Tag Archives: Richie Johnston Blog

A few days to go

This time next week I will be recovering from the largest shock my body will have ever faced. I feel increasingly privileged to be the one who can help my Dad. Once my kidney is removed it will leave a scar approximately 25cm in length below the ribs on my left side. Open Nephrectomy was chosen over Laparoscopic surgery because my ‘pipes’ into my Kidney are complex. The MRI scan showed this clearly.

Dad will have an incision below his belly button and the new one will be hooked up to his Artery and vein above the bladder. The recovery time for him will be relatively quick and anti-rejection drugs will be taken every day for the rest of his life.

As for me the recovery will be a little longer because my body is loosing a perfectly healthy organ. 6-8 weeks is usually the time suggested for recovery before most people return to work. That puts me around Christmas so I hope to be settled in Whistler before then.

Friends – close & distant, Family, Doctors & Nurses have been super helpful and informative throughout the last few months and this process would not have been smooth without them.

3pm Sunday I am admitted to Christchurch Hospital and the next day Dad & I will do one of the coolest things we’ve ever done together. The next few weeks will be the biggest challenge we have ever taken on. I like a good challenge.

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Photos and words by Richie Johnston, WordPress

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,


The Caples Adventure

Friend and room mate Emile and I decided to go exploring. We chose the Caples track which is West of Lake Wakatipu, less than an hour drive from Queenstown. Two nights in the bush staying at the Upper Caples hut was a great way to switch off from the day to day life in Wanaka. Easy to follow tracks, inspiring views, friendly company along the way made for a great trip.