Jun 28, 2010 - 5:05 pm
Six years ago a 1 cm tumor was found incidently by CT, for another reason, in my left kidney. Doctors at the University of Michigan recommended a watchful wait after my having additional CT's at three, six, nine and 12 months. I continued with annual scans and would have gone to every other year THIS year if the thing hadn't decided to grow to 1.7 cm...large enough for a biopsy. I was diagnosed with papillary renal cell carcinoma, stage 1 and was told I was an ideal candidate for radiofrequency ablation because of the type, stage and location of the tumor. I underwent this procedure on an outpatient basis on June 23.
Meanwhile, this has all seemed so surreal to me. I'm still numbed by learning that I actually had/have cancer. More and more over the previous six years, the doctors were strongly leaning toward my tumor as being either a cyst or a benign growth. It was encapsulated and wouldn't enhance in the studies that had been done. The day of the biopsy my doctor expected the results would indicate a benign growth, however, he also stated it would still have to be removed.
Now I'm home, in the 5th day following the procedure, am pain free today for the first time since the RFA, but still experiencing a huge lack of energy. I am concerned, especially because of the nagging doubts in my mind that this has been all too simple. I will be having follow up CT's at one month, two months, six months, then annually for awhile. My doctors told me that I should expect a routine biopsy with the two month scan to double check the margins of the area where the tumor existed. Yet I was told they are relatively confident the entire tumor had been destroyed.
If anyone has had RFA as their treatment, I would appreciate hearing from you. Is it normal to be filled with so much doubt. I am thankful I didn't have to experience open surgery and that this kidney saving procedure was available to me. U of M is at the forefront in this type of treatment and has come far in the past six years. When I was first told about that treatment at that time, only 12 had been done. Now they do 250-300 annually and have assured me that their success rate is very high. I'm still very frightened.