The past two years have been a hospital rollercoaster for Sarah Hyland.
After years of vaguely referencing recent health issues, the 28-year-old Modern Family star revealed years of hospitalizations and surgeries in a candid interview with Self. In 2012, the actress surprised the public by confirming she had undergone a kidney transplant, donated from her father, as a result of a life-long battle with kidney dysplasia and resulting kidney failure.
However, Hyland disclosed to the magazine that in October 2016, her body began to reject the organ and it wasn’t properly filtering out waste. After experiencing fatigue and frequent infections and fevers, a doctor’s visit confirmed the kidney was no longer functioning. Hyland spent the rest of the year in and out of the hospital. “We did all of these tests and all of these treatments to try and save the kidney,” she recalled to the magazine, but it was all ultimately unsuccessful. Then, on Valentine’s Day in 2017, she had a port implanted into her chest and went on dialysis for the first time. The multiple weekly dialysis sessions had some significant—and visible—side effects, including weight loss, sciatica, fluid retention and vision damage. Fans may recall Hyland taking to social media in May 2017 to rebuff anorexia claims and noting she hadn’t “had the greatest year.” This was why.
That same month, the transplanted kidney was removed and she later learned her younger brother Ian Hyland was a match and willing to donate. However, the fate of the first transplant left Hyland “very depressed.”
“When a family member gives you a second chance at life, and it fails, it almost feels like it’s your fault. It’s not. But it does,” she told the magazine. “For a long time, I was contemplating suicide, because I didn’t want to fail my little brother like I failed my dad.”
As she explained of her thinking, “I had gone through [my whole life] of always being a burden, of always having to be looked after, having to be cared for.” The star spoke to someone close to her about her suicidal thoughts and ultimately underwent a second transplant in September 2017, just three days after meeting boyfriend Wells Adams in person for the first time. “For anybody that wants to reach out to somebody but doesn’t really know how because they’re too proud or they think that they’ll be looked upon as weak, it’s not a shameful thing to say. It’s not a shameful thing to share,” she said.
While she and Ian remain well after the transplant, Hyland has also been battling endometriosis and unknowingly had an abdominal hernia. This past spring, she underwent two surgeries just weeks apart; a laparoscopic one for endometriosis and another to repair the hernia.
“Laparoscopic [surgery is] one of the most painful things I’ve ever been through in my life,” she noted.
Fortunately, Hyland has had the unyielding support of her loved ones, including her famous beau.
“He’s seen me at my worst,” she told the magazine of their relationship post-transplant . “I think that’s why I feel the most beautiful in his eyes, because he still finds me beautiful after seeing all that.”
As for Sarah, she’s finishing this chapter on a very positive note. As she told the magazine, “I’m stable. I’m thriving. I’m super happy with life.”