Thaggard receives the gift of life

JEANNE K. CALLEN/THE GREENVILLE STANDARD

Krystal Thaggard beams while reading over her post kidney transplant diet.

Facebook friends of Krystal Myrick Thaggard have been enjoying some awesome pictures of the petite beauty lately.

There is a reason for the joy and radiance glowing in Krystal’s face; she has been granted another chance to live.

After waiting patiently for nearly three years Krystal received a donor kidney that so far has been deemed a perfect match.

Krystal was five years old when her kidneys failed and at age nine her mother Karen Myrick gave her daughter the ultimate gift of love, one of her kidneys.

Krystal kept her mom’s kidney for 33 years before going into renal failure again on October 31, 2015.

Thaggard said, “I started peritoneal dialysis, PD, which is home dialysis for 10 hours each night.”

According to Web MD, peritoneal dialysis uses the peritoneal membrane inside your body as a waste and fluid filter

Thaggard said, “I will say, I went through my moments of depression, self-pity, and crying for what I had lost, but I quickly realized I was lucky to be alive. I could live on dialysis until a new kidney was found, just in a different way.

“My husband talked with me and really helped me see the positives in all this, so I changed and decided this was not going to beat me.

“I’m a strong person and I believed I could handle this and that’s what I did.

“I got better, healed, and returned to work in February 2016. I love my job and working helped me to get through each day.

“Before I knew it I was back to myself.”

Krystal completed a kidney evaluation to be put on the UAB and Emery transplant list and was soon placed at the top of the National Registry, UAB Transplant list, and the Emory list.

Many living donors tested to see if they were a match, but Krystal is blood type O.

Blood type O is considered the universal donor because almost everyone can receive type O blood and organs, but type O patients can only receive type O blood or organs.

“With each one turned away, I felt like I might not get a kidney anytime soon, but I keep praying and believing.”

On July 16th Krystal received a call she had prayed for; UAB had a kidney for her.

“We quickly stopped what we were doing, informed my family members and headed to Birmingham that night. God had provided a true blessing for me, a perfect match.

“It was welcomed news and I was overwhelmed with emotion but filled with gratitude and thanking God all the way to UAB.”

Monday, July 17, 2017 Krystal underwent a kidney transplant in a nearly seven hour surgery, and it worked the moment it was placed.

“My doctor disclosed to my family she had been on a mission to help find me a second kidney that would last another 30 years because I had taken such good care of the first one.”

Krystal stayed in the hospital for a week and then moved to the UAB Townhouse where she will remain for another three or four weeks.

She must have lab work and doctor appointments daily to check kidney function.

“I came through the surgery very well and although it’s painful, I feel so blessed, I don’t even notice, I feel amazing!

“If I could tell other people who are awaiting a kidney transplant or similar need one thing it would be to never give up, keep going, and pray!”

Krystal was also motivated by her family, her husband Jimmy, her job, her community and church family and all the prayers that were said for her by hundreds of well-wishers.

Krystal’s donor ended up being a deceased donor whose family gave her the gift of life.

“I wrote a letter to my donor’s family thanking them for the gift of life their family member had given me. I only know my donor was from Alabama, male and died suddenly. It’s up to the family if they contact me or not.

“Life is precious, and no matter how it changes, live it to the fullest and keep hope and faith alive.

“I hope by telling my kidney journey it will inspire those who might be struggling with an illness as I was.

“I will continue to tell my kidney story to anyone who will listen for the rest of my life because it is such a miracle.”

 

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