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Peritoneal Dialysis Patient Still Lives a Life as Sweet as Honey

PD patient Zheng Miaozhong holds a cup of honey from his honeybee business.

From postman to beekeeper, Zheng Miaozhong found an opportunity to lead a full and sweet life while undergoing peritoneal dialysis to treat his kidney disease.

In Pan-An County, Zhejiang Province of China, Zheng Miaozhong lived a happy but simple life as a postman in his village. He was content with his job and enjoyed spending time with his family. However, in 2005, a hospital visit caused a disruption to the normal life Zheng had known.

Upon Zheng’s visit to the hospital, he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The news immediately brought financial concerns for Zheng, as well as anxieties about who would care for his elderly parents and young daughter. Zheng worried that he would not be able to support the people he loved the most.

In 2007, Zheng accepted his doctor’s advice to begin continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) therapy. With CAPD therapy, the body’s peritoneum is used as a filter membrane to remove toxins in the blood through a series of daily fluid exchanges. Initially, Zheng’s exchanges occurred three to four times each day at home, while he went about his daily life.

As Zheng continued CAPD therapy, his former burdens were also lessened. He began feeling well enough to work again, as the therapy could be done on his own time at work or at home, and his family’s financial condition improved as a result. Zheng began to feel satisfied again, a feeling that was beyond his imagination when he first learned of his disease.

After consulting with friends, Zheng decided to actively pursue his passion. Using the natural resources of the mountains in his village, he began to raise local honeybees. To help support his new business adventure, Zheng received a grant from the “Dream Fulfillment” program led by China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, supported in part by the Baxter International Foundation.

“I am very thankful to PD therapy for giving my life back and enabling me to fulfill my dream.”

- Zheng Miaozhong

Today, Zheng’s honeybee business is booming, growing from 20 buckets of honey at the start of his venture to more than 60 buckets today, providing a steady income for him and his family. In addition to his newfound business success, his confidence is also continuing to thrive as he looks to the future with hope.

“In the spring, when flowers are blossoming, there’s a lot of nectar,” Zheng said. “And when it’s time to harvest the honey, my mind becomes sweet to see all the honey pouring out of it.”

Zheng also spends his time playing chess and climbing mountains, though his favorite activity is still watching the bees as they fly in and out of their hives. He notes the honeybees are always sure to lift his mood, no matter what.

“I am very thankful to PD therapy for giving my life back and enabling me to fulfill my dream,” Zheng said. “As long as I do something sincerely for the bees, the bees will also give me something sweet in return. Life is just like that.”