Galion’s Krista Collins eyes a better life after liver transplant


GALION — Krista Collins is a fighter.

She battled Crohn’s Disease for years before she was actually diagnosed with it in 2006. Then, in 2013, she began to get more sick than she had ever been before.

The wife of Ken, mother to Shelbi and a hard worker in the registration department at Galion Community Hospital, Krista was suddenly so sick she could not keep anything down.

“I went to the ER several times. They thought it was my Crohn’s Disease acting up,” Krista said. “But it continued. They did some testing and found that I had gallstones.”

She underwent surgery to have her gallbladder removed.

“I still had all of the symptoms I had before,” she said. “At this point, I had lost about 50 pounds because I was so sick. They ran more tests and thought that I had lymphoma so they sent me to an oncologist.”

The oncologist diagnosed Krista with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that can affect multiple organs in the body, mostly the lungs and lymph glands.

Krista said her body had continued to produce stones after her gall bladder was removed and that those stones collected in her bile duct, which began causing damage to her liver.

Krista was put on steroids for 10 months, but after that, her symptoms continued and were getting worse. Another trip to the ER led her to a different physician, who immediately sent her to Riverside Hospital in Columbus.

“In 2015, I was diagnosed with PSC, which is primary sclerosing cholangitis. They put in a stint and cleaned out my bile duct, but it continued to clog,” said Krista.

Krista was told only about 5 percent of patients suffering from Crohn’s Disease end up with the secondary diagnosis of PSC.

“I wish I would be that lucky when it comes to winning the lottery,” Krista joked.

Krista was informed by her doctors in October 2016 that she would need a liver transplant.

“I went through extensive testing before I could be placed on the list,” she explained.

Ken, who has been married to Krista for nearly 20 years, said the couple went through months of education about the transplant process.

After that, things moved quickly.

On Feb. 26, Krista and Ken received the call they had been waiting for. A liver was available and she needed to leave work and head to The Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus.

Krista said the hardest part for her to accept was that someone had lost their life and she was receiving their liver.

“It is heart-breaking,” she said through tears.

Krista’s mom, Connie Grimm, said her daughter has done remarkably well since the transplant.

“It puts her dad and me at peace knowing her husband is so good with her. He takes excellent care of her and was by her side through everything,” said Grimm.

Krista’s family is a close one, and Grimm, along with her twin sister Sharon Eaton and others, are planning a benefit from noon to 5 p.m. on May 7 at the Galion Moose to assist the couple with Krista’s mounting medical bills.

“Kenny took time off work throughout Krista’s surgery to be by her side and of course, Krista is off work right now,” Connie said.

Eaton said she was not sure if Krista and Ken would be on board with a benefit.

“They are very hard workers and very proud people. I wasn’t sure if they would give us the green light for the benefit. But they did and I am glad. It is okay to ask for help when you really need it,” Eaton said.

Eaton and Grimm said the benefit will feature a spaghetti dinner, music, a cake and candy sale, silent and live auctions, a plant sale, and a 50/50 drawing.

“We will even have things like face-painting for the kids, too. It is a family-friendly event,” said Eaton.

Grimm said Krista’s daughter, Shelbi Collins, is a workaholic like her mother.

“She is working two jobs and going to college. She works at Taco Bell and the Olive Garden,” said Grimm. “The Olive Garden is donating the spaghetti for the dinner. We are so grateful.”

Krista is at home recuperating from her transplant and making plans for the future.

“I want to become an ambassador for Lifeline of Ohio,” she said. “The transplant program saved my life and I want to give back.”

Krista said she is allowed to write a letter to the family of her donor after a six-month waiting period.

“I will write it through Lifeline of Ohio and it will be up to the family if they wish to contact me or not,” she explained. “I want them to know how grateful I am for their loved one’s donation. Because of that person, I will be able to see my daughter finish college, get married one day and have grandchildren. I am so very thankful.”

Krista also is thankful to her doctors, the staff at OSU, and to her family and friends for all of their supportive and more importantly, their prayers.

“The power of prayer is amazing,” Krista said.

For more information about organ donation, visit https://lifelineofohio.org.

For more information or to donate to the benefit, call Connie Grimm at 419-468-7702 or visit https://www.gofundme.com/krista-collins-new-liver.

Kimberly Gasuras | Galion Inquirer Krista Collins chats with her mother, Connie Grimm, at Galion home on Monday. An employee in the registration department at Galion Community Hospital recently underwent a liver transplant.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2017/04/web1_Krista.jpgKimberly Gasuras | Galion Inquirer Krista Collins chats with her mother, Connie Grimm, at Galion home on Monday. An employee in the registration department at Galion Community Hospital recently underwent a liver transplant.

Galion Inquirer | Submitted photo Galion resident Krista Collins recently underwent a liver transplant. She participated in the planting of 8,500 pinwheels at the Ohio State University Hospital last week that signifies the number of transplants the hospital has performed since 1967.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2017/04/web1_Krista2.jpgGalion Inquirer | Submitted photo Galion resident Krista Collins recently underwent a liver transplant. She participated in the planting of 8,500 pinwheels at the Ohio State University Hospital last week that signifies the number of transplants the hospital has performed since 1967.
Krista Collins eyes a better life with donated liver

 

By Kimberly Gasuras

kgasuras@civitasmedia.com

 

 

FACTS ABOUT ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION

Your Life is Always First — If you are taken to the hospital after an accident or injury, it is the hospital’s No. 1 priority to save YOUR life. Your status as a donor is not even considered until every effort has been made to try to save your life and death has been declared.

Anyone can be an Organ and Tissue Donor — Your age or health should not prevent you from registering to be an organ, eye or tissue donor. Even smokers or heavy drinkers have organs or tissues that can save or change lives. Age is not a factor.

Organ Donation is Not a Given — Only about one out of a 100 individuals in the U.S. will die through the process of brain death and have the potential for organ donation (you do not need to die of brain death to be a tissue donor).

If an individual dies and is not signed up in the Ohio Donor Registry, the next-of-kin must make the decision regarding donation. Once an individual is over the age of 18, their decision to register as a donor is legally binding and irreversible by anyone other than the individual themselves.

No Cost to Your Family — If you decide to be an organ and tissue donor, your family will NOT have to pay for any medical expenses associated with the donation.

One Life Can Save 8 and Heal 50 — Organ donors have the potential to save 8 lives and heal 50 through tissue donation. Read the personal story of organ donor Dustin Hart to find out how he saved seven lives after his death.

Everyone is Equal — When it comes to waiting in line for an organ transplant, factors such as blood type, body size, location, level of illness and length of time on the waiting list are used to determine the best candidate for an organ.

Your Decision Will Be Honored — When you register in the Ohio Donor Registry to become an organ and tissue donor you are making a legal decision and, even after your death – your wishes will be honored. If you are over the age of 18, your registration is legally binding and no one but you can change your decision to donate.

You’ll Be Treated With Respect — Organ, eye and tissue donors are heroes and are treated as such. The medical professionals who perform the recovery surgeries treat donors with the utmost respect, just like they would for any other patient. If you and your family were planning on an open casket funeral before death, these plans should not be affected by organ and tissue donation.

Registering is Easy — Registering to become an organ and tissue donor in the Ohio Donor Registry is simple. You can register right now, online. Or you say “yes” to organ and tissue donation when you visit the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to receive or renew your driver license, state identification card or learner’s permit.

Source: Lifeline of Ohio

 

 

Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras