put me on the fast track to my initial tour of duty on dialysis in August, 1997. I can honestly tell you that this was the first time I ever cried in a doctor’s office as an adult. A short 5 months later, I was given my first kidney transplant from my father. Our bond has always been strong, but this really cemented the relationship.

I have since been blessed with 2 additional transplants. First, in 2004 when I received a pancreas transplant while employed, and then most recently in September, 2015 when I received a kidney after nearly 10 years on in-center hemodialysis. It is the last tour that this guide focuses on. What follows is my opinion on those ten years and what they have taught me about ESRD, and how to defeat it the best I know how.

 

Section 1: Induction

My Return to Dialysis and Its Overall Impact on Life

Returning to dialysis took me about one week of daily 4 hour runs which dropped me from 185 water-logged pounds to an exhausted 130. That week, I felt like a high school graduate going through basic training in the army! My body wanted to quit, but my mind would not let it! In that week, I lost everything that used to be me, and it was replaced with one that would eventually learn to adapt or be a very sick man! Almost as quickly as it began, I was transferred out to a local dialysis clinic. I graduated Basic Training. Off to deployment I went.

 

Section 2: Deployment

The Chain of Command in a Typical Dialysis Center

 

  1. Your Nephrologist: Your Kidney Specialist prescribes all dialysis orders and medications for you outside the clinic. (4-Star General)
  2. Clinic Manager: Oversees clinical practice and procedure. This person may or may not see patients on the floor. (Colonel)
  3. Your Nurses: Oversee activities of dialysis technicians and patients on the floor. They are responsible for administrative and technical functions required during treatment and will perform those duties in emergencies. (Major)
  4. Your Dialysis Technicians: They administer your runs daily. Communicate with these people regarding your treatment goals. They are responsible for the mechanical execution of your goals w/a minimum of side effects. (Captain)
  5. Your Dietician: They have access to your lab work and guide you to nutritional adequacy. I thought of this one as the key to my engine of nutritional success. (Lieutenant)
  6. Your Social Worker: Responsible for resource procurement necessary for daily emergencies incurred by patients outside the center necessary to survival between runs. Duties include verification of Insurance, and above. (Sargent)
  7. YOU-THE PATIENT! You have the biggest impact on how dialysis works! Please see the above for the help you need to succeed! (Private First Class)

 

As most of you go through your dialysis time, I encourage direct involvement between yourselves and your care teams. If you want to succeed long term, these people are your best allies. I can tell you that periodically you will become ill. Dietary excellence cuts illness severity and length. There were times when I was so ill that I turned to my Higher Power, Jesus Christ for strength. Through it all. I managed to run a 39-month string of perfect labs between 11/11 and 2/15. I want to pass this knowledge to you so that there are many more such streaks behind AND beyond mine. Are you in my Army, now? YES! Just by dialyzing, you are in.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”5888″ img_size=”medium” title=”James Schaner”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]DO YOU WANT TO WIN THE WAR OF NUTRITIONAL SUCCESS? Use your care teams’ advice along with that of a 10-YEAR VETERAN of dialysis who has tasted that victory. Call me @ (480) 240-8690, or better yet, email dicktex@cox.net to receive a free copy of “You Are in the Army Now”. This guide provides details surrounding how I succeeded w/ care team support.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]