Ms. Dori Schatell and Dr. John Agar use a novel and unique approach to successfully take on the herculean task of explaining treatment options for chronic kidney disease when an individual needs dialysis. In so doing, they have introduced a new frontier in dialysis education.

Another possible title for this comprehensive book is “Everything you always wanted to know about dialysis, but were afraid to ask.”  The book’s cover art illustrates that initial feeling of dread when the doctor first mentions that daunting word “dialysis.” Just the word itself, “dialysis” sounds intimidating and strikes fear in people who hear it, let alone know what it is and have to consider it as a necessary treatment for themselves or loved ones. The visceral feelings of panic and fear are overwhelming. Not everyone is willing to face the issues head-on in this new chapter of life. There are an abundance of questions.

The book’s Foreword contains a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “ Knowledge is an antidote to fear.”  For the reader new to the world of dialysis, fear coupled with learning is the start of the process to effectively deal with a chronic illness. Dialysis is a life support treatment that will rearrange your life and possibly the life of your family. For the patient and seasoned renal professional, reading this book provides an overview as well as the details involved in each treatment choice.

The authors cover the litany of challenges dialysis presents and offer a myriad of possible solutions. Most patients perform in-center dialysis. With appropriate and timely education, patients can be motivated to choose alternative forms of home therapy, which gives them control over their treatment and helps them to live longer and healthier lives by participating in their own care.

In addition to treatment choices, Ms. Schatell and Dr. Agar include chapters in the book on how the ESRD Program and Medicare operates, how to choose a dialysis clinic, and how to protect yourself in the hospital. A glossary, resource guide and index conclude the book.

Every patient and dialysis professional would benefit from a copy of this book. It is written as a step-by-step reference guide for people new to the dialysis world and for the experienced healthcare provider. The authors explain the pros and cons of each treatment and accurately demonstrate the day-to-day impact dialysis has on patients. Furthermore, many suggestions and resources are provided to solve common treatment problems.

Ongoing learning is the key to effectively dealing with a chronic illness. If you only have one book on dialysis, this is the one to keep nearby. It is your all-in-one guide for learning the basics of chronic kidney disease treatment and revisiting your choices and resources as your needs change and evolve. As I learned, many existing dialysis patients and their families are unaware of their options and what is available for basic problem solving. This is the book to help them take control of their treatment no matter what stage they find themselves in.

–– Jennifer Castillo









“Help, I Need Dialysis!  How to Have a Good Future with Kidney Disease”

Authors: Dorian Schatell, MS and John Agar, MD

355 pages

$14.99 + s&h (hard copy) at

$8.99 (digital edition) at