Thursday, December 3, 2009


(Facebook Photo: Lydia Novotny and her best friend, Phydeaux. Actually, his name is Oscar.)

In response to Teresa Brenneke's post "Shannon Nelson's Journey" and Jon Balabuck's follow-up, decorated triathlete (2008 Minnesota Rookie of the Year runner-up) Lydia Novotny sent us this e-mail:

Hi ...,

I wanted to actually comment on your recent post about Shannon Nelson and her journey with one kidney. I just recently, well actually two weeks ago had a non functioning left kidney removed and now I'm a part of the exclusive "one kidney club =)." It was nice to hear about someone who is so successful in the sport of triathlons and endurance sports do so well and that there are others out there with one kidney!

Thanks ...
Lydia Novotny

Ed. - We've asked Lydia to share her story with us. Hopefully, she will.

UPDATE: Lydia responded immediately to our request. Here is her story:

Here is a bit of the history behind my surgery:

It all started out last March when I went in for a routine doctor visit and found out my blood pressure was high. Knowing what this means I was a bit shocked since I knew I was fit and ate fairly well...I sort of dismissed the whole high blood pressure issue at first, but then when I went in to the minute clinical at work a few months later, my blood pressure was severely high and that's when I decided to look into this more. After many many tests, the doctors were able to pin down that my issue was my non-functioning left kidney, which I was born with. This kidney was producing a nasty hormone (renin/Ag2) which was restricting my blood vessels thus causing me to have high blood pressure. I was on a blood pressure medication this whole time and knew that I had to make a decision to have the surgery to remove the kidney or stay on the medication for the rest of my life. After visiting Mayo last month and getting more confirmation I was pretty set on the surgery. About two weeks ago I underwent my first surgery to remove the kidney. The first week was really rough, but I've been feeling much better each day. The doctor has told me to take it slow with the training and said it would be a bit of time before I felt 100% again. My blood pressure has actually come down to normal since the surgery with no medications which is great! It was a difficult decision when deciding to remove my kidney since I knew my training would be compromised but I knew that this was the best decision in the long run when it came to my overall health. I think and hope that I'll keep feeling better and doing more and more each day and be ready to have fun and compete in 2010, just like in 2009! -LN