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What Allows Someone to Stop Dialysis?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Kidney dialysis removes toxins from the blood, and it can be life sustaining. Most people cannot stop dialysis unless they get a kidney transplant or if the problem that caused the kidneys to stop working can be treated. Chronic kidney failure cannot be treated except through a transplant, and most individuals who have this condition will die within a few weeks if they don't continue dialysis. Adults do have the right to make medical decisions for themselves, however, and some choose to stop treatment. In fact, in the United States, approximately 25% of those dealing with kidney failure make the decision to stop receiving dialysis.

People sometimes stop dialysis for positive reasons. If a person with kidney failure receives a successful transplant, he or she will no longer need this treatment. People with acute kidney failure may only need dialysis for a short time while their kidneys recover. Unfortunately, donor kidneys are in short supply, and these organs will not recover from chronic conditions. The majority of individuals who choose to end dialysis are, essentially, making the decision to die.

Often, the reason for ending dialysis is an emotional one. Many individuals with chronic kidney failure choose to stop because they are either not likely to receive a transplant or ill suited for one. When faced with the need to continue receiving dialysis for the rest of their lives, many find the prospect intolerable. For some, the quality of life with regular dialysis treatment is very poor. As such, they would rather live a few weeks on their own terms than have the potential to live years with dialysis.

Sometimes, the decision to end dialysis is made for health reasons. An individual may choose to stop because of the side effects and complications common to the treatment. Possible complications can range from low blood pressure and fever to infection and allergic reactions. Even diet may be affected, as loss of appetite is common in those undergoing this treatment.

The decision to stop dialysis can be related to its cost as well. While most insurance programs cover dialysis treatments, many patients still find it expensive. Some patients may see the financial toll this treatment takes on their families and decided to stop.

Before an individual makes the decision to stop this treatment, he should discuss the possibility with loves ones and his healthcare team. In some cases, adjustments can be made to improve the patient’s quality of life while allowing for continued treatments. If this is not enough to make continuing dialysis acceptable, the treatment team may be able to provide advice and support for ending it.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon1001767 — On Jun 22, 2019

Dialysis isn't that bad for me. It saved my life, made me more energetic, gave me hope. I'm down to 5 nights a week now. Please do not let all the negative posts scare you away !

By anon340656 — On Jul 04, 2013

@anon238461 (post 38) suggested "Likely those who can't afford the treatment [dialysis] in societies for which such payers are not available would likely never start (as indeed is the case in the UK and Canada - dialysis is rationed by age)." I am not sure what this means, but dialysis is not rationed in the UK; it is freely available on the National Health Service wherever the medical staff judge it is needed and would be appropriate. There are people of all ages in the ward where my wife has dialysis.

By anon337257 — On Jun 04, 2013

I have been on hemodialysis for five years now. It's OK and there is no reason to stop. I am still walking around and enjoying life. I like talking in the cafes so much that no dialysis is going to stop me from doing that.

By anon335860 — On May 24, 2013

I hate every minute of dialysis. It has robbed me of my life.

It is not much of a life. Yesterday, I got home at 11:30 p.m. You have no choice of timing, and the night shift even robs you of the evening with your partner.

I do not intend to go on like this, but do not want to rush the decision. I am thinking of all the things I could do to get my affairs in order, and would welcome a peaceful death. What I have now is a living death anyway.

I have travelled the whole world, but now go nowhere. I have not had a holiday for five years. The health professionals are very kind, but they seem to think just not being dead is a sufficient life, and they are wrong.

Dialysis drains you and makes you ill. The average life expectancy on starting dialysis is eight years, I have read.

Transplantation is a joke. I have a willing donor, but never get any answer -- just silly tests, prevarication and procrastination. It's been six months and they can't even decide if it's suitable to go ahead. I have no faith in them or their procedures.

I would never recommend anyone to offer to donate (this is in England by the way; maybe it's better in the US).

I know the decision to stop dialysis will be upsetting for my dear family and much loved partner, but I cannot just live this life to suit them. It has to be my choice.

By spirittwo — On Apr 16, 2013

I'm so sad to read many of these posts. My mom is 70 and recently started dialysis. Following a year of a swift decline of health, mental functioning and some scary hospitalizations, she is responding extremely favorably to dialysis. She has gained muscle and fat, gained energy and can cook, hula dance and curse my dad out like a champ -just like the old days!

Dialysis has saved her life and given her new options. But the one thing that she has always had and nothing can take away is an extremely positive attitude and wicked sense of humor. She does not behave like a sick person -to her doctors' bewilderment and amusement.

She keeps us laughing even during the scary parts and she is realistic about her life expectancy. She goes to dialysis fully made up early in the morning three times a week and often has lunch plans or plays cards later in the day. So go figure.

Even so, I would like to see her investigate a transplant. She is an older patient, but she has so much life to look forward to. I know that everyone's story is unique. I hope that people find strength in knowing that dialysis does not have to be only a painful and tedious chore, but a chance to savor life and make each moment count.

By anon330146 — On Apr 14, 2013

I am a 45 year old white male on dialysis now for 11 years. I refused three kidneys and removed myself from the transplant list due to my concern of the anti rejection meds. I have now placed myself back on the list due to complications.

I feel it's a no win situation, and either way you go its abnormal. I have three days a week of dialysis, or get a transplant and take the poison (anti rejection meds). I could go into the side effects of the meds but I don't want to scare anyone who has or will get a transplant.

By anon313615 — On Jan 13, 2013

Two days after my 50th birthday, I passed out in the floor a couple of times. Three days later I had a cath in my chest and did in-clinic dialysis for a few months. I hated it.

Now I am on home PD, with a month of manual and then you get a machine that cycles all night (or at least is supposed to), but it wakes me up constantly because of some malfunction. I can't work yet and would have to change careers even if I am able to do anything again.

I have a rare blood type, so a transfusion may not even be a viable option. I feel worse now than I did before. I'm ready to let it run its course naturally. I'm tired and my mental state is getting worse the longer I go on. I didn't want to die this young but why fight this until I'm old enough to die of something else anyway?

I'm not going to save the world or even make any huge contribution to life, so what's the point of going on anyway? My only real problem is telling my wife my thoughts that she will not understand.

By anon307884 — On Dec 07, 2012

My mother is 70 and has recently started dialysis from end stage renal failure. She had put off dialysis due to cancer that she has had for three years now, but it is stable.

Meanwhile, she decided to start dialysis, hoping that it would help her feel better (nausea, tired, edema in legs and feet, shortness of breath). She has been on it for a little over a week and I see no signs of improvement. She feels worse than before. My question to anyone is will this subside over time or is dialysis not working for her?

I know it is soon but her doctors all told her how much better she would feel. We are waiting. I just want to know if this is just her body trying to adjust to everything happening or is it a sign that dialysis is not for her. Thank you and God bless you all going through this.

By anon303005 — On Nov 12, 2012

My husband has been on dialysis since 2008 and wants to stop. We never knew why he had to start dialysis, since he's not a diabetic. They did believe it could have been from an dose of contrast when having a CT scan. His creatinine and BUN are elevated.

Lately, he's argued with me and feels he does not need dialysis. He is in denial. He has not gone for three weeks and I have not seen any symptoms beside irritability and sleeping a lot, but he's like this normally.

I feel like I'm living in limbo. I do not know from one day to the other if he is going to wake up. I still try to encourage him to go to dialysis on his scheduled days, but he gets angry with me.

Do I let him quit or do I get help? My children have tried to encourage him but he won't listen to them, either.

By anon287845 — On Aug 27, 2012

I am 34 years of age. I started on dialysis when I was 16. I had a transplant two years later, which never worked, so from then until a year ago, I was on dialysis. I so hated it and wanted to give up so much. Now I am living a new life after my transplant. I was told so many times it was hard to find a good match, but look at me now. I am glad I never gave up.

By anon279105 — On Jul 11, 2012

Yes, life is hard when a dear one in the family has to undergo dialysis. My mother-in-law is undergoing dialysis and my husband has left his job for a year now taking care of her, and taking her to the hospital twice a week. She is 65 and I don't know how long it will take. It is very difficult to see her suffering but there is no other option. Dear Lord, bless my mother-in-law and all the families who are undergoing the similar issues and give us faith and courage to help the loved ones.

By terryb — On Mar 03, 2012

I had a transplant 15 years ago. It's been hard on me, but I've been able to see my son grow from an infant into a gifted young music student. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

By anon252011 — On Mar 03, 2012

I'm 44 and I had a kidney transplant 15 years ago. The meds have been hard on me, especially the steroids. I'm not so sure I would have chosen this route had I known it could end up like this. I've had both hips replaced once and both knees replaced twice. I'm tired.

By anon243767 — On Jan 29, 2012

I say this: If you truly love someone it shouldn't make any difference at all, and if you have to ask that question, then you don't know what true love is. --TMC

You are so right, if you have to ask the question than you have no idea what true love is all about. I cared for my partner of 30 years right up until the end, and it was hard but I wouldn't trade it now for anything. He's been gone 10 years now and I miss him every day and what I wouldn't give to have him back clean or dirty just for a few hours but, I can't so I have these wonderful memories.

By anon238461 — On Jan 03, 2012

First, let me explain my background: I hold a double PhD in physical chemistry and biochemistry, and am also a hemodialysis client.

The WG article posted here is, sadly, biased against terminating dialysis to a degree I find disappointing.

Frankly, terminating dialysis, is in fact, the most common modality by which dialysis patients die (whether or not this termination is done formally or simply by reducing the number of treatments attended below a viable level).

Next, terminating dialysis secondary to cost is rarely done, at least in the United States, as these costs are borne by a combination of private and state medical plans. Likely those who can't afford the treatment in societies for which such payers are not available would likely never start (as indeed is the case in the UK and Canada - dialysis is rationed by age).

Finally, to the many other posters, dialysis is very hard for and on the client, and can be quite difficult for the families, as well. Those of you who have concerns surrounding the "burden," your loved one represents to you (I note one person above who states her husband is very ill, amputee, etc. who "watches TV all day,") are always welcome to discuss your concerns with your client's health care providers (under the assumption you are married to the client, a child of the client, or have other legal rights). Your concerns will be heard.

That said, though, I caution you against be overly ambitious in this regard. Life has a way of getting even, I have observed, so your attempts to lighten your burden may very well burden you more heavily.

One poster asked whether or not one can ever leave dialysis and live. The answer is often, yes, and depends on whether acute or chronic kidney disease is driving the dialysis. Acute disease often resolves to the point where dialysis is no longer needed; chronic illnesses, by definition, rarely do.

By anon236652 — On Dec 24, 2011

I am 58, and my live in 73 year old boyfriend of 16 years has always refused to marry me. We had been having some problems for about five years and I could see myself losing the want to be with him. Now he has been on dialysis for the past 20 months. He is getting mean and lectures me and my 13 year old grandson on everything he can, politics, cooking, cleaning, money, outings, vacations, you name it. He looks for things to be wrong and is very verbally abusive to both of us. I am finding that I am getting the same way toward him and don't like it. My grandson is showing signs of anger as well.

I really don't want to be here and wish I could leave, but I feel guilty because we did have a lot of good times and he will need me in the future. Isn't that what relationships are, being there for each other when needed?

By amypollick — On Nov 30, 2011

@Evan: First, I think you have to consider that there are 35 or so posts on this topic, and many thousands of people on dialysis. These people who posted, although their issues are certainly legitimate, do not represent all who are on dialysis.

As with any medical treatment, some people respond to, and tolerate, dialysis better than others. Some people never have any issues with it, while some never do have good luck with it.

As for travel, if you're in the U.S., it really isn't such a problem. You can, believe it or not, schedule your dialysis at centers where you're traveling. Your doctor can set it all up for you. I might get in an overseas trip now, if I were you, but in the U.S., it isn't a problem.

For now, I'd get a second opinion from a qualified nephrologist, if you haven't already done so, and get as healthy as you can, now. That will help you down the road, if you do end up having to take dialysis. Often, people who don't do well on dialysis have a host of other poorly-managed health issues and the dialysis just seems to start knocking down the dominoes. This is not always the case, by any means, obviously, but the healthier you are now, the better off you'll be later on. Good luck!

By anon232266 — On Nov 30, 2011

I am a 29 year old male, who is in stage four kidney failure. I'm very scared, especially after reading what everyone has to say about dialysis. Is it really so bad that death is better than living? Should I be worried that, at the age of 32, which is when I'm most likely to start dialysis, that my life will be over?

I was just wondering if I should spend all the money I've been saving all these years and vacation with my wife now and enjoy life while I still can, or is there hope? Should I be thinking about the future and living my life like I did before I had found out about my CKD and still save my money hoping that dialysis will be different for me?

I have gout extremely bad due to my CKD. It hurts very morning I get up and if dialysis is as bad as everyone is saying, then life will be even harder. It seems like everyone talking here has given up hope. I pray that a family member is match and I don't ever have to go onto dialysis, but if I have to go onto dialysis would it be better than dying at the age of 32, I hope. I just found out about my kidney failure and I also just got married three years ago and we don't vacation much (We had planned on one vacation every five years), but now I'm worried I won't even be able to go on our first vacation together. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone, Evan

By anon227415 — On Nov 04, 2011

My mom had hemo for a few months after being on peritoneal dialysis for eight years.

She chose to stop as it wasn't making her feel better and was affecting her heart to the point where she could hardly move.

She lasted one week after stopping, and for that week I had my mom back. She was funny, lucid, happy. We talked and cried. I had to respect her decision, as I know if she had any strength left in her body she would have stayed with me.

Please listen to what your family member wants. I miss my mom every day but I would have hated myself if I had begged her to stay with me and she suffered longer because I was selfish.

By anon173628 — On May 08, 2011

My mother is 63 years old right now. Recently her creatinine went up to 8.6 and doctors put her on dialysis (first time in her life) for five sessions. Now her creatinine has dropped to 2.0. According to all, it is remarkable response to the treatment. My question is that whether she still needs twice a week dialysis or it can be reduced? Please help.

By anon167659 — On Apr 13, 2011

My husband has become blind due to diabetes. He is also on dialysis three days a week, and suffers most days. Now since he has lost his vision, he says he has nothing to live for and wants to come off of kidney dialysis.

I'm his wife, and I don't really know what to say. I probably would not want to live without vision either. He also is an amputee.

By anon167175 — On Apr 11, 2011

I feel good when I don't go to dialysis. I have no problems eliminating and feel sick when I go. My doctor took me down to two days a week instead of three and decreased my time from 3 1/2 hours to 3 hours so far. I still feel sick. I really wonder if I have to do this. Has anyone ever taken themselves off and lived a good life?

By anon150392 — On Feb 07, 2011

I am a 31 year old New Zealand male living in Australia. I have lived with kidney problems since I was fifteen years old. Apparently the doctors (and we tried a few) didn't pick up on a uti when I was younger and I had been urinating my kidneys out for about five years. So it had been a slow, degenerative process up until I started dialysis in 2008.

I will always remember that first time vividly, as I was a twenty eight year old male who thought I was invincible and was in total denial. I refused to learn about dialysis and refused to go on the waiting list as my blood type is rare (the thing about kidney disease is, it's not like a cut that you can see and need to address. I just got more and more tired and dismissed it) with my wife by my side, watching the nurse set up the machine and the table then seeing those needles. Mind you, the starting ones are only 17 gauge. I eventually went to 14 gauge. It was scary as hell. It did hurt when she put the first one in, but I clearly remember crying out of realization more than the pain the first time my wife and I cried together and it was a real bonding moment for us. It was only two hours that first time.

The second time, I tried to suck it up, but this time, the pain was the catalyst for tears and I remember thinking “I'm not sure I can keep doing this,” but my wife was there with me for the first three months and she stayed with me the whole time even when it became five hours.

After four weeks, I decided if I was going to live, this was the way it was going to have to be, so I decided to learn everything I could. I was setting up my machine writing charts and even asked to needle myself. This was one of my greatest fears so I decided to tackle it head on. The first few times the nurse pierced the skin and I threaded the needle. Then the nurse said, “Today is your turn.” I really hadn't expected this and was taken aback. However, I had a go and found out something really cool: it doesn't hurt as much because I was too busy thinking about what I was doing. Wow! I thought this was definitely a good idea.

I was still working full time, though I had been demoted and had my work car taken from me, but you know what? I was alive and that was enough for me! Soon it just became routine: work from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., then dialysis at 4 p.m. until around 9:30 p.m. By the time I actually got off the machine then home to bed, sleep a day off dialysis, then do it again.

I must admit I was extremely lucky. I rarely had complications, my fistula was strong and I was still able to live a relatively normal life though one thing I'm sure anyone who has been on or is on will agree on is that fluid restriction! To me, it was the hardest thing about dialysis. My restriction was quite strict at 1 liter per day including food and it was torture. We tried all sorts of methods and the best I found was to have a one liter bottle of water, so I knew what I had drunk and what I had left, though I was usually overloaded. Damn, it was hard. I saw two friends die in front of me on the machine and that was really sad but made me more determined to live.

I had never really been a fan of alcohol and wondered in dismay when people came into dialysis drunk? They simply detoxed on the machine and had an instant hangover after about an hour or two, silly. Why drink alcohol at all? I too, had thoughts of stopping dialysis along the way many times in fact but my family and especially my wife kept me going. I had often discussed with her and she was supportive either way but I knew deep down she would be shattered if I gave up.

So, together we press on and for me now I have the luxury that every day is a bonus. I'm living and that's enough for me. Stay strong.

By anon143530 — On Jan 16, 2011

My aunt had been back on dialysis for about a year and a half. She was blessed with a kidney transplant about 18 years ago. Recently she suffered a few mild strokes and had to be put in the hospital. Her estranged daughter was contacted and put her in a nursing home.

My aunt's doctor and her daughter both decided to discontinue her dialysis. While trying to get legal help, we are hoping that her daughter will change her heart and her mind so that my aunt will be able to live. She is somewhat disoriented from the strokes, but she knows all of the family that has always been there and I agree that she is unable to make any decisions, but she wants to live.

She talks and laughs with her sister and feels that she needs to get up and regain her strength. To all who read this: Please make sure that your wishes are known to the people you are closest to.

By anon140213 — On Jan 06, 2011

I recently lost my darling wife less than a month ago. She was 47 years old and a type 2 diabetic. She had been taking dialysis a little over two years.

I remember back in February 2008 after coming out of the doctor's office, that by the end of the year she told me she was expected to lose the use of her kidneys as we walked out the medical building. It was difficult to fathom the thought at that time since she appeared to be a fully healthy person -- at least on the surface.

Fast forward to November 2008 is when she started dialysis, and she also found it very difficult to walk up the stairs to our bedroom. In order to make her comfortable, we put a bed downstairs which eventually was replaced by a medical air bed. March 2009, she had both legs amputated due to infections in her legs and before the year was out she had undergone an open heart surgery.

At this point, I was staying at home to take care of her and had nursing visits several times per week. Every time when we all thought she was doing good, it seemed like she had to go back into the hospital because of infections. The antibiotics given to her all seemed to work well in the beginning, but as time went on they became less effective and the infections grew stronger and making her more weaker.

Through it all, I must say she never ever complained about her situation, or became depressed about it. She took life one day at a time and was a true fighter, which she drew the admiration of many doctors who thought she would have gone about 15 months earlier.

I say this knowing that everyone reacts differently to this type of situation. Many people were even surprised that I was still with my wife under the circumstances, and how can you stand to clean up after her all the time since she has no use of her kidneys.

I say this: If you truly love someone it shouldn't make any difference at all, and if you have to ask that question, then you don't know what true love is. --TMC

By anon132029 — On Dec 05, 2010

My mother is 60 years old and she needs dialysis but the doctor in the hospital told her that her heart was too weak for it so she decided not to take dialysis.

Lately she's been very nauseous and in a lot of pain. First we were told she wouldn't be able to get dialysis because no facility would take her on the ventilator but the kidney doctor at the hospital said he would do the dialysis at the hospital where she is, but her doctor wouldn't let it happen.

I only wonder how much longer she is going to live like this. I work in the health care field and I see a lot of people on dialysis young and older in their 80's and all.

By anon123976 — On Nov 04, 2010

I've been on dialysis for three years after having two pancreas/kidney transplants, which each lasted almost five years, one in 95' and the other in 2002.

I am 50 now, and have been a type 1 Diabetic since age 13. Currently I have severe digestive problems, as everything goes through me, with horrible diarrhea. I also get nauseated and frequently throw up. My quality of life is so bad that I feel like stopping dialysis too.

I also feel like a horrible burden to my husband. I am so angry at God for allowing me to live with this damn disease, and I'm also angry at Him for not keeping my transplanted organs going much longer. I have friends who have had their pancreas/kidney transplants for 15 years. Couldn't have God kept my transplants going that long, as He is the creator of the universe? Other than going to heaven, I see no benefit to believing in Him. The only thing I have to say about life with type 1 diabetes is that it totally stinks, and I wouldn't wish type 1 Diabetes on my worst enemy.

Living with type 1 Diabetes and its complications is hell on earth!

By anon116079 — On Oct 05, 2010

This is to anon 41391, my dad was on dialysis for eight months and now off. Depending on your numbers, of course, there is always hope of getting off of dialysis, and how and why you were put on. It is not true when a doctor or someone says it's forever. It just depends on your circumstances. Hang in there.

By anon109937 — On Sep 09, 2010

I am 36 years old. My father is only 67. He has been on dialysis since April 2010. He has diabetes along with many other ailments. He has told me after the last hospitalization he's ready to stop. I support him 100 percent. I am also his main caregiver and have been for over three years.

My mother and brother do not support him! I feel they are being selfish. My dad will be restored in heaven -- something we cannot do. If medical technology wasn't what it is he would not be alive today. My parents have had 48 years together. We've been blessed to keep my dad this long! I pray each one finds peace with their choices. God Bless, Dreamweaver

By anon106826 — On Aug 27, 2010

my dad has been on dialysis for three years. He is 84 and has severe alzheimer's and has no idea when he is going through this.

We recently had to put him in the nursing home because he is too weak for us to lift and sometimes he forgets how to walk with his walker. Every day is a challenge to know where he is mentally and knowing his health is failing quickly.

He is losing two toes and the bottom of his foot is blackening from no circulation. Surgery is not an option.

I sometimes wonder how much longer does he need to be put through this? He is so weak! We just can't make the decision to stop dialysis. Keep him and us in your prayers. --hurting

By anon89714 — On Jun 11, 2010

I am a 35 year old female in Cols, OH and I have been on dialysis since the end of March. Overall, it been relatively painless, but it breaks my heart to see the older patients who have had amputations, and one patient died at our facility.

I don't like being on dialysis and get frustrated sometimes with feeling limited with my time and life, but am thankful that God is helping me through it and using it as a means to keep me alive.

I pray every time I go to treatment that God's presence will be with me and that he will comfort me, help me to have a painless treatment with no cramping, and that the time will go quickly.

I believe there are natural things we can do to have better treatments, like not putting on a lot of fluid (try only 1-3kg). When you put more on, you will cramp and possibly get headaches.

Also, try to go beyond the renal diet. Limit meat, eat lots of fruits and veggies, and avoid flour, sugar and dairy.

I encourage every person here to seek God about whether or not to be on dialysis. He knows everything and cares about you and your situation. I pray that God gives everyone here peace, direction, and comfort for them and their loved ones.

If you haven't accepted Jesus, He loves you and desperately wants to have a relationship with you. Take your hurts, depression, fear, sadness to Him. He died so you don't have to carry it. God bless you all!

By anon87597 — On May 31, 2010

My father has been on dialysis for three years, and he's 62 years old. A few days ago he said he wanted to stop going because he was "sick of it".

We talked to him and told him that it would hurt us if he did that, but now I'm thinking that maybe I shouldn't have talked him out of it -- this isn't about me and my feelings. This is about what he has to deal with. His quality of life is very limited and I wouldn't want to live like that either. Maybe it was that he needed to hear that he wasn't a burden on us. I feel for anyone that has to go through this. God bless all of you.

By anon83191 — On May 09, 2010

My father in law stopped dialysis a few years ago. He lingered only a few days. He did not complain of pain or nausea. He went on hospice. They gave him fetanol (spelling?) patches. He slipped into a coma and died.

He would have stayed on it as he was on at home. He decided he could not live this way anymore as he had gangrene in his toes. He was not a candidate for an amputation as he had a really bad heart. My husband thought of it as suicide. I didn't know what to think.

He was a deacon in the Catholic church and was told it was not immoral. He was 72. He had a long history of physical problems mainly due to diabetes. God bless you all. Don't decide to do this if you want to live but feel a burden. Get some emotional counseling. Chances are you aren't a burden at all. He wasn't. He never thought he was. He was just tired out. Love. Peace.

By anon77736 — On Apr 15, 2010

My husband has been on dialysis for around six years. I am his caretaker, and want to see him live. He has said to me a couple of times that he would like to quit treatment, but I talk to him and let him know I would rather take care of him than he doing that.

I would miss him too much. He is diabetic, can't see, has neuropathy, cabg years ago, a couple of strokes years ago, and now faces charcot's foot.

Still he is worthwhile to me. He's my company, my confidante, world. That's not to say I don't get tired, and do wonder what my life will be like when he is gone, but I really can't imagine my life without him.

His grandbabies love him and want to be with him. That said, it might be selfish, but we encourage him to continue treatment for us. It bothers me to hear people say their loved one is a burden.

The only thing I would love to have different is if I could work without him getting cut from benefits that pay for his dialysis. If someone could explain how to do that, you would help me tremendously.

By anon70144 — On Mar 12, 2010

my wife was suffering from chronic kidney disease. she is 26 years of age. before she started dialysis. we decided to use or try drink medicinal plants or herbal plants but it did not work for her. but then her creatinine was higher than before, goes to 2000. dondee

By anon62642 — On Jan 27, 2010

My name is Sallie and I live in Charlotte. My 65- year-old neighbor has been on dialysis five years. He has other health related problems so has decided to stop the treatment. He came home yesterday from the rehabilitation center to die in his own home. I will miss this gentleman very much. God bless you all.

By anon60945 — On Jan 17, 2010

My 84 year old father has decided to stop dialysis. He's been on it for three years. This past month he has not been eating. I have been his caregiver and I don't want him to go. But I do understand that this is his decision.

I don't want him to suffer. His blood pressure has been dropping extremely low during treatment. I will have hospice come in to make sure he will be comfortable. God please give me strength.

By anon60094 — On Jan 12, 2010

My mom is on dialysis and she is getting more sick. I don't want her to die but I don't want her to suffer either. I hope I could help all of you in some way.

I just know you need to talk to God and ask him your wishes and trust him. He is the only one that can give life and take it away. Your families love you even if they feel tired and hopeless.

I don't know how you feel or what you are going through but God always answers our prayers but you have to trust him and open your heart to him. All life is beautiful you are beautiful!

By anon55529 — On Dec 08, 2009

i am a 37 year old male. i was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in 2002. i began dialysis in 2007. i used to have an okay life, i had a decent job which i enjoyed, a house, a girlfriend, things were fine.

shortly after i began dialysis i was fired from my job because they didn't like the fact that i had to leave work early three days a week for my treatments. as a result i lost my house and had to move into my brother's basement. i am now on permanent disability.

due to the problems in my life my girlfriend left me. then depression set in. i am always tired, but sleep is difficult. my life has been destroyed. i don't enjoy anything anymore. i am constantly desperate for a drink of water but because of my failed kidneys i can't, and have to just live in a state of constant thirst.

i am utterly miserable and unhappy. the best case scenario is getting a kidney transplant, and then losing it again once medicare stops paying for the anti-rejection medication. i think about suicide every waking minute of every day and i am sure that eventually i will do it.

i know that skipping dialysis makes me very nauseous, so stopping treatment would not be a pleasant way to go.

By anon52077 — On Nov 11, 2009

I may be the exception to the rule, but I'm 42 and had been on dialysis for two years when I had finally had enough. I took myself off of dialysis, but I also have a great faith in Jesus and healing.

In the two years under medical care, I found that they had done me more harm than good. I can't say this is the best decision for anyone else, but I can't see me ever hooking back up to a machine of my own free will. I am more tired than I used to be and take a nap every day, but I still work in the yard and clean my home. I'd rather have my freedom. No one seems to address the loss of freedom when they talk about dialysis.

By anon44649 — On Sep 09, 2009

Anon44648, you will need to talk with your doctor about the effects of dropping a day from you dialysis schedule. He or she can give you a better idea of the effects of that decision.

By anon44648 — On Sep 09, 2009

what will happen if I go from 3 days a week dialysis to 2 days a week?

By anon41391 — On Aug 14, 2009

My brother has been on dialysis for about 5 months following 2 trips to the cath lab and then CABGx2 in two days. He was told yesterday that his kidney function has improved to the point that he doesn't need dialysis and longer. Is this even possible? I can't find information that supports anything but " it's forever".

By anon39523 — On Aug 02, 2009

Hi. I have been on dialysis for 8 weeks now and finding it hard to come to terms with. i am thinking of stopping dialysis because i have so many health issues. I have diabetes, neuropathy in feet and can hardly walk. i am registered partially sighted and i have not long been diagnosed with cancer. I live on my own and find it hard to cope when I've been on dialysis and sometimes the day after because it makes me feel sick then I end up in bed so the days not on dialysis I still don't feel well. I don't have a social life so it makes you wonder what is the point in being here. i am 45 years of age.

By anon34316 — On Jun 20, 2009

My father who is 83yrs.old and has been on dialysis for almost 11 years has told me he is stopping treatment. I am his caregiver, taking him back and forth for treatments, doctor appt, errands, cooking and cleaning for him. As I understand this is his decision, I was at first angry at him, how could he do this to me? I have sacrificed so much for his care. But then I realized, its not about me, it's his life. My question is, what am I to expect? Will he suffer, be in pain, how much time do we have left with him? So many emotions..

By anon30904 — On Apr 26, 2009

My best friend stopped dialysis after 5 years she also was blind. She was 47 when she passed away. Our pastor came to talk to her she said please don't try to talk me out of this, I am tired of putting my family threw this. He just sat and prayed with her.

She stopped the dialysis and within 5 days she started vomiting blood. Her younger sister was taking care of her at this point and I could see the hurt in her eyes that she wanted to go this way. She only lived 9 days and she was gone, but trust me, it was not peaceful.

My dad is now going threw dialysis and I make a point to tell him how much I want him around, but I don't want him in pain. He is tired a lot. He also has heart trouble.

I hope you find what is best for you and your family. God Bless You and be with you.

Debbie and Geri's Friend.

By anon19756 — On Oct 18, 2008

If your husband is such a burden I believe you should put him in a nursing home. Urging him to stop dialysis is not a good thing for you to do because you are going to eventually feel guilty about that decision.

I am in the medical field and I have been told that when someone on dialysis stops the treatment it can be very painful but you will eventually lapse into a coma. I don't really know if you would feel pain in a coma. But I imagine if missing one treatment makes you nauseated then it may not be the way to go. Unless you can go into a drug induced coma under medical supervision.

Personally, I do not believe I would choose dialysis. i have seen so many people suffer that I can't imagine doing that to myself. But I won't know until it happens.

By anon18019 — On Sep 12, 2008

My mom has kidney failure, and she's 48. She's been on dialysis for a little while, and she's in a nursing home now. It looks like she'll be going this way for a long time, until she wants to stop dialysis. I've thought about asking her, since she seems to not enjoy living in a nursing home, and life in general. But I'm not sure if I could choke out the words. Does anybody know anybody who's been on dialysis and stopped? How bad was it, if you do know somebody?

By anon11254 — On Apr 11, 2008

my husband is beginning his 7th year on dialysis, and has become a real burden to me, I am trying to get him to stop dialysis. He is a double amputee, does not do anything but watch TV. Lately has lost control of his bowels. There's not much left for him...

Can anyone help?

By masecvs — On May 16, 2007

I'm a 41 year old male who has been on hemodialysis for five years now. In addition to having ESRD, I also have Hep C, but my liver seems to be doing okay and my viral load is low. OHSU, the hospital my insurance is affilliated with won't consider doing the transplant until the liver needs replacing too. From what I've read and been told by their Hep specialist, only a small percentage of folks with Cronic Hep C ever get to the point where they warrant a transplant. So it looks like I'm SOL regarding ever getting the organs I need. Because of the available dialysis schedule in this area, I've had to go on permanent disability. I keep getting ill with opportunistic infections, one of which has already led to getting a toe and some bone amputated. And to top things off I've found out today that I'm legally blind - because of my field of vision, not center vision.

I feel like a complete burden to my family and stopping dialysis is beginning to look more and more attractive an option. Especially since I heard that it's a relatively peaceful way to go. This surprises me because whenever I've been diagnosed with having poor dialysis, it's been while I've had non-stop nauseau and vomiting.

Thannks for letting me vent -- anyone with any thoughts, I'd be very interested in hearing them.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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