Walters woman learned she had cervical cancer in process of donating kidney
WALTERS A Walters resident's decision to save another person's life has resulted in saving her own.
Christina Hesler, 38, made the decision almost two years ago to become a living kidney donor. After extensive testing for donor compatibility, the doctors discovered she had cervical cancer.
It was a twist of fate the family never saw coming.
"My husband and I drove to Atlanta in December for donor compatibility tests and the last test they wanted was a Pap smear," Hesler said.
That was when they discovered she had cancer.
"Who knows when I would have found out, because I really don't get regular check-ups like I should," she said.
Because there are so few symptoms with cervical cancer, most cases are not discovered until they have reached an advanced stage.
Instead of the kidney transplant taking place in February, Hesler was in the hospital in Oklahoma for a biopsy and then a surgical procedure.
"Because I didn't have chemotherapy or radiation, they gave me the go-ahead for the transplant," she said.
Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta is where the transplant will take place on Friday. Hesler said giving a stranger one of her kidneys was not a decision she made lightly but after a great deal of thought and discussion with her husband.
"I just believe the gift of life is the best gift you can give," she said. "I never thought about backing out."
She then signed onto a site, MatchingDonors.com, which matches those who need kidney, kidney and pancreas, liver, liver and lung, pancreas, bone marrow or intestine transplants with willing donors.
"I have a Facebook friend who knew about this website and posted something about it," Hesler explained how she found about site.
The kidney recipient, Christina Stonecypher, 26, who lives in Macon, Ga., said she has been on kidney dialysis for almost three years.
"I was told then it would probably be a long time before I got a kidney," Stonecypher said. "I have had so many different emotions but I never gave up hope."
Hesler said when she first signed on as a possible donor she received hundreds of emails asking for donor compatibility tests.