Healthy Women Lead

How Chicago Nurse Darvece Monson Turns Her Pain Into A Passion To Help Others fight Kidney Disease....

A couple of months ago I had to the pleasure of being honored for my work in the health care industry by the Chicago TACTS Organization for the 2016 Henrietta Lacks Award at Mercy Hospital. I was in complete shock when I received the call saying that they wanted to honor me for my work with women and my contribution to the healthcare industry. Little did I know when I went to the reception to be honored that I would meet this amazing nurse by the name of Darvece  Monson. We connected right away because she had such an amazing spirit and energy. We both talked about our work in health care and how much we love what we do. During the award's presentation I had a chance to hear Darvece's story and how she turned her trails into a testimony and her pain into passion for helping others. I sat down and talk to Darvece so she can give me more insight about her story and her message. Check out this powerful women, she is truly a living inspiration.
In 2015, at just 34 years old, Darvece A. Monson founded "More Than Your Kidneys" at her hospital bedside table with $50 and a refurbished computer. A lifelong "Healthnut", nurse of 18years, Model/Writer/Performer/Personal Trainer/Fitness Instructor/Nutritional Counselor, (and now newly diagnosed: chronic kidney disease, heart failure, severe anemia, ESRD, hemodialysis, kidney transplant candidate), she was driven by the lack of services for others such as herself and was thus compelled to make a difference. 
Secondary to a preeclamptic high-risk complicated pregnancy & emergency cesarean section in 2008, and now a patient on the other side of the spectrum, nurse Monson knew that she had to create the avenues of support that she so desperately seeked as a hemodialysis patient and kidney transplant candidate. After tirelessly enduring judgment, lack of understanding, scarcity of resources, and ignorance from society, Darvece emerged into her life assigned role of an advocate and health promoter dedicated to helping patients and their families cope with the realities of CKD/ESRD/Dialysis/Transplantation.
1 year later, her indelible impact on the issues of CKD/Dialysis/Transplantation has helped shift the perception of renal patients from noncompliant, inactive, unhealthy persons to viable, proactive, knowledgeable, optimistic, survivors destined to live life to the fullest.
To date her organization has received several awards and she has been spotlighted abroad in 4 states, broadcasted via radio,  interviews,  publications,  etc. for her assistance in helping others obtain funding, student loan eradication,  grants, support, training, tenant and employer disability rights & MORE!
I asked Darvece a couple of questions that will help every day individuals learn about kidney disease and how to decrease their risk.
What advice do you have for someone newly diagnosed with Kidney Disease ? 
Darvece: My advice is not to give up and to set goals to redefine who you are post diagnosis. Invest in YOURSELF. You only get one life,  so make the most of it and take no moments for granted. I believe that power radiates from shortcomings and weaknesses and that same power transforms into strength. It is my opinion that moments of frailty uncover who we truly are within. I am everything NOW that I was pre-diagnosis, but on an entirely different level. I was always strong,  dedicated,  determined,  resilient,  focused, stubborn, type A, fearless,  etc... Now I'm that ×infinity, lol... My kidneys are impaired, but they are still functional and I am not dead. My God wouldn't prescribe me a death sentence and I am so much more than my kidneys.... 
How do you help people become more educated about kidney disease and what lessons have you learned that you can share with others?
Darvece: Truth be told: I help those that want to be helped, and many don't want to be helped. The majority accept the diagnosis and focus on the "DIE" aspect of dialysis, kidney disease,  the need for transplant,  etc. For the few that seek education, assistance, coping mechanisms, dietary/nutritional counseling, financial assistance,  life services,  etc. I offer everything from workshops to classes, lectures to grocery shopping trips, assistance with personal grants to student loan debt eradication assistance. There is no limit to the resources that I provide because I live this life and have experience as a Clinician and as a patient.
Lessons: Everyone is NOT going to applaud and reward your journey. Family, associates, coworkers, etc. However: They aren't supposed to. Your life is your life, so make sure that YOU take center stage in and of it. Many other people has let their diagnosis define them, limit them, defeat them, etc. thus they despise my efforts,  progress, etc. Being different is never well received and comes with its own share of plights.
Were there times you wanted to give up? How did you push through?
Darvece: No, that's not an option for Me. I'm a Mother. I have an 8 year old daughter,  so my life is not my own: PERIOD. Singlehandedly my daughter is my motivation as well as my soft spot,  lol. She needs and deserves a healthy mother, so it is up to Me to do my part to the best of my ability;  I owe her my all and my very best, and that is the mindset I adopted once I found out that I was pregnant, PERIOD, POINT BLANK. Once you become a parent, your child emerges into center stage and you play the background. My daughter will never know a Mother that gave up, gave in, etc.
As you can see, Darvece is absolutely amazing and she has a powerful story. I am so glad I connected with her and I know she will help save so many lives through her work as a nurse and as a patient. It was truly a divine connection to meet Darvece Monson. If you would like to connect with Darvece or support her organization Please email her for more information, speaking engagements,  donations, interviews, media, & more