Modern Family star Sarah Hyland has admitted to having suicidal thoughts following 16 surgeries which left her covered in scars.
The 28-year-old has kidney dysplasia, a condition which occurs when one or both of a foetus’ kidneys do not develop normally.
Hyland was diagnosed as a child and endured seven surgeries before the age of four. In 2012 she had a kidney transplant with an organ donated by her dad Edward James.
Although her father was a match, towards the end of 2016 the kidney inexplicably began to fail.
Sharing her story with Self magazine, Hyland explained the situation:
We did all of these tests and all of these treatments to try and save the kidney, but they basically said that the transplanted kidney was like a house that caught on fire. You can’t unburn a house.
Between February and October 2017, the actor underwent dialysis three times a week, for four hours each time. Her weight dropped to 87 pounds – just over six stone – and she had her father’s kidney removed in May.
During her dialysis Hyland learned her younger brother was a match for her, but the first failed attempt at a transplant made the 28-year-old wary of trying again.
She admitted she felt pressure for the second transplant to work, and the thought worried her so much she even considered suicide.
When a family member gives you a second chance at life, and it fails, it almost feels like it’s your fault. And it’s not, but it does.
When a second family member, someone, you’re supposed to look after, like a little brother, wants to give you a third chance at life, it’s scary, because you don’t want to fail them.
For a long time, I was contemplating suicide, because I didn’t want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad.
Thankfully, however, the star had the transplant and it seems to have taken well. She told Self she is ‘healed and the numbers are good’, though her health issues mean she underwent approximately 16 surgeries before she turned 27.
Hyland likened her scars to ‘a samurai sword attack or a shark bite’, and explained how she finds it difficult to display her stomach, where the new kidney sticks out.
Still mentally it’s hard to get over that. I think personally for someone to be so tiny to have a stomach that looks like the New Jersey turnpike, just shows who I am and what kind of character I have.
As well as her family, Hyland has support from her radio DJ boyfriend Wells Adams, who she went on her first date with three days before her second kidney transplant.
She recalled how they talked the whole time she was in hospital, saying:
He was texting me in the morning before I went into surgery, and we were FaceTiming the entire time I was in the hospital.
He’s seen me at my worst… He was there through all of that. I think that’s why I feel the most beautiful in his eyes, because he still finds me beautiful after seeing all that.
Hopefully Hyland won’t face any difficulties with her new kidney.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.