(BPT) - When Fallon Bell was only 19 years old, she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, the same disease that both her mother and aunt lived with. Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is when a person’s kidneys no longer provide the function of filtering toxins from the blood. Shortly after her CKD diagnosis, Bell began dialysis, which performed the function of her kidneys. Dialysis is a necessary, life-saving treatment when the kidneys are no longer able to function, but can be demanding because patients usually require treatment three times a week, four hours at a time.
Despite her diagnosis, Bell continued to dialyze while working full-time and finishing her bachelor’s degree in business. She continued her treatment for six years until her name was chosen from the kidney transplant list. Bell finally received her first kidney transplant but she felt there was still something missing in her life. Her experiences with dialysis ignited a passion. Bell wanted to be a nurse, so she went back to school and worked toward becoming a registered nurse.
Nursing school was like nothing Bell experienced before. She spent countless hours in the library and long hours in hospitals training — all while trying to balance other aspects of her life. Bell was so close to her nursing degree, she could taste it. However, two months before Bell was set to graduate, her body rejected her kidney transplant and Bell was forced to go back on dialysis treatment and on the kidney transplant list. Even though Bell had to begin dialysis again, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Despite the hours she spent dialyzing, Bell didn’t let it stop the plan she created for herself. She worked tirelessly during her 12-hour night shifts in the hospital and then immediately followed it with her own dialysis treatment. Bell dialyzed at a DaVita dialysis center, which was flexible with her busy nursing schedule. She became enthralled with the team and began to ask them questions about dialysis. One afternoon, Bell received a phone call; she matched with a kidney donor. Bell received her transplant and was able to stop dialysis.
As Bell continued her work as a nurse, she realized the passion she had to be part of the DaVita community. Being a patient on and off, she understood the triumphs and tribulations of requiring dialysis treatment multiple times a week. She acknowledges that providing high-quality care for her patients has always been her vocation and continues to work for DaVita Kidney Care in Chicago as a peritoneal dialysis nurse. She feels rewarded by her work because she gets the chance to give back to patients, just as her teammates were able to do for her years before.
To learn more about nursing at DaVita, visit Careers.DaVita.com\Nursing.