Yeah I know. It's Tuesday. Doesn't happen often. But the death of Denise Matthews, formerly known as Vanity hit me hard. Not because I was a diehard fan,..and yes I preferred her over Appolonia and I thought she was much prettier. But it was how she died. I recall hearing about her kidney failure awhile ago. Long before my kidneys failed. It was one of those things you note and file away while reading and move on.
When I read she had Sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis, I understood what she'd been through. I'd just mentioned the young man from Dialysis Discussion Uncensored (DDU) dying. Well this is exactly what he had. His mother detailed what he was going through as a patient and what she did as a caregiver. It was 18 months of pure hell and organs failing. And. I believe this is the same condition that took my Wendell in 2014.
Sclerosing encapsulating peritonitis is a direct result of doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) or an extended length of time. I know I've gone over this before, but I have newer readers who may not know what this is. The short definition is "A soft plastic tube (catheter) is placed in your belly by surgery. A sterile cleansing fluid is put into your belly through this catheter. After the filtering process is finished, the fluid leaves your body through the catheter.", National Kidney Foundation.
The problem comes when this modality, type of treatment, is used over an extended period of time. I've heard that 5 years max, as the membrane gets weaker over time. In addition because the tube is going into your stomach Asceptic procedure is so very important. The chances of infection are high. For the record, I almost chose this modality. Wendell had talked to me about it and even invited me and Brian over to his house to show us how it worked. I'd even went to an appointment for assessment. Several things stopped me. First, the exchanges on PD occur several times a day. Strike one. Second, my ability to swim would be limited because, you know, there'd be a hole in my stomach. And third my tech at the time told me I'd have a continuous belly because of the fluid exchange. Being the vain person I am I just couldn't have that!!! Besides, I already started the surgeries for the fistula in my arm.
Now PD is better than incenter and my Wendell just didn't like needles. Lol. And sclerosing encapsulated peritonitis is quite rare. But. Since I've become aware of it, I now know of three people who've died from it. And having watched my Wendell deteriorate, and going through the journey with the young man in DDU, I am incredibly saddened to know what Denise Matthews went through. So now I'm going to give some details about this horrible side and side effect of dialysis.
Symptoms include bowel obstruction, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, nausea, vomiting, abdominal mass, malnutrition, and failure to thrive. In addition the bowel wall may thicken. In the case of the young man from DDU, the wastes could no longer come out of the bowel, so fissures opened up and wastes and bile were coming out of these newly created openings. This increased the chance of infection. And constant maintenance. In addition, the wastes would come in contact with the skin and continually irritate the skin...which was a constant burning pain. And on top if all of this, he still had to do dialysis.
His body just couldn't handle it. As of last weekend we were informed his liver was failing. And the week prior the doctors had told his mother there was nothing more that could be done. She was in the process of looking for hospice....but he died. And here's a bureaucratic, money grubbing issue she ran into. The hospices wouldn't accept him because he was in a feeding tube. They wouldn't pay for that. But if he could feed himself, then hospice would accept him. So. If he went to hospice, he'd starve to death. At this point I have the urge to rant against those who would want to get rid of Obamacare....but I won't.
Finally, I won't have these complications. I am not on peritoneal dialysis, nor will I choose that option. And understand that many people successfully go years on this modality. But the risks are too great for me.
I hope this has helped to understand what Denise Matthews (Vanity) went through and also understand why I felt the need to explain what happened. I think I've said before, dialysis is not for the faint of heart.
Have a great day. Cherish your friends and family. Tell them you love them.