Riding the tide of kidney disease
Pascal has been managing kidney disease for his entire adult life. But that doesn’t stop him from pursuing his passion for caravanning and kite surfing.
“As a physicist, I’ve always been driven by curiosity. But in order to do so, you have to have some freedom. Be allowed to be spontaneous. Follow your impulses. This gives you strength,” he says.
Advances in kidney disease treatment have given Pascal the independence he values so much. Although he must rely on haemodialysis machines to do the job that his kidneys are unable to do – filtering toxins out of his blood – the way he receives treatment makes all the difference to his quality of life.
Pascal can carry out treatment from the comfort of his own home and even from his caravan when he’s travelling rather than having to go for in-clinic haemodialysis three times a week. “This has been the driving force for extending my sports activities and enjoying cultural events,” he tells This Is MedTech.
A normal functioning kidney needs about 24 hours to filter the blood completely. Thus, the longer a treatment takes, the more tolerable it is for the patient. Pascal’s at-home treatment cycles are every other night and last for eight hours, meaning that he gets a weekly dose of dialysis that’s three times higher than that of a standard in-clinic treatment session of three times a week for four hours.
“Often dialysis plays the only central role in a patient’s life because it is very time consuming and exhausting,” says Pascal. “Home dialysis and in particular travelling with mobile dialysis changes the paradigm and groups the treatment in a decentralised way around the core of life instead.”
The result is that Pascal’s health is still very good after nearly 30 years of dialysis and he has plenty of strength to do sports like kite surfing. “Six years ago, I tried to go skiing with the support of a kite on snow. This was the door-opener to dive deeper into the kite surfing domain. It is fun and requires tactics to use the winds and waves appropriately. Moreover, it challenges physical and mental capabilities,” he says.
Having the dialysis device integrated into his caravan allows Pascal to travel around Europe because he can take everything he needs with him. He can easily find access to fresh water and electricity at campsites, so he’s good to go. “As the treatment is performed overnight when I sleep, I can enjoy my holidays during the entire days,” he notes.
In addition to living life to the full, Pascal wants to give hope to others in the same position by sharing the message about the benefits of home dialysis in various talks and discussions. “I don’t want to just think about restrictions – I want to discover what is possible.”
And that’s exactly what he’s doing.