A follow-up on a Phoenix teacher we first introduced you to as one of our 12 News A+ teachers. It turns out, she’s fighting a major health battle and now she’s reaching out to the community for help.
It’s been a difficult year for Michelle Palomo.
“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions," she said.
The Valley mom of two and teacher at St. John Bosco Catholic School, recalls when she first learned about a serious health issue.
“I had some swelling and you know, like any mom, you just keep moving along… 'oh it’s okay, it’ll… things will subside,' but it just got to the point where I’m like, 'okay, something is not quite right,'” said Palomo. “They ran the blood work and then they came back and they’re like, 'oh… this is not what we expected at all.'"
Doctors told her she would need a new kidney.
“My kidneys had completely crashed, so I had functioned at 25% since my second pregnancy,” she said.
In April, they were done. Palomo says if you have one that’s working, you’re good to go, but both of hers don’t work.
Once she was in the hospital, it moved really fast.
“My husband has been awesome and supportive,” she said. “Every night, we do the dialysis, I hook up, we have it running, we take care of all that, so that’s been great, my daughters have been awesome,” she said.
Waiting for a match is emotional.
“You need your kidneys to function,” said Palomo. “It’s kind of a harsh reality to have to learn to accept, if the dialysis stops working, your life could end.”
She says there are days she’s in pain and most days she is extremely fatigued.
But thanks to family and friends, she is staying strong and optimistic, that by speaking publicly about it, that perfect match will come.
“We are partnered with St. Joseph’s Hospital, where I’m doing my transplant program and they’ve been wonderful," she mentioned.
For now, she’s relying on her faith and strong support system to keep her going.
Kidney failure can affect anyone. It doesn’t discriminate. It can affect anyone, of any race, at any age, with diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of kidney disease.
More than 2 million people due to kidney failure each year.
March is National Kidney Month and it’s as good a time as any to learn more.
Palomo said she is in need of an O donor. To connect with Michelle and for more information about how to find out if you are a match, check out her Facebook page, If You Give Michelle a Kidney.