Tipperary woman Rachel remains positive as she awaits kidney transplant

Rachel McCarthy with her husband Sean Og and son Jack
A mother whose kidneys, bladder and uterus were removed as a consequence of an 11-year battle with bladder cancer continues to remain positive as she now awaits a kidney transplant.

A mother whose kidneys, bladder and uterus were removed as a consequence of an 11-year battle with bladder cancer continues to remain positive as she now awaits a kidney transplant.

Rachel McCarthy from Birdhill, who, along with her husband Sean Óg, runs a Physical Therapy College in Limerick decided to share her experience during Organ Donor Awareness Week, which came to a close last weekend.

Rachel McCarthy, 40, the self-employed physical therapist, and programme director of the Institute of Massage and Sports Therapy in Limerick, has been receiving dialysis treatment since her kidneys were removed in 2012.

Rachel explained that she was 28 and newly-married prior to becoming ill.

“Life was good. Myself and my husband, Sean Óg had just moved into to our own cottage. Out of the blue I started to pass blood in my urine and a very long and torturous year-and-a-half ensued. I was eventually diagnosed with bladder cancer which had now spread into the Ureter, going towards the right kidney,” she said.

Rachel spent the next 11 years fighting the cancer, having surgery every three months to cut out the tumours and had recurrent bouts of Chemotherapy to try to stop the spread of it.

“But despite everything that we did the cancer continued to spread up to the right kidney and then to the left. In May 2012 it resulted in me having both kidneys, bladder and uterus removed. Luckily, we (husband Sean Óg) had our son Jack by now. Our dream of having a brother or sister for him was now ended. I was 38,” she said.

Rachel praised the Irish Kidney Association for their help over the last three years that she has been on dialysis, and has been involved in several fundraising events for them, raising close to €2000 to date with the help of her students.

“Several times I have been asked to write my story, but my story isn’t complete yet. Once I receive my transplant, perhaps then I will have an ending to this chapter in my life. For now it’s about staying positive, living my life as I am determined to plan ahead for when I am lucky enough to receive a transplant.”

Rachel has been on the transplant waiting list for two years. Her mother has been screened for living kidney donation but was not a suitable match.