Barry was just 27 years old when he suffered a high blood pressure episode at work; he lost consciousness and woke up in the hospital. His kidneys were damaged, and he learned he would need dialysis to survive. Though he'd been aware he had high blood pressure, Barry never imagined it could take such a toll on his life and health.
Barry had been working as a manager of a furniture store and was used to an active, free lifestyle, but suddenly needed to begin going to a dialysis center three times each week for three to four hours each session. After a few months, he could no longer keep his dialysis schedule and his job, and was forced to quit, putting significant financial strain on him and his wife and three young children. Barry admits he didn't take the change well. Feeling angry and depressed, he sometimes didn't show up for his treatments, and often failed to follow the diet restrictions recommended for dialysis patients. Because of his non-compliance, Barry was not considered eligible for the list of patients awaiting a kidney transplant.
But, after a time, Barry, now 34, says he started to come to terms with his condition and started taking better care of himself. He also learned about an alternative option: the NxStage System One, the first truly portable dialysis machine intended for use in the home. With NxStage, Barry would be able to dialyze when and where he wanted. Additionally, he would dialyze more frequently (six times per week) which better mimics natural kidney function and provides clinical benefits. Barry was eager for the opportunity to have greater empowerment in his own care.
As soon as Barry began dialyzing more frequently at home, he noticed an immediate improvement in his health, most significantly with his lowered blood pressure. He is eating and sleeping well and has even begun running almost every day. He has been able to return to work in retail, noting that he has so much energy that no one would ever guess he also lives with kidney disease. But, Barry never shies away from talking about it.
"It feels good to tell people about doing my own treatments - I am a dialysis patient, but I'm not so different from anyone else," he explains. "Dialysis is less of an intrusion in my life now." He hopes to share his story so others who may be at risk for kidney disease are aware of the warning signs and take care of their own health, and for dialysis patients to know about daily home hemodialysis with the NxStage system as an available treatment option. "I feel like I've really been given a second chance," he says. "This machine has helped me take charge of my health and really helped me get my life back."