Ask Toni B

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Toni B
  • Toni B writes about Kidney Disease

My name is Toni B. I have been living with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) for approximately five (5) years. ESRD means my kidneys are not working and therefore, require dialysis to sustain my life. Peritoneal Dialysis is the type of treatment I use, which is completed by me at home. I spend approximately 12 hours per day preparing for treatment, in treatment and disconnecting from treatment.  Previously, I worked as a psychotherapist, which has helped me to understand myself and other to develop excellent lifestyle habits to live victoriously, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. I would like to share information with you to assist you or someone you know traveling down a similar kidney journey. There are upcoming topics to address general questions and concerns to better understand ESRD and how to live our best possible health. Also, let me know if you have questions or concerns you would like addressed. Remember, the information I will offer is general and good for most circumstances. However, each personal situation has specific differences which will require specific information from YOUR personal care team. So, look for me as we take this journey together. (alternate: come, travel down this road with me)

Keep doing the dailies to live healthily.

Toni B
Confident female doctor posing in her office and smiling at camera, health care and prevention concept

Peritoneal Dialysis

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Toni B

Peritoneal Dialysis

I just do not get the concept of peritoneal dialysis. My doctor suggested it, but what is it and how does it really work? 

Peritoneal dialysis is a fluid based treatment, verses hemo-dialysis a blood based treatment. Peritoneal dialysis, also called PD, introduces fluid consisting of water, dextros, and calcium into the peritoneum lining in the abdomen, which uses a process of osmosis (from a greater concentration to a lower concentration) to remove the excess water and waste from the body in absence of functioning kidneys.

There are several benefits and caveats regarding PD: the first benefit is the ability to administer the treatment at home without a care partner, with the flexibility to conduct the treatment on your schedule.

One caveat is treatment is completely daily, no “breaks” in the schedule as in the traditional three times per week schedule of hemo-dialysis. However, PD mimics functioning kidneys because healthy kidneys function 24-hours/7days per week.

There are many more benefits health and lifestyle benefits. Check with your health care provider for the type of dialysis treatment that is best for you and your health and lifestyle needs.


Cooking Meals: A Renal Diet

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Toni B

Cooking Meals: A Renal Diet

Labs – If nobody is cooking my meals and I don’t have any energy or money, how am I supposed to eat well? What’s really important here? 

You are not alone! What’s really important is good nutrition for optimum health, as defined by being within range of your goal indicators: protein, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, hemoglobin and fluid intake.

There are several factors to address here. Cooking or even planning nutritious meals is sometimes daunting because of low energy to first cook, then clean-up afterward; lack of appetite to decide what one wants to eat; lack of resources to obtain the food; the initial challenge of reading labels and/or regular weekly/monthly grocery shopping any one of those and many other obstacles could hinder good nutrition.

Planning and preparing some basic go-to foods to have on hand, ready in the pantry or refrigerator. There are a few staples to keep on hand: tuna salad, chicken salad, apples & apple sauce. This list is only a brief sample because each person’s menu is so specific to their own labs that I hesitate to even give those examples.

Please speak with your dietitian for your menu mainstays and must-nots. Due to the specifics of your personal menu, some home delivery food programs might not work for you. However, speak with your clinic social worker to determine if there are resources in your community to address your specific needs.

Another option, check with your state (county) medicaid office to determine if you are eligible for the food or other types of assistance programs. Consider speaking with family and friends to seek their assistance as well.

My Family and Kidney Disease

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Toni B

How do I tell my family that I am in Renal Failure? I feel ashamed and know they are going to just tell me it’s my fault. 

Just do it! Unless you live completely alone and there is absolutely no other human you know, besides your doctor, it is imperative that you share the diagnosis with people you spend time with, especially if you eat meals with others a any type of gathering.

Shame and Blame are big words for lots of people. Within yourself, you know how this disease came about. If you could have done something to prevent these consequences, take responsibility now to do all you can to learn all you can to ensure a better health outcome in the future. However, if this diagnosis was a surprise you found out about in the Emergency Room, take responsibility now to do all you can to learn all you can to ensure a better health outcome in the future.

At this point, Blame and Shame is not the point. The point is to grab a hold of this diagnosis and let it know you are all in, and you are an active participant in your health care. We live in the moment, the past is gone and nothing we can do will change it, except making better choices in the future.

Decide that you want to live and make the necessary choices to live as well as possible. There is plenty of information to assist you on your journey.

Start by taking with your health care team and then take your family members alone to appointments to help them gain further information and understanding about the disease, treatment and needs you might have.

I Want To Kill Myself

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Toni B

I Want To Kill Myself

I want to kill myself. I just can’t do this anymore. 

I’m sure this question might arise. However, I have some legal problems with trying to respond to this.  You should discuss this in person with a health care provider.

The pat answer is…go to the emergency room immediately. However, depending on a person’s actual state of mind and their ability to carry out the thought…if it is more than a thought…stopping them…trying to stop them from distances unknown makes it very difficult, if not impossible.