WATCH: A 32-year-old Saanich woman with kidney failure told CHEK News last fall she just wanted to feel normal again. But after a failed transplant, that seemed impossible, until a phone call changed her life. April Lawrence reports.
Even simple tasks like making a cup of tea feel a little sweeter these days thanks to a life-saving surgery that has given Drielle Tousignant a second chance at life.
“It’s a happy feeling,” said an emotional Tousignant.
But the past year has been an emotional rollercoaster for the 32-year-old mom of 11-year-old Logan.
CHEK News first spoke to Tousignant in November 2018 as she was about to start dialysis for kidney failure. Only months earlier she had received a kidney from a friend but that transplant failed.
“I don’t remember what it’s like to feel normal,” she said at the time.
Tousignant and her family went to social media desperate to find a new donor then in February she received a phone call.
The voicemail, from St. Paul’s Hospital, remains such a pivotal moment she says she’ll never delete it.
“Makes me emotional listening to it,” she said.
Hours after that voicemail, Tousignant was in a hospital bed in Vancouver ready to receive a new kidney from a deceased donor.
It all went well until the next day when Tousignant started bleeding internally and required a blood transfusion.
It was days before she was out of the woods and as she finally started to recover she noticed an immediate change.
“The first thing I noticed after transplant is my hands are pink, that was the first thing I noticed was pink hands,” she said.
But as her body started coming back to life after years of illness, a sense of guilt also moved in.
“I’m over here humble and happy because I get my second chance at life, where there’s a family grieving. I obviously am still struggling with it a bit, there’s a family grieving a loss of somebody,” said Tousignant.
She plans to write a letter to the family expressing her gratitude for the incredible gift, a gift that has made it possible once again to take her 11-year-old son on adventures and finally remember what it’s like to feel normal.
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