COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Colorado Springs couple opened up Wednesday about the road to recovery after kidney surgery and a connection they now share that goes beyond wedding vows.
It's been almost three months since Lohana Villegas chose a bold move to save her husband's life. Nicholas Villegas needed a kidney after his failed when he was 19. Nicholas Villegas never imagined his soul mate would also become his donor.
"Having my wife's kidney, it's just a whole life changer and it makes you want to do so many things," said Nicholas Villegas.
Nicholas Villegas has big plans, but right now he has to take it slow.
"For him, it's been a really really long journey," said Lohana Villegas.
Nicholas Villegas was mentally and physically abused growing up. He turned to food to cope. He was almost 400 pounds and had high blood pressure when his kidneys gave out at 19.
He spent eight years on dialysis. After the couple got married, Lohana Villegas asked if she could donate her kidney to him. Nicholas Villegas shot down the idea right away because Lohana could have complications during pregnancy if she gave up one of her kidneys. The two have a 20-month-old son and plan to have more children.
He eventually caved, never dreaming Lohana Villegas would be a match. Tests proved she was a perfect match for Nicholas Villegas.
"I thank her every day that I am still here and let her know that she is the most amazing person in my life," said Nicholas Villegas.
Nicholas Villegas is still healing, but he already has a long list of goals. He wants to return to school and get a degree in business. Once the two are financially stable, he wants to build his wife "her dream home." The couple also wants to open a home for troubled teens and families.
"A lot of people who are out there trying to help those troubled teens really haven't been through what they've been through," said Nicholas Villegas.
For Nicholas and Lohana Villegas, the road to recovery has been physically and financially draining. Lohana had to take two months out of work while she recovered. She's back now and working two jobs to pay bills.
"We are struggling," said Lohana Villegas.
Nicholas Villegas pulled out a box filled with bottles of steroids and antibiotics he has to take multiple times a day in the wake of his surgery. He said the pills making him feel sick, but he said it's a small price to pay for his wife's amazing gift.
The two thanked their church, their family and friends for chipping in to cover their bills and gas to get to the hospital.
The Villegas said it's tough right now but their future looks bright. They share a connection deeper than wedding vows.
Friends set up a donation site for the couple. To donate, click here: