Leon's Story: Dialysis Patient

Jun 6, 2019

St. Mary’s Medical Center Dialysis Patient Testimonial: Leon Francis

Leon Francis, Dialysis Patient, St. Mary's Medical Center

Leon Francis celebrating 20th anniversaryAt 40 years of age, Leon Francis seemed to be a typical, healthy adult. He was fairly active, maintained his home and had three young children to keep up with. Although Leon’s family had a history of high blood pressure, he’d never experienced any significant health issues. Until one day he noticed a few unusual symptoms manifesting simultaneously.

“All of a sudden my appetite disappeared, I couldn’t urinate and I was experiencing shortness of breath,” shares Leon. “These symptoms carried on for a couple of days, so I went to the emergency department at St. Mary’s Medical Center to help find the root of the problem.”

The team at the hospital’s emergency department discovered that his blood pressure was severely elevated and, because it hadn’t been detected and treated in a timely manner, had caused significant kidney damage. This meant that Leon, who hadn’t even reached middle age, would have to rely on dialysis treatment for the rest of his life. Rather than allowing this diagnosis to defeat him, he was immediately determined to follow his treatment plan as strictly as possible to continue his active lifestyle.

Shortly after his visit to the emergency department, Leon started his treatment at the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Dialysis Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Thanks to his discipline and the highly-trained dialysis team, he has received treatment for the last 20 years. Leon and his caregivers have been so successful that he’s only been hospitalized once during the last two decades. He has witnessed firsthand the numerous structural and staffing changes the hospital has been through with one factor remaining constant: the high level of care he receives. Leon even tries to advise current patients on how they can have success stories similar to his.

“I’ve met countless staff members and patients who help make my dialysis days brighter, whether it’s through a friendly smile, pleasant conversation or making sure I have everything I need to be successful with my treatment,” he says. “Even though dialysis has become such a huge part of my life, I refuse to let it define me. When I’m here, I’m a patient. But when I leave, I’m Leon Francis.”