By Charlotte Huff
From the start, Mat Risher swore that dialysis wouldn’t upend his life. He had been working at a software company, conducting research on a car-racing simulator, when kidney damage from lupus forced him to start the blood-filtering treatments three times a week.
Five years have slipped by, and the sessions have sapped his resolve. The 33-year-old now works part-time. On good days, he enjoys trying out new recipes. On bad days, his lupus flares up and the strain of incessant dialysis leaves him drained. “The times in between [dialysis days], I have no social life, no dating life,” says Risher, who lives just outside Seattle, Washington. “I have become a recluse in my room.”
Risher is relatively fortunate; he has access to treatment, whereas up to seven million people could die each year without getting such care1. But Risher, a member of a patient advisory board at Seattle’s Center for Dialysis Innovation (CDI), is impatient for a more live-able option than dialysis — which has remained largely the same for 50 years.
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