The life of a teenager is hectic enough, but for Krystal Brooker it got a bit more complicated when she was diagnosed with a renal disease at the tender age of 14. Although the disease was initially easy to manage, its severity grew and 20 years later she received a call that changed her life forever.
She recalls the moment like it was yesterday. It was 9th October 2016 and she was at a gathering with family and friends – it was 6pm and they were watching a car racing special when the phone rang. A ring she’d heard many times before, one that held the possibility of something special each time but hadn’t quite delivered… until now. There was a 99% match for Krystal and without skipping a beat, she was admitted to hospital that same night to undergo a kidney transplant surgery.
Due to kidney failure, Krystal had been on a renal transplant list since February 2016 and the months leading up to the call were full of emotions.
“Those months waiting to hear back had me thinking about everything. It’s inevitable, I thought about my three beautiful boys, my husband, my work… all sorts of feelings were happening!”.
After surgery, Krystal remained in the hospital for four days before she was given the green light to go home. Unfortunately, she began to feel sick and inexplicably weak. Upon being readmitted two days later, she was advised her haemoglobin levels were terribly low. Soon her medicine intake would in turn create stomach ulcers and cause her liver to malfunction. And to top that all off, Krystal’s new kidney wasn’t working to its full extent yet – a phenomenon known as delayed graft function or ‘sleepy kidney’.
The first step was to get Krystal’s haemoglobin levels back up to a normal range through blood transfusion – a completely foreign concept to her at the time. She recalls sitting on the recliner at the hospital with her family surrounding her as she received someone else’s blood to help save her life.
Fortunately, after undergoing a total of three whole blood transfusions, Krystal’s haemoglobin levels were back to normal. Soon after, the doctors were able to manage her other symptoms and her kidney was eventually fully awake and ready to get to work.
“Receiving a donated organ is already an incredible experience, blood transfusions were no different and I wouldn’t be here without them”, says Krystal. “Receiving blood from a stranger saved my life and I can’t express how important it is, and simple to do”.
While not everybody can donate, those who are eligible can potentially save lives. Krystal says it’s an incredible help for those who are in need and emphasizes how a simple good deed can go a long way – it helped save her life and she’s forever grateful.
To become a blood donor today, give us a call on 0800 GIVE BLOOD.