Jim Plante, the founder and chief executive officer of Pathway Genomics, continued working as CEO of this company from 2008 through most of 2017. As the founder of numerous companies dedicated to improving health through genetic testing and modification, a major goal is to end inherited chronic diseases that can be disabling and life-threatening. An example is polycystic kidney disease, which affects Mr. Plante’s own family.
Someone living with end-stage kidney failure may feel very alone in some ways, even if he or she has close, rewarding personal relationships. Friends and even extended family members may find the illness difficult to comprehend. It sounds like a death sentence, yet the patient goes to regular dialysis treatments and seems to live a somewhat normal life.
Yet life is difficult in many ways for a dialysis patient. Friends, relatives and acquaintances may have trouble understanding what the person is going through because that individual may not want to complain. This person is doing his or her best to stay positive and to have a good attitude, even when this is hard.
Family members and friends should realize that this person may feel unwell much of the time. Fatigue is common. It might seem that the person should feel much better after a dialysis treatment since toxins, excess fluids and waste material have been removed. However, the treatment is hard on the body because all of this matter is removed over the course of a few hours instead of being a gradual, normal process.
Feeling Anxious and Scared
Not everyone understands how scary this disease is. Once the patient is receiving regular dialysis treatments, it may seem that this situation can continue indefinitely. In reality, dialysis patients tend to have a greatly shortened lifespan compared with people who do not have kidney failure. Their lifespan also is shorter on average than those who receive a kidney transplant. Living with this knowledge can be depressing and anxiety-provoking. In addition, these patients are more vulnerable to heart disease, which can become serious and result in having to deal with a second potentially life-threatening condition.