Stories from our Dialysis Community


“Remember to be a good listener…”

Patient Story with Karen Tolbert-Givens-Macomb Regional Dialysis Center

Mrs. Karen Tolbert-Givens is an exceptional woman who wears many hats-she is a salon owner, wife, mother, foster mother, and home hemodialysis patient at MRDC. From the moment you meet her,  you can tell she has a heart of gold and exuberates so much strength and energy. Mrs. Givens has been on dialysis since 2006. She has been on in-center, PD, home hemodialysis, and has even had a transplant. She says when she first found out she would be on dialysis she was scared that she would lose her independence. Her attitude has changed since then and she now knows that nothing will stop her from living her life to the fullest. When days get a little tough she always remembers her motto -“I control it, it does not control me.” Mrs. Givens thanks the wonderful GHS team members for the level of comfort, knowing she is trained well in home dialysis. She says that Michelle Woods and Brenda McGowan at West Pavilion Home Dialysis trained her so well that “she felt she could train someone on how to do this”. She also says that Dr. Ayyoub and her team at MRDC are phenomenal. She remarks that she enjoys her visits with Dr. Ayyoub because they find time to chat and have lots of laughs, as well as talk about the important stuff. She wants all team members to know that what they do does make a difference. “Sometimes you are the only one that we as patients have as a listener, so remember to be a good listener. Sometimes your warm smile is the only one we may see for the day, so remember to make us feel that we are a person and make it personal.” She also says how important that chairside manners are and that the MRDC team does a great job at them. Her advice to other patients who are considering home dialysis is to “not be intimidated. It gets easier day to day. As long as you pace yourself, you will figure it out.” Mrs. Givens has been married for 27 years. She and her husband have been foster parents for the past 12 years. They have 2 children of their own and have adopted 3 of their foster children. They are also currently fostering a 6 year old boy who is “the light of their day”. They love spending quality time together as a family and are big on keeping the faith and fundamentals of family important in all of their children’s lives. They spend their free time going to church, playing lots of sports, watching movies, and playing games.

              William mitchell

 A Perfect Match

Patient Story with William Mitchell – St. Joseph Dialysis

Mr. William Mitchell  has been a patient at St. Joseph Dialysis for 8 months. Mr. Mitchell received a living donor kidney from his sister 16 years ago. About a year ago he received news that it was failing and that he would need to start dialysis soon. Mr. Mitchell was not happy to lose so many of the freedoms that he enjoys, especially traveling to his favorite destination spot – Myrtle Beach. He thanks God for the opportunity to live and for his wonderful support system, especially his wife Pam. William and Pam got married 9 years ago. When they received the news that Mr. Mitchell’s transplanted kidney was not  doing well, Pam wanted to be tested to see if she was a donor match. With the understanding that the odds were not in her favor, she began the journey and waiting periods of the testing process. Pam did receive news that she is a match and is undergoing  some of the final processes of testing. They are hopeful for a transplant in the near future. In the meantime, Mr. Mitchell says that he is happy that he is in such great care at St. Joe’s. “Dr. Master and the entire team really show that they care. I am thankful for all of the services that you do and the care that you give me. I know I am in good hands here.” As they await the news of the testing results, Mr. Mitchell says he makes the best of it. He has made friends with a lot of the team and other patients. He is thankful for the machine and team that are keeping him alive.  He knows that he is not going to give up and thanks the whole team at St. Joe’s for having his best interests in mind.



“Your attitude means everything.”

Patient Story with Alice Sarouhanian- St. Mary Dialysis

Alice Sarouhanian is a sweet, spirited and talented craftswoman who also happens to be a patient at St. Mary Dialysis. Ms. Sarouhanian has been on dialysis for a little over 3 years and has been receiving her treatments at St. Mary’s for a few months now. Her daughter,  Marla, states that they enjoy the unit because of it’s smaller, “boutique” like atmosphere and love that they always get welcomed with a warming smile from Rhonda, (St. Mary’s Registry Clerk) and other team members. Alice says that dialysis has made her live her life more carefully by watching her diet and daily routine, but won’t let it stop her from enjoying life. She remarks that she needs to stay as healthy as she can for her family. She also says that she feels she  is lucky to be alive because of dialysis and she will make the best of the life she is given. Alice states that “your attitude is the most important thing and staying positive is something that everyone needs to do.” She also remarks that she remembers to look on the bright side and not think that she is worse off than she really is. In her free time, Alice enjoys spending time with her 3 daughters-Karla, Sheila, Marla- and making people smile. She enjoys making crafts—mostly festive buttons and magnets—and attending craft fairs. Alice even persuaded her daughter  Marla, who is a talented flutist, to visit St. Mary’s and play some holiday songs for everyone. Alice is an inspiration on how to keep a positive attitude even when the going gets tough.





“They treat you like family here”

Patient Story with Iris Hayes-Taylor Dialysis

They say that smiles are contagious and after meeting Miss Iris Hayes, a    patient at Taylor Dialysis, I definitely agree. Her energy for life and her big smile could light up any room, which is exactly what she does when she comes to Taylor Dialysis.  Miss Hayes has been on dialysis since June, 2015 and is not letting it stop her from living her life. Miss Hayes still works full time as an account clerk for the Sheriff’s office. She admits that some days are harder than others, but she wants to keep doing it for as long as she can. She says she knows that she has to “make dialysis a priority now” but still wants to be able to enjoy her life. Miss Hayes enjoys being part of our Greenfield family and loves her Taylor Dialysis team. She remarks that “They treat you like family and like an individual here and that’s really important to me. I can’t believe how quickly everyone learned my name and made me feel comfortable.”  She is also happy that she has made friends with other patients at the unit. She says “It’s nice to share our stories and relate to each other.” Miss Hayes states that she is fortunate that she has found a Doctor who she can trust and has built a wonderful relationship with-Dr. Chaudhry.  She says that from the first time she met him, she liked him. He has helped bring her  numbers and spirits up.  She says that he told her that “he believed that she was a fighter” and those words couldn’t be more true. Miss Hayes says that she loves life and knows that the Lord gives her tests and that “this is just something else that I have to do.”  In her free time, she enjoys reading, bowling,  movies, hanging out with the girls and watching tennis. She remarks that there is something about tennis and how you can tell that they put all that they have got into it. After meeting Miss Hayes, I can say that I think she is her own kind of tennis player and puts all that she has into everything she does as well.  We are lucky to have Miss Hayes’ bright smile and positive attitude as part of our GHS family.


“Dialysis gives me life again.”

Patient Story with Pastor Robert Butts-Eastpointe Dialysis

Pastor Robert Butts is a beloved pastor, husband, father, grandfather, and patient at Eastpointe Dialysis.  Pastor Butts said that his whole world changed in 2010 when he first found out that he had to begin dialysis treatments. Pastor Butts prayed to God and found a way to bring positivity to the sudden change that happened in his life. He knows “that he can trust God for everything” and asked him for strength for him and his family.  Pastor Butts loves his Eastpointe Dialysis team, who he refers to as more like family. He says that he “ knows that they take great care of me and am in great hands.”  Pastor Butts remarks that he is happy that they are so informative and likes that they keep him on his toes by quizzing him to make sure he is paying attention. He says, “I know it is for my own good and it makes me feel good when I know that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing to keep me as healthy as possible.” He also enjoys going to support groups with others on dialysis. He is so happy that LMSW, Jane Omilian, shared the information regarding groups because it has really helped him and his family realize that they are not alone. Pastor Butts  appreciates the opportunity to share stories and experiences with others who are going through a similar situations that he is. He is also thankful for his amazing support system at home. He smiles and remarks,  “My wife is certainly something special and is my biggest supporter.” Pastor Butts still does sermon every Sunday morning and uses his experience with dialysis to help enrich the lives of others. He even travels to Memphis every year for a ministry conference and receives treatments there for his stay. He is a true inspiration to always keep your faith and never lose hope. Thank you for being a part of our GHS family, Pastor Butts!