Home Dialysis Changed My Life: Lioudmila’s Story

April 3, 2024

“There are no words for how the team at Humber makes me feel, it’s like another family,” says Lioudmila. “This program changed my life.”

In 2017, when Lioudmila received permission from Toronto Community Housing to dialyze at home, she was in heaven.

A single mother of five children, she was 39 years old when she first started peritoneal dialysis (PD) at another Toronto hospital. However, she got sick after only a year and a half in, and her friend took her to Humber River Health’s Church Site Emergency Department where she was admitted.

There, she met her Nephrologist Dr. Gavril Hercz, who in 2015, told her the PD treatment was not working and they decided to switch over to hemodialysis instead.

“With PD, I felt very depressed. I could not eat properly. I would have one bite and be full, due to the fluids inside my body,” says Lioudmila.

However, the new hemodialysis schedule took a lot of time and effort. Lioudmila had to come to the Hospital three times a week for hours at a time for her treatment. Her healthcare needs made it difficult to find work or pay rent. “The team at Humber River Health was so kind to me,” says Lioudmila. “I tear up remembering it. I don’t have family in Canada and I kept wondering who’s going to be with my kids.”

Originally, Toronto Public Housing rejected Lioudmila’s request for home dialysis, but her Humber team worked hard to get it approved, working with the lawyers to get permission and taking care of everything including the water line her machine would need.

With the approval of dialyzing at home, Lioudmila’s life changed. She was able to do more around the house, spend more time with her kids and dialyze at night.

Home dialysis

Humber River Health helps patients like Lioudmila train for how to dialyze at home, enabling them to live their best lives through customizable treatment plans.

The Hospital helped Lioudmila train for how to dialyze at home. She recalls the first time she went in for dialysis training, thinking she would not be able to learn how to use it.

“I was so scared – at the Hospital I couldn’t even look at my blood when someone else was doing it. But they gave me confidence and now, years later, I feel like a professional,” says Lioudmila.

One of the nurses on Lioudmila’s team, Jennifer, played a pivotal role in her dialysis journey at Humber River Health. She went home with her for the first time after getting at-home dialysis approval to help navigate the machine and would call to see how she was doing.

“She was my angel. She would do regular checkups at my home to make sure the kids and I were okay,” says Lioudmila.

“Before home dialysis, I would just want to stay in bed and not get up,” says Lioudmila. “Now, I wake up in the morning with so much energy, feeling like a new person.”

Her routine is much more manageable. She comes in monthly to drop off her bloodwork and visits for check-ups every few months.

“There are no words for how the team at Humber makes me feel, it’s like another family,” says Lioudmila. “This program changed my life.”

Louidmila would like to thank the numerous doctors, nurses, social workers and the entire dialysis team for helping her and her family through tough times.

Empowering Nephrology Patients: Transition Care Unit

Learning to live with kidney failure is a significant adjustment for both patients and their families. Thanks to the support of our donors, Humber continues to uphold its promise of accessible healthcare by developing programing like our Transition Care Unit, which empower nephrology patients with greater flexibility and autonomy over their treatment. To learn more, please contact Caterina Magisano at cmagisano@hrh.ca