65 years old - Hillsdale, Michigan
This Michigan Patient Inherited a Love of Walking from Her Father
Diana Wise learned to enjoy walking with her father 30 years ago, when he was on dialysis and his doctors suggested he take up the activity. Ten years after his death, she still regularly follows in his footsteps as part of her healthy lifestyle.
Today, Diana is the one on dialysis as a result of polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition that her father also had. But her passion for walking has helped her stay active and has given her strength to overcome various health issues, and lose a significant amount of weight along the way.
She walks year-round, at least four days a week, for four to five miles. Occasionally in the winter, she uses a nearby school’s indoor track, but she walks outdoors whenever possible. She also mows the lawn and helps care for her grandson.
Even though her kidney disease was diagnosed when she was 24, she didn’t need dialysis until seven years ago. Then she had to virtually re-learn how to walk after a very serious case of peritonitis (abdominal infection). Not only did she accomplish that, she also lost 85 pounds, thanks to an ambitious walking regimen, and her determination to stick to her recommended renal diet.
Diana’s tastes have changed, along with her diet, since she started dialysis. She used to enjoy eating out, but now prepares most meals – including chicken and rice dishes and lots of hard-boiled eggs and tuna – at home. She admits that her biggest weakness is cheese, whose high phosphorus content allows her to eat it only occasionally. So now she buys it pre-cut, and eats tiny pieces of it with crackers.
Physical exercise not only helps her feel better, it takes her mind off her health challenges. “When I’m not at the facility getting treatment, I don’t even think about it,” she says. “It helps me have a positive, forward-thinking outlook on life.”