From career man to hobby farmer

Legal professional, husband, father, farmer,writer: Romanian Neculai Grigoraș has assumed many roles over his 61 years. The highly-motivated man did not let the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease at age 40 stop him from pursuing what he wanted in life.

Now retired, Grigoraș splits his time between his childhood home in the peaceful Romanian countryside in Bacău County and his urban apartment in the nearby city of Oneşti. Though he performs his dialysis exchanges at home, he receives regular care from the NephroCare centre in Bacau.

Family and career

Already at a young age, Grigoraș learned to overcome hardships: he lost his mother when he was just seven. Thereafter, his father stepped in and cared for his upbringing. After secondary school, Grigoraș decided to pursue a career as an electrician and upon graduation he began working in the synthetic rubber plant in Onești, a small city with just under 40,000 inhabitants in north-central Romania.

Realising his initial career choice did not give him the fulfilment he sought, Grigoraș went back to school part-time to study law. All together he remained a loyal employee of the synthetic rubber plant for 35 years from 1971 to 2006. Always interested in trying new things, Grigoraș also had a brief stint as manager of a private company in 2006 and served as a trade union leader and on the city council.

Accepting his diagnosis

Diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 1993, Grigoraș began dialysis in 2007. Initially learning he had to start dialysis came as a shock. But he quickly adjusted to his new routine. Support from family and friends and his overall positive attitude have played vital roles in accepting dialysis as just another part of his life.

Choosing PD

Grigoraș chose to follow peritoneal dialysis (PD) as his form of treatment. Primarily because it offers him greater freedom to move about, and his nephrologist emphasised that the advantages for the cardiovascular system could benefit him. There is no question that his life has changed since starting PD and the treatment gave him the nudge he needed to rethink his lifestyle. Five exchanges per day led him to choose retirement, a decision that allowed him to finally return to the countryside home of his youth. Since returning to the country, Grigoraș has realised that a well-established exchange schedule is vital to taking care of his health and to managing his full schedule of daily activities. He also emphasises how much he values the care he receives from the team of NephroCare, which regularly runs tests for him and rings him up for a monthly check-up.

A life worth savouring

Today, Grigoraș devotes the bulk of his time to gardening, farming and winemaking. With its vegetable garden, orchard and vineyard, his countryside home offers the perfect setting for him to pursue his favourite pastimes. Regularly meeting friends for a game of chess or going to parties give him the social interaction he needs to thrive and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. An avid writer, he’s also working on a memoir of his experiences. Grigoraș admits that he struggles with not being able to enjoy unlimited amounts of the fruits and vegetables he grows in his own soil and picks with his own hands. But he’s also come to terms with his situation and has learned to find joy in other activities. Especially his 15-month-old grandson is a source of constant energy and hope.