Home > NewsPatient Stories > Barry Marks 25 Years on Hemodialysis

September 2017 | News, Patient Stories

Sitting in a Seven Oaks General Hospital (SOGH) hemodialysis unit, Barry Kiriluk receives his routine dialysis treatment. Today marks 25 years of being on hemodialysis for the born-and-raised Winnipegger.

Kiriluk started emergency hemodialysis at St. Boniface Hospital back in 1992. He had a failed attempt at peritoneal dialysis and also a failed transplant. He says diabetes is what led him to become sick.

“Before I started dialysis I never looked after my diabetes or my blood sugar,” he admits. When he was a teenager he had doctors telling him what would happen if he didn’t watch his blood sugar. One doctor even took him to a Health Sciences Centre dialysis unit telling him this is where he could end up.

Kiriluk says he didn’t listen and by the time he was 28 his kidneys were failing and he needed to start dialysis. He had to give up the milk delivery route he owned and move back in with family to get a hold of his failing health.

“Before I started dialysis I never looked after my diabetes or my blood sugar”

“In a way being on dialysis actually saved me.”

He remembers having to dialyze for several days in a row when he first started, to remove all the fluid that had built up in his system.

“And that was the worst thing to have ever done,” he remembers.  “I felt awful.” He quickly learned how to manage his liquid intake to feel better. Today he has a pretty good sense of his body when it comes to fluids and blood pressure. He even knows how to gauge how hot weather and sweating affects his fluid levels.

“I can feel when something’s not right.”

He’s thankful for the nurses and the doctors who have helped him along the way. He says listening to his care providers was critical in finding ways to feel better and make his treatments easier.

He says he is happy to do whatever it takes to be alive. A few years ago he had to switch to daily hemodialysis, instead of three times a week, because of calcium build up which can be a side effect of long-term dialysis.

He participates in the cycling on dialysis program every day and enjoys cooking his meals with fresh foods. He likes being outside in nice weather and watches lots of hockey in the winter.

After ten years of dialysis at St. Boniface Hospital, Kiriluk was one of the first patients to dialyze at a brand-new SOGH dialysis unit. “At that time there was maybe like ten people in the unit and they weren’t open every day.”

Today Seven Oaks General Hospital houses about 300 in-centre hemodialysis patients and there are more than 1,600 dialysis patients in Manitoba.

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