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Kidney and pancreas transplant changed Kayley's life

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Kayley is pictured with her daughter and the Mile Bluff dialysis staff

“I’m finally feeling how I think a normal 23-year-old person should.”

Eight months ago, Kayley Brescia received a kidney and pancreas transplant. After living almost her entire life with kidney disease, Kayley is now enjoying life from a whole new perspective.

At the age of two, Kayley became sick with E.coli. Her kidneys shut down and she developed kidney disease. Her kidneys were never able to fully recover, and, as she grew older, the disease progressed, and she developed diabetes.

When Kayley gave birth to her daughter in 2019, it really took a toll on her kidneys. While hospitalized, it was recommended that she have a kidney and pancreas transplant. She then got to work, taking care of everything she needed to in order to get added to the transplant list.

While waiting for the transplant, Kayley received treatment at Mile Bluff’s Wisconsin Dells Dialysis Center. Between working a part-time job and raising her 2-year-old daughter, the short distance to receive dialysis care helped her maintain her lifestyle.

“It was right in the middle of the pandemic,” Kayley recalled. “The staff did a great job handling COVID and rearranging their schedules to make sure everyone got in. They were really nice, and I really appreciated them taking the time to get to know me.”

In October of 2021, Kayley got the call. A donor was found, and she was next on the list. She grabbed her to-go bag and headed to the hospital. The next day, she had the surgery. Everything went smoothly, and her new pancreas and kidneys began working right away.

“I remember seeing my lab results for the first time after my surgery,” said Kayley. “I had never seen numbers like that before. It was a mind-blowing experience.”

Thanks to the transplant, Kayley is enjoying life without diabetes today. Instead of having to check her blood sugar all the time, now she only has to do it once a day. She also doesn’t have to worry about taking insulin for the things that she eats. “It has been really weird adjusting to life without diabetes,” exclaimed Kayley. “I haven’t tried regular soda yet, but I have enjoyed the freedom of not having to worry about every little thing I eat or drink.”

In May, a golf outing fundraiser was held to help offset Kayley’s medical bills. A total of 14 teams showed up for the event.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but by the end of it, people were giving their winnings back to me,” stated Kayley. “I didn’t ask anyone to do that, but it was truly amazing how many people came out to support me. I definitely want to thank everyone who came out and all the businesses that helped make the event possible.”

Shortly after the golf outing, Kayley stopped by the medical center in Mauston to visit the dialysis staff and say thank you for the great care they provided while she was waiting for her transplant. “They were always so caring,” Kayley said. “I told them I don’t miss the dialysis, but I do miss seeing all of them. They truly did help me through one of the toughest years of my life.”

With the transplant in the past, Kayley is looking ahead to the future. “When I first graduated high school, I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field,” said Kayley. “I would still like to pursue my goal of becoming a medical assistant and a radiologist. However, I don’t know what my future holds. Right now, I am enjoying life and spending time with my daughter.”