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Angelica's Story

I was not going to let kidney disease define me.
I was first diagnosed with kidney disease when I was 25 years old. Nick, the man I was dating, who later became my husband, was there when I was diagnosed. It was a bit of disbelief to both of us, but I also had always known it was coming. I am the third generation in my family who was diagnosed with kidney disease. There is a rare kidney illness in my family that impacts all females. My grandmother, mother, 3 aunts, myself, and my cousin all live with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Because of that, I have been monitored for kidney disease since I was 20 years old. At the time everything was normal until one day it was not.
I was lucky to be asymptomatic, but it was the psychological impacts that I had to overcome when I was diagnosed with CKD. I was not going to let kidney disease define me. Because I was symptom-free, I was able to kind of adopt the mentality that I was simply  going to take care of myself as best as I can. I managed it for the next 10 years, I didn’t have to make any drastic changes to my lifestyle, and there was no need for dialysis. I increased my water intake, remained active, and went for regular checkups. My diet remained the same though I did avoid non-kidney-friendly medication. Nick and I got married 3 years after my diagnosis and have been together ever since. Until three years ago, I had continued with my life as normal. That was when my health started to take a decline.
Despite my family’s history with CKD, we were still surprised I thought that I would have more time until I needed a transplant, especially since I was asymptomatic. It seemed like a problem that would have been 30 years down the road. When the doctor told us that I needed to get a transplant, Nick immediately offered to be my kidney donor. My kidney specialist investigated his medical history and his family’s. There were some risks as there is diabetes and other issues in the family, so it took extra time for doctors to confirm that it was safe for him to donate. Around 6 months ago, when my kidneys were functioning at their lowest, the specialist called us and said that Nick was a direct match for me. The procedure was scheduled and completed 3 months later.
After completing our kidney transplant journey, Nick and I, decided that we want to get involved and help educate and raise awareness about kidney disease. The Kidney Foundation of Canada was a great resource for us to gain more information on kidney disease and kidney transplants and to access a support system of people who understand what you’re going through. We want to get involved and encourage people to participate in living organ donation. It is a life-saving thing that is great overall and even better for the organ recipient.