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WYLIE (CBS 11 NEWS) – It would seem hard to imagine—a blessing, disguised as a nosebleed.
Then 14-year-old Crystal Enns of Wylie had such a bad nosebleed one day in January of 2013, that she didn’t go to school. Her parents suspected that something was wrong—but, they couldn’t imagine the eventual diagnosis—a rare kidney disease that would require a transplant.
“When he [ her doctor] first said I would have to have a transplant, I didn’t want to talk about it,” says Crystal, now 17 and entering her Senior year of high school. “I didn’t want to think that that would have to happen.”
Both parents have matching blood types and could be possible donors. But, Mom Cristy began the intensive screening process first… but, the news wasn’t good. Or, at least, it didn’t appear to be.
“Then to find out at the very last minute with the last test that we couldn’t was devastating,” recalls Cristy. Doctors had discovered a suspicious spot on her kidney. So her husband and Crystal’s Dad, Mark, was screened as a possible donor. The bad news seemed about to get worse.
“The doctor that called said ‘this is lights and sirens—this is top of your ‘to do’ list- this needs to come out right away, this doesn’t look good’,” says Mark. He was stunned. He had kidney cancer. “The idea is that we’re going to go in and do something that can be life saving for our daughter, only to be told ‘this may have saved your life’, because I would never have been tested otherwise.”
Make that both lives.
“They went back and did another MRI on me,” says Cristy, “and it had grown. The crazy thing was, it ended up being the same type of kidney cancer that Mark had.” And after a poignant pause,
“It’s scary to think about. Very scary to think about. We’ve got four kids… to find out you have kidney cancer when you’re 39 years old is not something you ever think will happen. So we’re extremely grateful.”
And if that doesn’t give you chills, get this: Crystal’s bloody nose? No connection.
“It happened to be a red herring that allowed us to figure this out because of other symptoms at that time,” says Albert Quan, MD, a Pediatric Nephrologist at Medical City Children’s Hospital. Dr. Quan is also quick to reassure parents that a typical nosebleed should not be a cause for alarm… saying Crystal’s particular type of kidney disease is “very, very rare. I’ve only seen about two or three in the last 20 years.”
Crystal’s aunt, Cristy’s sister, was also a perfect match and was able to donate a kidney in April. And the impact was instant.
“The morning after the transplant she woke up and she said ‘I’m not nauseous!’,” recalls Cristy with a huge smile. “She could eat, she was hungry… it was such an answer to prayer.”
Now, the talented young musician who for much of the past two years had been too weak to stand and sing with her choir, can get back to the things she loves—knowing her parents are healthy, because of her… telling CBS 11 today, “that’s amazing.”
More amazing, still? She didn’t even ask for a bump in her allowance!
Amid the laughter at the suggestion, the Enns’ insist that it’s been more than enough for all of them to see their faith rewarded.
“You try to think, ‘where’s the good in this, as people of faith… what am I supposed to learn?’,” asks Mark. “We got to see the good side.”
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