In 2004, a routine visit with his family doctor provided a diagnosis that Jim of Indianola, WA had been dreading: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). About ten years of living with Type II diabetes and high blood pressure took its toll on the 56-year-old, causing reduced kidney function. By 2007, Jim's kidneys failed totally, requiring that he begin dialysis to survive.
In the time before beginning dialysis, Jim did some research on his treatment options and learned about the NxStage System One. "I knew from day one that my goal was to do it at home," he says of dialysis. Jim initially began treatments in-center three times each week for three to four hours each session. Though he found the center staff to be wonderful, it was not a place Jim wanted to be. The treatment schedule caused him to cut back on some of his hours as a salesman, which involved a changeable schedule and much travel. But the most significant motivation to learn to do home dialysis on his own was personal independence. "I wanted to be able to say when and where I'd do treatments," he says. Jim and his trained partner and wife, Claire, completed training and began doing dialysis at home with NxStage in July 2007.
Jim, now 63, says that he feels better physically doing dialysis more frequently. But the most significant benefit of home dialysis for Jim has been flexibility and independence. He and Claire spend half of the year in the Seattle area and half in Georgia and enjoy traveling - in fact, Jim averages about 12 flights each year in between homes and trips. A motorcycle enthusiast, Jim and Claire have even been able to take Jim's NxStage machine and supplies in a trailer attached to Jim's motorcycle for short trips. They also recently purchased a recreational vehicle (RV) to take longer trips.
"At-home daily, more frequent dialysis involves a bit more time spent on the machine and a bit more work on my part," he explains, "but that is part of the compromise for feeling better and being independent."
Note: Jim and Claire travel occasionally on behalf of NxStage, making dialysis center stops in their RV to share Jim's experiences on daily, more frequent home hemodialysis. NxStage compensates Jim with a modest stipend as well as reimbursement for travel expenses directly associated with these stops.