Ten weeks ago my Dad and I underwent surgery in Christchurch Hospital. My procedure was an Open Nephrectomy, to give him a new lease on life by donating my left Kidney. 2011 presented some unprecedented challenges for both family and myself that I could never have anticipated. Although tough and stressful at times, I reflect on my journey and see it as more learning and appreciation for this life I lead.
An already strong bond within our family grew even though we live, at times a great distance apart. Our holistic approach to life helped us acknowledge the negatives and encourage the positives. The Initially I was afraid. The “What ifs” consumed my thoughts and I was scared for my Dad and my personal health. The more I researched the donation process and reading/listening to stories of success the more I wanted to go through with it. When I found out my blood and tissue type was a match with my Dad, I was overwhelmed with excitement.
Since the operation the 20cm scar is a reminder of my Dad, support of friends & family and general love for life. With the help of incredible surgery and hospital facilities, the donation has evolved to become a privilege for me. The bond between my Dad and I has reached a new level and as I read back on previous blog posts, all our goals have come true. He has the energy and freedom to do the things to better fulfil his life and share those experiences with Mum. Dialysis was super helpful and kept him alive and it was great to see his diligence with diet, routine and responsibility.
It has now become a new responsibility to look after his new gift, which his immune system could reject at any time. The assortment of drugs he takes will encourage his body to accept the new organ and this can last up to ten years functioning well. With his two redundant kidneys still left (which now probably resemble raisins) and my new one, he can return to a life full of enjoyment weather its dancing with Mum, biking, skiing and volunteering at local events.
Below is are some highlights from the weekend. After teaching a guest in Whistler, he and his mother shouted myself and Kenrae on a Cat trip into the hills just South of Whistler. Deep powder and large grins every run, every turn. It’s been a true test of my patience waiting until my body was ready for riding again, an awesome way to remember 10 weeks on and celebrate it with waist deep freshies.
Thanks for reading and watching!
Cat Boarding from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.
4 thoughts on “It’s been 10 weeks!”
Hard to comprehend when its consistently 30 deg here mate. You are true inspiration my friend, & nice to see a little glimpse of your belovered in there…… loving that all you can see through the deep as freshies are your matching red riding hoods!!!
Lots of love,
Ems & Frankie
Ems & Frankie Pantz, Thanks for your kind words. You’re getting an extra large hug when I get home.
Thinking of you girls and all the Summer times you’ve been getting involved in.
Kenrae and I are in Big White enjoying a week off. Good times! Lets do the skype soon.
Good on you Richie … I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several kidney donors when I was doing some research a couple of years ago in Christchurch Hospital… I think you are all truly Heroic (with a capital H) and to improve donation rates it is vital that others hear about the positive aspects of donation. Keep posting!
Hello John, Thank you for your comment! More posts to come… All the best.