A Texas teen’s nosebleed may have very well saved her family's life after scans revealed that she had a rare kidney disease and her parents had kidney cancer.
Crystal Enns stayed home from school one day in 2013 because of a nosebleed that wouldn’t stop, CBS DFW reported. A trip to the hospital revealed that she had a serious kidney disease called juvenile nephronophthisis.
The disease causes inflammation and scarring to the kidneys and can be life-threatening, according to the National Institute of Health. Doctors determined that the 14-year-old would need a kidney transplant.
“I didn’t want to talk about it,” Crystal, now 17, told KTVT (video below). “I didn’t want to think that that would have to happen.”
Dr. Albert Quan, who treated Crystal, said the nosebleed was not related to the kidney disease. It was standard lab tests that actually revealed the teen had the disease.
"This kidney disease doesn’t get better," Quan told ABC News. "The best we can do is slow the decline. In mid- to late-adolescence you either have ... to put her on dialysis or you have to [get her a] kidney transplant."
Crystal’s parents immediately volunteered as candidates for their daughter’s transplant, but scans revealed even more troubling news.
After both parents were screened, they were diagnosed with kidney cancer.
“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,’” Mark Enns, Crystal’s father, told KTVT.
The good news was that, because the cancer was detected early on, both parents were treated with an operation and did not need chemotherapy. Cristy Enns, Crystal’s mother, is now thankful for her daughter’s 2013 nosebleed.
"We are overwhelmed with gratitude to God for allowing us to find out about her kidney disease when we did because Mark and I would never have been tested otherwise," Cristy wrote in an email to ABC News. "The timing of her nosebleed allowed us to begin the donor screening process early, with plenty of time to discover and take care of our alarming cancer diagnosis before it came time for Crystal's transplant."
Quan said he is working with a geneticist to determine if there was a genetic factor that affected the family’s kidneys.
Crystal’s aunt ended up being a perfect match for a transplant for the teen. She underwent successful kidney transplant surgery in April of this year and Crystal is expected to return to school next month, according to her doctor.
Mark and Cristy said they hope their story will encourage others to become organ donors.
"If anyone is considering organ donation, but they have fears about if it is safe to do so ... take courage," Cristy wrote in the email. "Being screened as a donor could be a win-win for you. ... Either you are able to save someone else's life, or you could end up finding out about a health issue in your own life that you may never have known about otherwise."
Photo Credit: CBS DFW, KTVT Screenshot