Tag Archives: Kidney Donation

3 years and counting! | Kidney donation success

It has been 3 years since my Dad received his new Kidney! A day worth celebrating because it represents so much to my family and I.

A couple of times a year my Dad will make the trip to Dunedin to have a checkup with the Nephrologist. Going by car each time seems a little bring, so this time both Mum and Dad decided to load their bikes to the car… Mum cycled the entire way from Wanaka totaling over 300km in 3 days! Dad has ridden much of that trip before riding as far as Middlemarch which is still an impressive 240km.

All too often people will take health for granted. It is a constant urge to maintain fitness, a balanced diet and well-being that keeps us all healthy. When we pay attention to what our body truly needs we move closer to an intrinsic balance. Move every day, eat & drink well and trust in your bodies ability to deliver. Dad and I are doing great.

It seems my family believe in this idea of a healthy lifestyle. The more km we clock up on our bikes the better we feel. Choose to take the bike more and the car less this Summer. Move more, sit less and keep your Kidneys healthy!

Bike vs Car                 

N.Z Living Kidney Donor Network is underway

Did you know that people lucky enough to survive the 4-5 year wait-list for a kidney, only 30% of them would receive one from a deceased doner? I was fortunate to attend a meeting recently, held by Kidney Health New Zealand. Ten keen kidney doners crossed paths in Christchurch and shared ideas on starting a Living Kidney Doner Network (LKDN).

• Helping to increase living kidney donations in New Zealand
• A support group to donors – mentor to those donating
• Educating people on personal stories
• Increasing financial support for live donors

Continued support for people involved in this life saving operation is very important to us. Providing the public with well informed information about donating and general kidney awareness is key here, because we are bound to someone who will be affected by renal disease.

We are still in the early stages of getting our project off the ground. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can make this opportunity better than it already is, please get in touch.

One year Transplant Anniversary

A year ago today my Dad and I were able to go through an operation that has changed our lives forever. What the surgeons and their team were able to do is quite extraordinary and has since given my Dad a new lease on life, in every sense. The new found energy, fitness and general well-being has helped him be more resourceful, healthier and ultimately happier. Mum and Dad are able to go on bike rides and enjoy their active lifestyle again like they used too.

Last week we designed and constructed a 6m long retaining wall which required a lot of digging and general grunt lifting everything into place. It makes me feel very proud and honored to have helped him feel the way he does now. It blows me away the improvements I have seen and I feel humbled to have made a difference.

As there is always a chance Rob’s immune system will reject the new Kidney, he will continue to take his medication every day for the rest of his life. It is also quite important to avoid periods of sun exposure as it can counter the usefulness of the drugs. The awareness and quality of our diets has always been pretty good and we continue to avoid foods which are loaded with preservatives and additives. Too much sodium in anyones diet cannot be a good thing and it is important that we give our Kidneys an easy work load to prolong their longevity.

It is pleasing to know that I have not noticed any physical limitations due to the operation. I continue to wear a helmet and spine jacket while snowboarding and do cross training, balancing exercises which give me a little piece of mind when I ride. The support from my Sister, Mum and those close to me means a great deal to me … bring on the next year!

Here is a photo of my most amazing and supportive parents!

10 months & 30 years

It was a little surreal attaching a Snow Park lift pass to my Mum’s snowboard jacket. Myself along with some of the Rookies were getting ready for a day of riding park, along with many pro riders warming up for a competition. Brook rode with the Rookie crew and it was really nice to shred with Mum for a day. How many can say that!?
30 years ago Mum and Dad celebrated bring me into the world! A little over 10 months Dad and I went through successful operations and recoveries from a Kidney transplant. So far so good! Below is a short video I made to say thanks to my Mum (and Dad) for everything they’ve done and said to bring me where I am today.

Thanks Mum! from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

Cycling around some Alps

One of the reasons for taking on a trip like this was to get myself in the best shape possible prior to donating one of my Kidneys to Dad. Anyone can get in a car and enjoy this part of the world, however the experience becomes so much richer on many different levels using a bike. As I edit this trip together I am counting down the days before I can snowboard again. I’m in Whistler, Canada and it’s been almost 5 weeks since the transplant and I feel pretty good to ride next week!

The video below is a documented video of Christina & I cycling around part of the Southern Alps of New Zealand. We enjoyed surprisingly nice weather considering the coast’s damp reputation, that was until the last day arriving home in Wanaka.

Powered by copious amounts of snacks including One Square Meals, Whittakers Chocolate and assorted nuts we claimed 1026km over 8 1/2 days.

Wanaka – Makarora – Lake Paringa – Fox – Hokitika – Arthurs Pass – Methven – Farlie – Omarama – Wanaka

Thank you to all our friends and family who met at the Federal Diner in Wanaka and supported us. Enjoy the 6 minute and 30 second to showcase the awesome trip we did.

Alps Loop from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

My first FIS boarder X race is only a few days away…

Since my races in Canada went surprisingly well, I decided to enter the New Zealand Winter Games. In a few days I will have the fortune of competing with some of the best racers in the world!

So during training I crash – 1 day before the race. I ruptured a ligament in my right ankle. The rehab is going okay. Been back on my board since so just taking it easy for a few weeks.

‎”History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”

Bertie Charles Forbes
1880-1954, Financial Journalist, Author and founder of Forbes Magazine

We’ll see if it’s true!

Dialysis treatment is under way.

It has been 4 weeks since Dad had surgery. The doctors knocked him out and inserted a tube into his peritoneal cavity. This tube is attached to the outside of his bladder and has a valve. Fluid is drained into the space around his intestines and sits there for a few hours, then drained out through the same tube.

The fluid acts as a third kidney removing the impurities from his blood system. Each bag is filled with electrolytes & Glucose and needs to be at body temperature when drained in.

“The best part about it he says is that I can do it anywhere, sitting on the couch or even a cafe up the mountain!” This process happens four times a day, every day until the transplant which will hopefully happen in October.

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Photos and words by Richie Johnston, WordPress

Being a Potential Donor. Part 2

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The bed slides forward and comes to a rest inside what looks like a dounut. My arms are above my head and I try to relax. ”inhale and hold your breath…’ I feel a warm rush pass through my body from the IV – into my chest, down into my abdomen, groin, fingertips & toes.

It is the iodine or tracer being pumped into my vein and eventually through my Kidneys. BEEP WHIR BUZZ ‘Now breath normally..’ The CT machine seems to have finished scanning my body. After six minutes I find myself inside the donut again getting another scan. I feel hungry thinking about donuts because I was not allowed to have any breakfast that morning. I am also busting to pee because of all the water the doctor told me to drink prior to the scan!

After two days in Dunedin I have had a Psychological Review, CT Scan and a meeting with the Doctor to see how everything is going. So far so good! My blood and tissue is a match with my Dad’s and the ball is rolling.

In a few weeks I will travel to Christchurch with Dad to meet with the surgeons and make a plan for the transplant. Today Dad leaves for Dunedin to start Dialysis. Not the best way to celebrate his Birthday but the results from the treatment will make him feel better and reduce the nausea. A coffee and a catch up with Mum & Dad was enjoyed in Wanaka yesterday instead.

Once again, If you or anyone else you know would like to know more information about this whole process I would love to listen & share more. Thanks for reading.

Being a Potential Donor

It has been well over a year now since I found out about my Dad’s Kidneys. They have deteriorated to the point where they’ve just about lost all their function. In about two weeks time, Rob will already have the tube put in and started the Dialysis treatment. This process will help him feel better and potentially reduce the assortment of drugs he currently takes on a daily basis.

Returning from Canada early this season was good because it allowed me to spend quality time with my Sister Rosie and of course Mum (Janey) & Dad. Lots of trips to visit were great because it meant I could bounce thoughts to them and of course get the hugs. The support from them along with friends has been amazing. It only takes a few moments to listen, but it certainly means a lot.

Last week I had a Radioactive fluid injected into my arm. Blood was taken at two hour intervals throughout the day to measure my bodies effectiveness of removing the radiation. The tests will continue, including a psychological assessment, CT Scan an numerous Doctor visits to Dunedin. If this all goes to plan then the operation may take place in October/November. To see my Dad healthy again, dancing Ceroc & Tango, walking up Mt Iron, cycling his cruiser, selling goods at the Farmers Market among many other things will make me and everyone around him very happy.

If you or anyone else you know is affected by Kidney disease, I Would love to hear from you. I hope the few photos i’ve posted share some insight on this whole process and perhaps make it easier for someone considering being a donor themselves. If you have any thoughts or questions I would love to hear from you.

Thank you,