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  • Debbie Murphy

Two Years with 1 Kidney Just Keeps Getting Better

This time two years ago I was in an operating theatre having my left kidney removed in a surgery that lasted five and a half hours. Today I was up and out at 5.30am for a 2 mile run and I’ll shortly be off to yoga to rid some of the aches and pains I have from my first netball practice in 30 years this week. I haven’t felt this fit and healthy since, well probably since I last played netball which was at school. When I read back my blog post from 12 months ago I see that I wasn’t in such a good place. Surgery did take it’s toll on me and although I tried to deny it, so did cancer. Complications with back pain meant my journey back to health hasn’t been as straightforward as I would want. However, I was determined to put kidney cancer behind me and saw the best way to forge ahead was to become as fit as I possibly could. My memories of the day I joined the ‘Mono Kidney Club’ are still clear. It was snowing and in the car on the way Thorn in my Side was playing (very apt…). I can recall the gown I wore, meeting the surgeon in a tiny room where I was fascinated with his tiny hands (a good thing for a surgeon I think) and he dropped all his paperwork on the floor (not a good thing…). Being led from room to room, being asked which kidney was being removed (a little freaky as I hoped they’d know) and then having to climb onto the operating table myself which seemed really bizarre. One of the things that struck me most was the anaesthetist admiring my sleeve tattoo and preferring to hook my other arm up rather than pierce the tattooed one. Since my surgery I have had more work done on my sleeve, in particular I’ve had a kidney tattooed into it. I chose to have a kidney made up of leaf shapes and coloured green as this is the colour that represents kidney cancer awareness.


Right now I’m in a far better place than I have been in over two years. Even before I became ill, albeit suddenly I wasn’t aware of how precious my health was and looking back I can see I was complacent with life in general. Today I feel stronger, more determined and happier than I have in a long time. There are many debates about the question of whether cancer can be affected by your state of mind and I’m not about to enter into any of them. I can only say that my own strength of mind has helped pull me through this cancer ordeal. As for healthy mind, healthy body, it ‘s working for me.

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