Ray, a farmer, father of eight and South Amboy, Indiana resident, was relatively young and healthy at 40-years old when he started to feel ill and noticed fluid building up in his body. After a few doctor visits and tests, he was told that he was suffering from kidney disease. It was 1995. For the next two years, Ray's doctor was able to treat his condition with medications but, after a time, he was told that his body would require dialysis in order to survive.
It was then that Ray began a variety of treatments for his kidney failure; first, there was peritoneal dialysis for six months, during which time he said he almost continually "felt terrible." Then, Ray began going to a dialysis center for treatments three to four times each week for a few hours each time. He would do this for the next two years. This treatment regime involved a heavy schedule of treatments that made Ray's job as a grain farmer and construction business owner difficult. His work was a round-the-clock commitment and though he had help from his brother and five sons, it was a significant inconvenience. Physically, Ray found himself often feeling ill and fatigued. Of his years doing traditional hemodialysis he says, "Some mornings you wake up feeling like you were run over by a truck. You just don't want to get out of bed." In 2000, he received a kidney transplant, but within 10 days his body had rejected it, and he underwent surgery to have it removed. Ray had to return to in-center treatments.
Then, in 2004, Ray learned of a clinical trial taking place at IU Health University Hospital for a new portable home hemodialysis machine. He was attracted to the concept of dialyzing in his home on his own schedule and enrolled in the trial with his wife, Laura, as his trained partner. It has been more than seven years since Ray completed training for daily, more frequent home hemodialysis and went home with his NxStage System One. He says that almost right away, he "felt much better and had more energy," and his health has sustained throughout the last four years. The treatment fits in well with his life. He has been able to dedicate more time to his farm and construction company, and is able to spend more time with his family. The Graber family has been able to travel freely by train, car and airplane, including a recent visit to Ray's oldest son who now lives in Idaho. Each time, they have been able to bring NxStage along, and avoided the difficulty of planning out of state dialysis center visits far in advance.
Throughout the last seven years, Ray says that he has continued to "feel great" and is so happy with his decision to begin daily, more frequent home hemodialysis treatment with the NxStage system that he recommends the treatment to others he knows suffering from kidney failure. Ray looks forward to the years to come, spending time with his large family and growing his business and farm, with an enduring feeling of health and wellness.