In 2013 Nichola Murphy from New Ross felt unwell and went to the doctor. Within a very short space of time there was a big transition in her appearance. She had lost a lot of weight. Nicola discovered she had a disease called Colitis. This is a disease of the large bowel…… the colon. While in the hospital she had a really bad pain. She was given pain killers and the next morning is when her whole journey began. Her mam was called at 7am to come to the hospital and was told by the surgeons that something very serious had happened. Nicola went for a CAT scan. Everything was happening so fast. A trolley came from the theatre. She was brought to intensive care. It was only at this stage the doctors came and explained exactly what was happening and what the procedure would be. Nicola asked if she could have a second opinion and they told her the time just wasn’t there for a second opinion.
Her colon was starting to perforate. Nicola had just turned 22 and was in her 3rd year in Social Care in Cork College. In her mind she had a deposit on her house and was still going back to college.
At 4 o clock she had her CAT scan and at 6 o clock she was on the theatre table. Nicolas dad had passed away but she was lucky to have the support of family and friends. People that go through this surgery have months of preparation whereas Nicola had none. After the surgery Nicola had a colostomy bag. At the young age of 22 to have a colostomy bag was life changing. She went through three major surgeries. Five years ago, she had an emergency surgery and had a colostomy bag. She then had to travel the road of getting back to being fit and healthy. She took a year out to do this. She then went back to college to finish her course in Social Care. The surgery is a three way surgery. In May 2017 she went through the second stage of her surgery. This was to create an artificial large bowel. Then on the 16th February 2018 she had her final major surgery and received the full reversal. An amazing journey, but thank God she now has no colostomy bag, she received a complete reversal.
Over the past 5 years Nicola has had many good and bad times. At times she found it mentally draining having an ileostomy bag and felt like it held her back from living but she did not let it take over, she got on with life. She continued to live life to the fullest and travelled across Europe, to Thailand and to America and worked in summer camps in Spain.
When she was very sick, she was unable to do full time work so she decided to do some voluntary work with the Wexford Marine Watch. She raised money for the Special Olympics by taking part in the swim a mile event in 2017. She also returned to CIT Cork to complete her Social care degree.
When she had her last surgery, she wanted to challenge herself and give back to the people that helped her. In May she began swimming and going to the gym again. She needed a focus and that was the Hook triathlon. With the help of Martin in the Brandon House Hotel gym, New Ross, he gave her a twelve week training programme and she competed in the Hook triathlon.
Last year she was working in a Dementia unit in New Ross as a social care worker. For many years she wanted to live in London but had been held back by surgery so when she applied to do her Masters in Occupational Therapy in Brunel University, she was overjoyed. She is currently studying full time and works part time with 2 men with autism. She said she is happy now and wouldn’t be the person she is today if it wasn’t for the life experiences over the past 5 years which thought her to be resilient and to keep fighting and said she is so grateful to her family and friends.
She is such an inspiration and in the face of the deepest trouble and hard times she bounced back and because of this she became the South East Radio Talbot Hotel Outstanding Achievement Award Winner for June. Nicola is a credit to herself and her family. She is an achiever. We wish her all the best in her course in London. Nicolas message for people going through hard times is to have the will and keep fighting. You have to have good mental health as well as physical strength, you can’t let it stop you, just keep fighting.