Dream Tour surfer Paige Hareb has revealed she underwent major surgery this year for a kidney problem she's had since birth.
The surgery was kept under wraps for nearly two months with Hareb writing about the operation on her online blog yesterday.
"I had the surgery on the second of November," she said.
"When I found out what it was, I was pretty scared actually. I didn't know what was going to happen."
The 22-year-old said she has had what she thought was a sore back for the past five years, which at times has caused her to vomit on long flights.
"Pretty much every flight this year I was spewing up," she said.
"I thought it was just a muscle in my back and have been to physios, chiropractors and doctors. I've pretty much had every test, but not the right ones."
Hareb said no one had the answer so she went to Warriors rugby league team doctor John Mayhew, who diagnosed the problem straight away.
"Basically the tube that connects my right kidney with my bladder was twisted and the fluid wasn't getting through properly so it was stuffing up my kidney," Hareb told the Taranaki Daily News. "My kidney was only working at like 38 per cent."
Hareb said she was told it can come on at any age but that she was born with it.
"He said he hadn't seen a case like mine for 10 years, then he saw two in a week so he knew what it was straight away and sent me to get the tests."
The tests confirmed what Mayhew diagnosed and Hareb went under the knife in Auckland soon after.
"The surgery is called pyeloplasty, it was done through four keyholes with a robot," she said.
"It took 2 1/2 hours and I was in hospital for a day and a night."
A stent which was inserted was taken out last week.
She said the sickness and pain started when she began competing internationally.
"It sort of came on randomly and would get inflamed, it just got worse and worse," she said. "For the whole five years I didn't know what it was and didn't want to complain - everyone gets a sore back."
The surgery was the second for Hareb this year after she broke a little finger while snowboarding.
"I was basically standing still and pushed off a wall of snow only to get my right pinky caught.
"A week later I saw the finger specialist only to be rushed to surgery for a metal plate and six screws to be put in," she said.
That operation was in October and Hareb had four weeks out of the water, before finding out about the kidney problem and getting surgery in November.
"I only got one surf in between operations," she said.
"I've been out of the water for more than two months so I'm just keen to get fit again."
She was feeling better than ever and there had been no pain since the surgery.
"I'm even more energetic. Apparently it was affecting my iron levels too, they were really low but they are good now."
Hareb said she was now looking forward to her fifth consecutive year on the Dream Tour.
"It's early days yet," she said.
"The other girls on tour surf good and are getting better but hopefully I'll have my best year ever."
Hareb heads to Australia to prepare for the 2013 season at the end of January.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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