Friday, May 30, 2014


On Saturday, John had a treatment for hemochromatosis, a genetic disease which causes an iron overload in the blood. The treatment is phlebotomy, or removal of blood, to reduce the iron load.  The treatment wiped out his energy completely. 

He saw the local nephrologist on Wednesday, and it is clear to the doctor that John needs to be on dialysis right away.  There are several types of dialysis available, and we are going to try completing the treatments at home.  Dialysis is a process that 'cleans' the blood--an artificial kidney process.  This process allows patients better quality of life when the kidneys fail, however it is meant to be temporary.  This chart on patient longevity includes first transplants only. 

In-home dialysis will require many hours of training for both of us, but will allow many benefits including a more flexible schedule for treatments.  He will need dialysis 6 times per week, and each treatment will take 4-5 hours with set-up and clean-up. 

John will have a surgery to create a vascular access for the dialysis treatments in the next few weeks.  Hopefully it will be a fistula, but it could be a graft.  He will also have a catheter which will allow him to be dialized (yes, it's a verb, too!)  immediately.

The home dialysis kit weighs about 75 pounds, and is portable.  In case you want to take it camping.

Thanks to everyone for the kind words and especially those who made time to help us out at home this week.  You are very much appreciated!


  1. Thanks for the updates Dawn. You, John, and the kids are in my prayers. If we lived closer I could do more. I noticed in a previous post you stated the diet for John's condition is not nutritious...sorry to be stupid, but why is that?

  2. It is counterintuitive, isn't it? With end stage renal failure, there are several restrictions: sodium, protein, potassium, phosphorous, and liquids. The postassium issue keeps him from many healthy foods.

    Iam exploring the Davita website and meal planner. It is both helpful and horrifying. I printed the shopping list a few weeks ago, and it included Pop Tarts. I could not bring myself to buy them. :)