For the first time, Selena Gomez has shared the details of her scary kidney transplant in an emotional interview. And Francia Raisa, who donated her kidney to save Gomez’s life, was right there by her side.
In an NBC News interview that aired Monday morning (October 30), Gomez recalled the pain she felt earlier this year after her kidneys started failing from complications with lupus. Unable to find a match amongst family members, and with a donor list seven to 10 years long, she found herself at an impasse.
“I knew that she hadn't been feeling well,” said Raisa, who was Gomez’s roommate at the time. “She couldn't open a water bottle one day. She chucked it and started crying. And I said, ‘What's wrong?’ And that's when she told me.”
Raisa immediately volunteered to get tested and found out she was a match, which Gomez believes is no coincidence. Her illness had progressed “to the point where it was really life or death,” and she believes her friend saved her life.
“She volunteered and did it. And let alone someone wanting to volunteer, it is incredibly difficult to find a match. The fact that she was a match, I mean that’s unbelievable. That’s not real,” she said.
While Raisa’s operation went smoothly, Gomez had to undergo an emergency second surgery after one of her arteries had flipped. The girls’ recovery was similarly difficult, as they were both put on bed rest and needed assistance with basic tasks like getting dressed. These days, however, Gomez’s lupus is in remission and there’s only a small chance that it will return.
“It’s really hard to think about, or even to swallow, especially now that as soon as I got the kidney transplant, my arthritis went away, my lupus, there’s about a 3 to 5 percent chance it will ever come back, my blood pressure is better,” Gomez said. “My energy, my life has been better.”