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A former college football player at nearby Cheney University, Malachi worked around Philadelphia on his own hours as an independent carpenter and general contractor. Always in top shape, Malachi never felt that his health could be a concern.
Ten years ago Malachi checked into the emergency room after experiencing discomfort while sleeping. Days later, found himself hooked up to a dialysis machine-he had been diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease, or chronic kidney failure.
While his family had a history of kidney disease, Malachi never envisioned it could affect him. “The diagnosis came as a total surprise,” he explains. “My father had kidney disease but I was in good shape and never thought this would happen to me.”
A devoted father and husband, Malachi has three children with his wife Dana-Malari (16) Michelle (15) and Malisha (12). He describes his children and wife as “my mainstay” and has taken great strength from the support his family has given.
Fresenius Medical Care in Mount Airy, PA is a self-dialyzing clinic. Patients are given hands on instruction and training in dialysis in hopes of being able to eventually hook themselves up to the machine without the assistance of nurses and technicians. Malachi trained for ten months with the help of the staff at Fresenius and eventually was able to perform his own dialysis at the facility: “The staff keeps us busy, they keep us entertained,” he explains. “But more than that you can really tell they care. They helped me come to grips with how kidney disease was going to affect my life from then on out.”
The first few years on dialysis created stark changes in Malachi’s life. Forced to dialyze 3 days a week for hours at a time, Malachi’s work as an independent carpenter and contractor suffered. He began performing lighter carpentry work and became a seller on eBay-anything that would fit around his dialysis schedule.
Finally, his big break came in 2001 when he found himself at the top of the transplant list, ready to receive a cadaveric transplant. Transplant surgery in 2001 began a long five year road. “The kidney I received simply wasn’t a good match,” says Malachi. “There were times during that transplant that I could not work at all.”
On November 11, 2006, Malachi went back on dialysis at the Fresenius facility in Mount Airy. Determined to have some control over his weekly schedule, he enrolled in a home dialysis training program. These programs teach dialysis patients the skills needed to setup and run their own personal dialysis machine out of the comfort of their own home.
Today, Malachi’s training is complete. His new personal dialysis machine is sitting in his home waiting to finally be turned on in a few days. “Home dialysis gives me the opportunity to dialyze in the evening when dialysis centers are closed and then I can be more active during the day. It gives me the freedom I need and the freedom I want and it restores the quality of my life by giving me some level of normalcy.”
Malachi envisions new opportunities opening up for him as an independent contractor around the Philadelphia area. More importantly he looks forward to being able to attend more of his daughters’ high school tennis matches. He feels that for the first time in ten years he will be able to fully live his life – on his own schedule.