John has battled diabetes for about 25 years, many of those years in denial. In the last 15 years he began to pay more attention, but much damage had already been done. He started bike riding, paying more attention to diet and doing more blood sugar checks. While neuropathy was already present, in 2002 he began to have retinopathy episodes and laser surgeries on his eyes. Later in 2002 he had a stroke of the cerebellum. He spent nearly a month in the hospital and rehab center and had to learn to walk again. He regained most of his balance. In 2007 his kidneys failed. His nephrologist encouraged dialysis for nearly 2 years before this, but he wasn’t ready start. The Nx Stage Home Hemo modality was relatively new with just a dozen or so patients in Arizona and New Mexico. John and his wife Gayle began training at the Davita Camelback Dialysis Center in July, and after 6 weeks, they learned how to safely do dialysis at home.
Gayle is an graphic designer by trade, but was eager and willing to be a dialysis partner. Being detail oriented has been a great asset for learning, following protocols and having successful treatments. Spending 20 hours a week at home in the clinic is a small price to pay for the freedom this modality allows. She loves knitting and uses dialysis time to be creative.
John and Gayle are retired in Sun City West, AZ and love the desert. Living here is easy. Medical facilities are close by and there are many things to do. They love making pottery at the Pottery Club and spending time with their grandchildren who are nearby.