CHARMAINE Robbins is one of a growing number of Colac district people who need dialysis to keep their kidneys working.
The mother-of-two from Simpson, south-west of Colac, visits Colac Hospital three days a week for haemodialysis after doctors diagnosed her with chronic kidney disease.
Colac Area Health has expanded its haemodialysis unit to meet a growing demand for the vital treatment, which uses a machine to filter and clean the body’s blood.
The hospital has increased its haemodialysis sessions from six to nine times a week.
The top causes for chronic kidney disease are diabetes, inflammation of the kidneys and high blood pressure.
But Mrs Robbins said her case was rare, and doctors were yet to discover what had caused her kidney disease.
“I’m one of the rare ones where they don’t know exactly how I got it, I don’t have diabetes,” she said.
“Your life revolves around your dialysis, even though you’re only having it for four hours each day, it tends to take up the whole day once you factor in travelling time and getting ready,” she said.
“At the start you have to go to Geelong and you have to factor in even more travel time, so it’s much easier coming to Colac and the team here are so friendly too.”
Mrs Robbins said her uncle had volunteered to donate a kidney to her, and they were awaiting test results to confirm the transplant.
“It’s so far so good but we’re just waiting on the final okay, so I’m hoping to have the transplant some time next year,” she said.
“I don’t see dialysis as a permanent thing, right now I need it to live but I hope I’ll have a new kidney soon.
“And to people out there, I’d say do anything you can to prevent yourself from having to rely on dialysis, it wasn’t the same case for me, but for a lot of people they can help stop it by changing their ways and getting their bodies checked.”
Associate nurse unit manager of Colac’s haemodialysis unit, Kerrie Anderson, said a range of preventable diseases increased the risk of kidney disease.
“Diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure are all contributing to this increase in demand we’re seeing, and that’s a trend that’s happening worldwide, so we have to keep up with that and where possible aim to reduce it,” Ms Anderson said.
Cancer sufferer helping hospital
A COBDEN man who has battled cancer for two decades says he wants to help other people in similar positions.
Bill Malady is raising money for a new cancer treatment centre at Ballarat after travelling to the city each week for his treatment.
The 68-year-old has received support from Colac, Apollo Bay, Lorne and Camperdown businesses for a raffle to raise money for the cancer centre.
“People in Colac and around the place have just been fantastic, they’ve blown me away with their kindness,” Mr Malady said.
He said he knew first-hand the importance of accessible cancer treatment.
“My cancer has been on and off for the past 20 years, it started in 1990 when I had a melanoma on my chest and later I had lymph nodes removed from my arm,” Mr Malady said.
“The latest bit started about four years ago, I had a colonoscopy which showed I had bowel cancer and I found out it had spread to my liver,” he said.
“My mother had bowel cancer and she had always told me to go and get myself checked, but it took me a while to do it.
“So I had an operation which successfully removed the cancer from my bowel and I had chemotherapy for three days a week, but then 12 months later I had a new tumour so I got treatment again, and now I have another one which I’m on a trial drug from Belgium for.”
Mr Malady said he had raised $14,000 for the Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, as well as receiving a $25,000 commitment from an anonymous donor.
“I had said I was going to sell my entire Slim Dusty collection of CDs, books and DVDs and put the proceeds towards the centre, but then I went on 3AW and a caller said he’d donate $25,000 to the cause and I could keep the CDs,” Mr Malady said.
“I’m hoping to meet up with him this week,” he said.
“I’m grateful for any type of support I can get, so if people want to donate or a business has something for our raffle in January, please come forward because it would be very much appreciated.”