The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 13, 2013

Dialysis patients share joy of life through support group


HOBGOOD — Two kidney dialysis patients – Diana Boddie of Tarboro and William Weaver of Princeville – are sharing their joy of life with others, through a “Miracle Dialysis Support Group.”

Boddie recalls talking to her cousin, who was struggling with kidney problems and cancer, and him telling her, “I’m waiting to die.”

Boddie told her cousin, “No, you’re waiting on a miracle, because it’s a miracle to be alive.”

“I had to let him know God can do anything, because he’s a miracle worker,” Boddie said.

She lives her everyday life according to that philosophy, even on days when she feels tired after being hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine for hours, and encourages others to have the same outlook.

“Whatever I may be going through, someone else may be going through the same thing. That’s what we’re there for – to bear one another’s burdens,” Boddie said. “We laugh together, we cry together, we pray together.”

The “Miracle Dialysis Support Group” meets at 6 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at the Oakland House at 708 Edmondson Ave. The group’s next meeting is this Thursday. Different speakers come to the group every week, and Boddie said the “floor is open” to anyone who wants to talk about their experiences with the group. If no one else speaks, group co-founder Weaver is sure to start telling jokes or stories.

“I can go up to anybody and I can talk to them,” said 74-year-old Weaver, with a twinkle in his eye and a grin on his face. His wife Emma Weaver nodded her head in agreement and said usually by the end of the conversation, the other person is smiling.

Judging from Weaver’s jolly demeanor, it’s hard to believe he spends four hours three days per week hooked up to a dialysis machine, and takes a bag full of medications every morning and every night.

“The Lord’s going to heal me,” Weaver said. “He’s going to work a miracle.”

In the mean time, Weaver is cheering others on dialysis. He recalls his first time going in for dialysis, seeing the people hooked up to the machines, and thinking, “I can’t do this!”

An intravenous needle takes the blood out of one of your arms, filters it through a machine, and another IV filters the blood back into your other arm, Weaver explained.

“The first day I stayed two hours. The next day I stayed four hours. It was tough,” he said.

He remembers getting discouraged and telling the healthcare worker at Davita, 
”I’d rather die than be on those machines…I told her I didn’t want to be a burden to nobody.”

The healthcare worker offered supportive words to Weaver, and called his pastor, George Terry, of Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church. They began the dialysis support group, along with Boddie.

Boddie had a similar life changing experience when she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2010. She had to quit her job as a Certified Nursing Assistant and go through dialysis three times a week, for nearly four hours at a time.

“It was sad; it was emotional,” she said. “At the age of 52, when I was diagnosed with this disease, I learned that my life had to be changed all the way around.”

Boddie has since accepted the change in lifestyle that comes with chronic kidney disease and said she is thankful every day she wakes up.

“With my family that supported me, it’s alright. With God’s grace and mercy, it’s alright. Life is good,” Boddie said.

Weaver wants people to know that they can live with chronic kidney disease.

“It’s not the end of the road,” he said.

Emma Weaver said the Miracle Dialysis Support Group is open to anyone experiencing kidney problems, heart problems or stroke and their family members. Those in need of transportation to the group meetings should call Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church at 823-4483.