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Life lessonslearned

                                            after35 YEARS

                                            of Renal Failure

                                                 ialysis is all consuming, both  LESSON 2: Don’t give up the day job!
                                                 physically and emotionally. We   If your health allows, keep
                                            Dall know that the side effects     working! Despite nearly 21 years on
                                            and lifestyle restrictions of dialysis are  dialysis, Marie has always continued
                                            many, and things others take for    to work, and currently works part-
                                            granted are just not possible for a  time in hospital administration.
                                            person on dialysis.                   Mentally, work has been a blessing
                                              As Organ Donor Awareness Week     for Marie. It has allowed her to stay
                                            approaches, I have reflected on the  linked in to normal life, and serves as
                        By LISA MELLON      life lessons we have learned in the  a distraction from dialysis. It also
                                            Mellon household over the last three  provides social interactions, and
                                            decades living with renal failure as a  means that her life doesn’t revolve
                                            family, and for those who are also on  around dialysis.
                  As I write this, my mother,   the dialysis treadmill, I hope some of  Unlike her peers, Marie has never
                                            these may strike a chord with you.  been able to climb the corporate
               Marie Mellon, is currently in                                    ladder. She is an intelligent and
                   Mayo General Hospital,   LESSON 1: Keep calm and carry on!   vibrant person, but due to dialysis and
                      receiving her 2,237th   In my 30 years, I have been part of  her illness her capabilities have been
                  haemodialysis treatment.   a lot of renal-related crises. You name  restricted.
                                            it, we’ve had it. Night-time dashes to  Unfortunately, society only sees the
           Marie has spent over 8,500 hours  Beaumont after the transplant call,  illness and not the person behind the
              on haemodialysis, and by this  transplant failures, dialysis calamities,  illness who have the same desires and
                August, she will have put in  fistula ruptures, emergency       ambitions as everybody else, but at
                                            ambulances, emergency surgeries, ICU  the end of the day, work has been a
                           fourteen years.   last rites, peritoneal dialysis in the  positive force in Marie’s life. And after
                                            strangest of places (!), non-compatible  all, dialysis doesn’t pay the bills!
               Prior to this, she spent seven  living donors. Kudos to my Dad, Terry,
                                            for keeping calm and collected      LESSON 3: On a bad day, pick up the phone
               years on peritoneal dialysis.   throughout all of the above events!  In my experience, there is often
                In between were two failed    One thing that I continually admire  nothing more therapeutic than a good
               transplants, and much more.  is Marie’s inner strength and ability to  rant about a bad day, to someone
                                            pick herself up and move on after   who cares about you. Some problems
                                            every crisis. We deal with things as  can’t be solved, but talking them out
                From being diagnosed with   they happen and don’t waste energy  can provide relief, often provide a
           renal failure in her mid-twenties,  dwelling on the past, or waiting for  laugh, and ultimately makes you feel
               to just turning sixty (sorry for  the next crisis to strike. Life is  that you’re not alone in this fight
                                            unpredictable, and saving energy for  living with renal failure.
           outing your age, Marie!), life has  the day to day battles is energy well  I lived in Australia for a while, and
               continued to bring surprises.  spent.                            even in different time zones, Marie

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