Bellevue woman battles kidney disease in two Washingtons

For 20 years, Bellevue resident Robin Franzi worked as a corporate financial analyst. Then two years ago, she learned her kidneys were failing.

  • Monday, March 31, 2014 11:08am
  • News

Robin Franzi is attached to a dialysis machine about four hours a day

By Cynthia Flash

Special to the Bellevue Reporter

For 20 years, Bellevue resident Robin Franzi worked as a corporate financial analyst. Then two years ago, she learned her kidneys were failing.

“Sheer exhaustion,” is how she explains it. “But because of the way I was pushing myself and always did, I had been exhausted for a long time and had ignored it.”

When she could no longer ignore it, she went to see her doctor and learned an autoimmune disease had damaged her kidneys so badly that she needed to start dialysis, the treatment that keeps a person alive by cleaning the blood when kidneys can’t.

That was Mother’s Day weekend 2012. Now, nearly two years later, the Northwest Kidney Centers patient gives herself dialysis at home. Now, she said, that is her “job.” It’s also a way for her to take control of her medical treatment.

During March, National Kidney Health Month, Franzi took control another way — by flying to Washington, D.C., as a volunteer with Dialysis Patient Citizens to lobby Congress to maintain funding for kidney patients now and in the future.

She made arrangements to receive dialysis treatments at a clinic two of the five days she was there. The rest of the time she met with representatives from Washington state and Utah — seven in one day.

“It was like Shark Tank on Groundhog Day on fast forward,” she said of the whirlwind experience, all at a blustery 30 degrees.

This was Franzi’s second trip to the nation’s capitol to lobby for kidney patients. She believes speaking out is as important as knowing the facts about kidney disease. Facts like these:

One in seven adult Americans — more than 30 million people — have chronic kidney disease; most don’t know it.

Chronic kidney disease is progressive and irreversible; it can be slowed down with nutrition, exercise and medication.

Simple tests at a doctor’s office can detect kidney disease in early stages, before the damage is severe. Ask your caregiver if you are at risk.

“Kidney disease hits all ages, shapes, forms and there’s many types,” Franzi said. “It often goes undetected for a long time. Pay attention, learn what your kidneys do and make sure they’re functioning. I can’t articulate well what it’s like to not have them. You don’t want to find out.”

And she believes through research care can be improved. That’s why she put herself out there as a patient lobbyist. “I felt it was very important to be there. I felt fortunate to be a voice for other patients who weren’t able to be there that week,” she said.

For more information about kidney disease, visit www.nwkidney.org.

 

Cynthia Flash lives in Bellevue.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Bellevue City Hall. Photo courtesy city of Bellevue
Open seat on East Bellevue Community Council

Applications are due by Friday, July 24

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Free masks at the Bellevue Salvation Army. Courtesy photo
Free mask pickup for Bellevue residents

New dates and times for mask distribution this week

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Construction begins for Downtown Park entrance

The previously delayed entryway project is expected to be finished early 2021

Most Read