• Browse
  • Print
  • Close

Steph's story

At birth, I was premature, breach, unable to pass urine and unable to breathe without assistance. I had a condition known as Posterior Urethral Valves. The doctors gave my parents two choices; one was to turn off the life support and let me die and the other was an operation that might prolong my life for two months. Mum told them 'we are going to pray for a miracle' and my parents told the doctors to go ahead with the operation.

After six weeks I was able to go home for the first time. At one year old I had my left kidney removed as it didn't function at all. I couldn't go to the toilet naturally until I was five and had reconstructive surgery on my bladder. I can still remember going to the toilet for the first time.

I had many trips to the hospital for check-ups and minor operations. At age 12, I began getting serious infections in my kidney as my bladder muscles were too weak to fully drain. Doctors performed an Appendicovesicostomy which is an operation to create a stoma from my appendix to drain my bladder.

At 16 and studying Year 10 at school, my kidney function fell rapidly. I lost a lot of weight fast and remember lying awake every night thinking I was going to die. Both of my parents were compatible, however Mum decided to be the donor so Dad could stay and work the family dairy farm.

Mum had the five hour operation. The next day I woke up and even though I was unable to move, I felt well. I had never known what it was like to feel well until that day. The new kidney had almost instantly started to function and functioned fully within days.

I had a year off to fully recover and just enjoy myself. I surfed and fished almost every day. I had a very close encounter with a 2.5 metre shark going under my board. Then I joined the surf life-saving club and trained with them for about four months. I did weight training and went running every day and became very fit.

My neighbour had a heart attack and asked me to mow the lawn while he recovered. I discovered I was very good and very fast at it and I loved working with plants. I started a lawn mowing and gardening business, which I still own and run today. I have been quite successful with it and have gone on to study Certificate III in horticulture.

I still surf, fish and ride motor bikes every chance I get and I thank God every day.

I love life...

Nic