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Suzana’s Story

Just because the machine is there, it doesn’t mean your life has to stop.

Suzana likes to stay active. She works out five days a week with spin classes, high-intensity fitness sessions, weights, and yoga. As long as her health is stable, nothing will stop her from getting to the gym; not the weather, not her dialysis machine, nor the catheter in her neck.  

She knows nutrition and exercise are important to stay healthy and feel good about the way she looks. 
“It is something I have done all my life,” Suzana says about her exercise regime. “It is good for the body, good for the soul, and it keeps you busy,” Suzana says.  

“I am getting older, and I want to stay healthy to hopefully down the road avoid complications if I get a transplant.” 

Suzana lost her kidney function as a young girl following a severe bout of strep throat. She has undergone two kidney transplants and is now on dialysis. She has tried dialyzing in different ways – hospital hemodialysis during the day, peritoneal dialysis at home. In her experience, she has found that home hemodialysis, seven nights a week, works best. The machine she hooks herself up to every night gives her the energy to move forward with her day. 

"There are times when I have a love-hate relationship with the machine, but I know what the machine does. It gives me strength, it gives me tomorrow, it gives me hope. Just because the machine is there, it doesn’t mean your life has to stop."

There were times over the years when Suzana’s health was not so stable. She remembers days on dialysis when the slightest movement was taxing and getting out of bed impossible. At one point, she was so weak she had trouble holding a pen properly. 

Despite these setbacks, she has soldiered on and found a way to regain her health and motivation. She advises other kidney patients not to give up. It is important to learn about different medications and options available and push for the best healthcare solutions possible. 

“If I can do it, anybody can do it. Life is so precious. When I wake up in the morning and I see snow, rain, sleet, sunrise sunsets I am happy. My eyes are making memories, and these are beautiful pictures. I don’t think of myself as sick.”