Modelling with Dialysis
when overwhelmed by kidney disease

First, I would like to apologize to anyone who tried to contact me during the past few months and didn't receive a reply.

My world came crashing down on November, 2, 2018.

I have been fighting a battle with bladder cancer since 2005. I am now 78. I lost my left kidney to a tumour in 2013 and have carried on with one kidney. It's been slowly downhill with several operations, stents, catheters and finally a neurostomy tube to drain directly from my kidney. When my specialist determined that the cancer had spread to my prostate it was decided to install an ileal conduit and put me on a urostomy bag. In simple terms, create a new pathway with a piece of my bowel from my remaining kidney to a hole in my stomach.

However, when my surgeon cut me open he found that my renal system was so badly damaged, especially the ureter from the kidney, that the only solution that would give me any quality of life was to remove everything and put me immediately into hemodialysis.

Living with a hemodialysis machine

Hemodialysis is one of two methods to clean waste from the blood and remove water.  The easier method, peritoneal dialysis (PD) is probably not an option for me because of all the scar tissue from abdominal operations in the past.  Therefore, for the rest of my life, I need to give up 4 hours 3 days a week for dialysis. My nearest hospital clinic for now is an hour a way. 

The good news is I have 4 days a week to be normal and 3 days a week to go to my "job", having my blood cleaned.

Value of a hobby like model railroading

I feel very lucky that I an a model railroader. I have the camaraderie of my club members. I can still play with trains, both on my HO railroad and on my outdoor G scale. I can watch my grandson grow up with Thomas and his love of trains. I can stay occupied building things and improving the layouts. I can still learn how to draw buildings for our NMR club layout on our 3D printer. I can railfan, albeit no trips away longer than 2 days.

During dialysis I can read my many train books and magazines, browse the NMRA and other websites or watch videos. I never need to be bored. And I can continue to work on this website to help other modellers enjoy the hobby.

Is there any better and more satisfying hobby in the world? If you have medical problems, aren't you glad you became a model railroader?

Four days a week to play.

Hemodialysis is a small price to pay.


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