Apr 16, 2002 - 3:02 pm
I can honestly say I know just how you feel, having had my left kidney removed 9 months ago due to stage 3 cancer. You have probably been to Steve Dunn's website on kidney cancer; it's the best there is, and still it doesn't answer everyone's questions. The worst thing about cancer, even so-called "remission", is the fear of recurrence. That fear has taken over my life. At this writing, I am awaiting the results of a ct-scan, bloodwork and a chest x-ray (I see my doctor in six days). In addition, my incision is herniating, and although I have read of such a thing occurring as a consequence of a nephrectomy ("the protrusion of internal organs at the incision due to improper healing or damage to underlying muscles"), I have no more information as to how serious this is, how it is treated, or whether it resolves itself. I emailed Dr. Tirgan (manager of Dr. Tirgan's Cancer Chat Room) and he advised me to see my doctors immediately. Okay, so now I'm really freaked out. Like you, weitz, I still suffer pain where my kidney used to be, as well as between my ribs. I am told that it could "just" be phantom pain, that the brain has organ tissue memory just as it will if you have a limb amputated. I hope that's all it is, but how do I know? I'm sure you can attest to the fact that kidney cancer doesn't give you much in the way of warning, since its symptoms are so nebulous as to be dismissed as a zillion other benign things....so when our bodies send us signals, should we brush them off, or run for more tests? It's drivin me nuts, weitz. My doctor is great; she says don't feel like a hypochondriac - if you're worried, come on in and we'll check you out. But I HATE how cancer has taken over my life; it took my kidney, isn't that enough? I wish I had an answer for you; all I can tell you is try not to ruin your life with worry....now if only I could follow my own advice. Good luck to you and God bless.