Photo courtesy of Crystal Hadlock
Crystal Hadlock simply wants to breathe another day, hold her daughters and be a wife to her husband Chris. Anything else is extra — icing on the cake, firecrackers in July.
Golf charity events have long produced lump sums of money for good causes of every kind. But when Jeff Alexander invited me to stop by Sleepy Hollow Golf Course this week and peek in on his 54-hole golf marathon to raise money for Crystal, I was bowled over by the goodwill present that day. And when I talked to Chris Hadlock, I was humbled. My problems are nothing.
Just under two years ago, Crystal, her mother and two daughters walked away from an automobile accident. But it proved a blessing in disguise because after suffering lower back pain for weeks, she decided to have an MRI. It was then doctors found a renal artery aneurysm on her kidney. It could be deadly and had to be dealt with. The thing is, Crystal was born with just one kidney.
Last fall, she chose the best path for full recovery and quality of life, an auto transplant, where her only kidney would be removed, the aneurysm cut out and the kidney then transplanted back in her body, down by her pelvis. Trouble loomed. During the procedure, her only kidney died.
She found this out after being sedated for days, tied down to her bed, tubes hanging from her body and a fog slowly subsiding from her mind after a deep drug-induced sleep.
A talented professional photographer with angels for daughters, Crystal has fought a serious blood clot, nausea, strict diets, depression, multiple medications, fear, anxiety and medical procedure after procedure that has taken every bit of faith and strength she can muster.
Since then, Crytstal, 28, who hates to be stuck with needles, has survived on dialysis in hopes of receiving a donor kidney. Uninsured, her husband laid off from work and now a student, her fate is in the hands of divine providence and others who confidently walk healthy upon this earth.
This week I contacted Crystal to obtain a few photographs and she directed me to her blog (mynameiscrystalhadlock.blogspot.com). There, I found this account of her experience with the dialysis, the miracle that's kept her body functioning for more than half a year.
In her words, Nov. 22, 2011:
Dialysis is tough and slightly depressing. You go to a larger room with chairs circling the entire room. It smells of bleach and is lit with florescent lighting. The room is filled with old sickly people. I am the youngest, and one of the only women. I go Monday, Wednesday, Friday every week and have to be hooked up for 3 1/2 hours. In a chair. And yes I have terrible anxiety and it makes me feel claustrophobic. The good part is the chairs are heated which is a good thing because one of the effects I have with dialysis is I am FREEZING COLD! The first few times I had it I shook uncontrollably the whole time. I have really weird side effects from dialysis. Everyone is different. I get extremely tired, extreme nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure. My catheter site the skin got irritated so I had extreme itching and a rash. A lot of the time my entire body itches so badly I can barely stand it. Other times I have no side effects at all. So weird and so random. So I give thanks to the good days, which slowly are becoming more frequent.
That was seven months ago.
The best part of this story isn't that Jeff, the owner of Alexander's Print Advantage, hosted a golf marathon that raised more than $15,000 to help Crystal and Chris, his former employee. As impressive as that is, it got upstaged.
The best news is that Crystal's neighbors in her LDS ward (Pheasant Point Third Ward) stepped up and underwent testing to see if they could donate a kidney. A woman in her ward was a match and both women will undergo the transplant procedure on Tuesday.
The donor is Lisa Thayne, a regular young woman just like Crystal, whose priorities are beyond her own daily needs.
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