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Two years into her marriage, Amanda Conchas was diagnosed with kidney disease and later received a transplant from her husband.
Two years into their marriage, Amanda Conchas and her high-school-sweetheart, Lucio, found out just what it meant to promise to love each other “in sickness and in health.”
“I began to experience swelling in my leg,” Amanda recalls. “I assumed it was because I was working many hours on my feet, but it continued to get worse.” Unfortunately, Amanda’s condition was more than just an occupational hazard. Amanda, then a 26-year-old certified nursing assistant and caretaker, was diagnosed with kidney disease and would need dialysis to keep her alive.
Amanda started dialysis, the process by which toxins and excess fluid are removed from her blood. Not long after she started treatments, Amanda received some unexpected, but exciting news – she was pregnant. Once the shock wore off, Amanda worked with her care team at Fresenius Kidney Care knowing they would do everything they could to keep her and her unborn baby healthy.
“The only drawback to being pregnant and needing dialysis was that I had to dialyze every day,” she said. “The toxins in my blood were not good for me or for my baby.”
Amanda continued dialysis during her pregnancy, while at the same time working two jobs and going to nursing school part-time. Less than nine months later, her daughter, Naya, was born.
As Amanda and Lucio adjusted to parenthood, life threw them for another unexpected – but joyful – loop. Lucio wanted to donate one of his kidneys to his wife. The odds that he would be a match were not in their favor. But as it turns out, Lucio was a perfect match.
“Lucio was so selfless,” Amanda said. “He wanted to be tested and didn’t hesitate to initiate the process. What are the chances that my husband would also be a perfect match for my kidney transplant?”
Earlier this year, Amanda received a kidney from Lucio. Today, Amanda has it all – a nearly one-year-old, healthy baby girl, a loving, supportive husband and a strong body and mind that are pushing her closer to her dream of becoming a nurse.
After graduating nursing school, Amanda hopes to become a dialysis nurse to help others with kidney disease live their best and healthiest lives. “I always wanted to be a nurse, but after my own experience living on dialysis, I feel I have so much more to offer patients having walked in their shoes,” she said.
When she is a practicing nephrology nurse, what advice does she plan to give her patients? “Keep your head up; stay strong. If you have a positive attitude, you will make it.”
We honor people like Amanda during Nephrology Nurses Week. If, like Amanda Conchas, you are a talented nurse driven to provide compassionate care to patients and their families, look for Fresenius Kidney Care jobs in your area.