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Emotional impact of recurrence of renal cell

wart01
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2007

In 2001, I was had a partial nephrectomy performed on my left kidney for stage I renal cell cancer. In March, 2007 I was informed that a follow-up CT scan indicated that I had another tumor near the renal vein on the left kidney. My doctor says that the tumor is small and I have no signs of cancer at any other locations and that I should live another 30 years after my second surgery this May. In 2001, I was told that my odds of the cancer coming back was less then 1% and thought it was no big deal, I'll have the surgery and be cured. Even though my prognosis is good -- it usually isn't for recurring renal cell cancer patients -- I seem to be having more lows than I did in 2001 after the renal cell cancer diagnosis, feel more of a need to talk about the cancer (but do not know who to talk with about the cancer for fear of appearing that I am looking for sympathy or upsetting others)and generally feel overly focused on the cancer.

Generally, I am feeling a bit lost and vulnerable as well.

Are these feelings normal?

Thanks You.

lbinmsp's picture
lbinmsp
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2006

Hello. First, let me say how sorry I am that you're experiencing a recurrence. I think your doctor may be right on since your recurrence is basically in the same general location as the original cancer and has not spread. We'll think good thoughts and pray that he's right.

Let me tell you from personal experience that all your emotions and fears seem completely normal to me. Because I'm having all the same things for pretty much the same reason.

I had a radical nephrectomy done in June of 2001 - path report came back as a Stage I with no spread or lymphatic involvement. In 2006 tumors were found in my lung - biopsy proved metastases from the original kidney cancer. They were able to surgically remove the cancer (lower lobectomy) and it's now been a year and so far so good. After the initial surgery in 2001 I had no qualms, no real worries. Oh, I cried a few times but just believed the statistics and my doctor and did close, thorough followup all the way along. Now, however, I feel like you. Like there's nobody else out there who knows how I feel - how scared I get sometimes. My friends don't want to hear about it as they too know the statistics at this point and prefer to put their heads in the sand - just like my family. So I find myself using sleeping pills at night to give me some drug-induced time when I'm not fretting about it - and throwing myself into my work (where they know nothing of my health history) and pretend that all is well.

Sometimes now I feel like I'm turning into a hypochondriac ('what's that pain? is it bone cancer?' .... 'why am I coughing so much again - is it back in the lung') ... I'm having close followup every 3 months again but it's like I'm goling through life waiting for the other shoe to drop.

There is a special kidney cancer website (and email list). I think it's been mentioned in some of these postings. You might want to track that down and talk to some others as well.

God bless - and I'll pray that this next surgery will be your last for this beastie!

trishpm
Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2004

The best way to find others in your situation is to join KIDNEY-ONC, an email support group for kidney cancer patients and caregivers. See http://cancerguide.org/kofaq/ .

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