Alison Lorraine (KTBS) -- A 23-year-old Minden woman was just getting life figured out. New career, big role in Mama Mia and working as a figure skating instructor.
Until one day she was forced to put her passions on pause after getting scary results from her blood work.
Krista Johnson is one out of more than 100,000 patients on the transplant waiting list, of which 95 percent need a kidney or liver. But Johnson needs both.
"I’m just ready to get back to life,” said Johnson.
In September, she came down with a fever and experienced back pain along with big black bruises. Her mother, Linda, took her to the doctor, both thinking Johnson just overworked herself.
But after getting blood results back, that changed.
"She came in and said, 'Krista, your blood work came back really bad.'" I said, 'How bad?' She said, 'Like when your dad was on chemo.'”
Her family thought it could be cancer since her dad and grandfather passed from brain tumors. It wasn't that, which was a big sigh of relief for the Johnson's. But doctors did find a couple things that weren't normal.
"When I left the hospital I was still not diagnosed. All I knew is that my spleen is 4-5 times the size of my liver and the liver is supposed to be the biggest organ in your body,” said Johnson. “And my kidneys have cysts on them and my liver isn't functioning."
Johnson was diagnosed with congenital hepatic fibrosis, a rare disease that is present at birth and affects the liver. She was also diagnosed with autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disease where cysts form on the kidneys, leading to failure.
"Usually you have a treatment or a cure, and for what Krista has, there is no treatment and no cure,” said her mother, Linda.
Just transplant. Not one, but two. Krista needs a new liver and a kidney. Johnson says both transplants would have to be done at the same time and a live donor is out of the equation.
So for now, she's on the waiting list.
"There is nothing you can say to scare a mother more than someone has to lose their life to save your child's,” said Linda. “And your other three kids may also have the same thing."
According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, someone is added to the organ donation waiting list every 10 minutes. Approximately 20 people die every day waiting for an organ and more than 113,772 people are on that list.
The two most needed organs are the ones Johnson needs to save her life.
"I’ll have one new liver and one new kidney when it's all said and done," she said.
Ninety-five percent of U.S. adults support organ donation, but only 54 percent are actually signed up as donors. So how can you sign up?
You can register with your state's organ donor registry through the DMV, select "yes" to organ donation when you apply for your driver's license or sign a donor card if there's one available. On top of that, it's free to save a life.
"I never thought in a million years when I made that decision I’d be on the other end and I’d be the one waiting for someone to donate an organ," Johnson said.
The Johnson’s are taking the news day by day. Unfortunately, Johnson came down with a fever and had to spend her 23rd birthday in the hospital.
First Baptist Church of Minden recently held a bake sale and raised $2,600 to help with Krista's medical expenses.
The Johnson’s went to New Orleans last week for a pre-transplant evaluation to determine her meld score, which ranks the degree of sickness to determine how urgent her liver transplant is.
Tuesday, Linda tells KTBS doctors said Krista might not qualify for a double organ transplant. They may have to do the liver first and wait at a later date to do the kidney transplant.
In the meantime, Linda says, "We are praying she qualifies for both organs from one donor at the same time."
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