When then 14-year-old Crystal Enns exhibited severe and incessant nose bleeding in January 2013, her parents were alarmed. Little did they know that the same cause for panic that rattled them would serve as the light for their sickened family.
Crystal consulted the doctor and had several tests done on her. When the results of the diagnostic examinations were finally released, her whole family was taken aback as the doctor revealed that Crystal had a rare type of kidney disease called juvenile nephronophthisis. This disease is characterized by the inflammation and scarring of the kidneys, which may progress to kidney failure and ultimately, death. With that, her doctor recommended her to undergo kidney transplant.
When Crystal first heard about her diagnosis and possible operation, she really did not want to talk about it and its possibility.
Nonetheless, both of Crystal's parents, Cristy and Mark, were eager to step up and donate their kidney for their daughter. All had matching blood types and so the parents could really be highly-potential donors. Cristy had herself checked first. Everything seemed to be fine but during the last stages of the intensive screening, the doctors found that Cristy has a suspicious-looking spot in her kidney. This did not only stop her from donating her kidney but had also put her in the "patient" position as new series of tests for kidney diseases and cancer were recommended for her.
The family thought they had the worst of news, until Mark had his donor screening assessment. Mark underwent a series of testings to determine if he is a suitable kidney donor for her daughter. But when the results came out, the results were far more alarming. He had cancer of the kidney.
"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,' Mark recalled his doctor's words. The entire family was again shocked.
Cristy returned to the hospital to have her Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. Indeed, the spot detected on the initial screening was found to be the same type of cancer that Mark had. She got scared at the thought that both she and Mark had cancer. They have four kids and at the age of 39, such serious medical diagnosis is something totally unexpected. But in the end, she is grateful that the cancer was detected.
The original plan is for them to save their daughter but with a twist of events, their daughter was actually the one who paved the way to save their lives, Mark says. If the nose bleeding incident did not happen, they would not get tested.
Crystal's aunt (Cristy's sister) was found to be the perfect kidney donor for Crystal so the operation pushed through in April 2015. The surgery was a success and Crystal couldn't feel any better.
The nose bleeding turned out to be nothing but a mere symptom for another condition present at that time. But because protocols required Crystal to undergo standard laboratory tests, the doctors were able to detect the kidney disease, says Dr. Albert Quan, a pediatric nephrologist at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas
At present, Crystal is now 17 and is preparing to go back to school as a senior high school student. For the entire family, the experience strengthens their faith. "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."