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jeff101
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

Hi All: I just found out Thursday I have cancer in the right kidney. I had a catscan for kidney stones 6 months ago and my urologist was suspicious, so I waited six months and had another one done which revealed two lesions. I was in such shock when I talked to the doctor that I forgot to ask any good questions. AS he hung up he said "have a good day" and I thought, yeah right! I see him on Wed and must admit my fears ran rampant. Finding this site helped to lot to calm me down. It is first stage cancer so I should be fine, but facing surgery and recovery is daunting. Over the last 6 years I had two autoimmune diseases both of which are now under control with medication and, just as I was feeling better, this came along. I have to say this diagnosis effected more than the other two, I guess because it has the C word. It is a struggle not to sink into depression, though I know it is still early in the process. Anyway, wanted to say hello and that reading other people's stories has already helped. Jeff

MikeK703's picture
MikeK703
Posts: 235
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi Jeff,
This is a club that nobody really wanted to join. But after we learned we had kidney cancer, we were happy to call ourselves "survivors." If there's anything good to say about your situation it is that you are in stage 1 (as I was) and the survival rate for stage 1 cancer patients is excellent. Once they get it out, it's usually gone forever. As it appears the mass is small, they may do a partial nephrectomy but may decide on a radical nephrectomy, depending on the location of the mass. It will be either open or laproscopic (the latter has a shorter healing time). Mine was a laproscopic radical and I was just about back to my old self after 6 weeks. Started feeling much better though after about three. Your life has changed, no doubt, but don't think it's over. It appears that you're a long way from that. My doctor broke the news to me on the phone also. First he told me my gall bladder had to come out because it was badly infected and I had a huge gallstone. That was the easy one. Then he dropped the bomb. "Sorry to be the one who had to give you the double whammy," he said. Not as sorry as I was, though. Research your questions (here is a good place to start) and write them all down and make sure you get a urologist/surgeon that you like and trust. You may have to wait for the surgery. But that's okay. Kidney cancer is slow growing and slow to metastasize. I had to wait for 6 weeks. So have a lot of others here.
Keep us in the loop.
Regards,
Mike

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1570
Joined: Jan 2010

Jeff,

You are not alone in being scared and depressed when told you have Kidney Cancer and than major surgery right out of the gate to boot. I sure was. Mine was 9 and 1/2 years ago and the little buggar was 4.2 cm. If it is small and stage 1 your chances of a full recovery approach 100%. Hang in there. The surgery is not fun, but there is no alternative. Unlke other Cancers the members of this club who are diagnosed early are not subject to Chemo or medication. Best wishes for a full and complete recovery. Get the surgery and recovery behind you ASAP. Thing do get better. Sorry for the dues necessary to join our club.

Icemantoo

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Jeff, you've come to a good place where you'll receive a warm welcome and a lot of help from some smart people who've gone through it all - some still around and in great form, 10 years on.

It's easily said but try not to worry too much at this point. We can offer more help when you've got more info. on Wednesday. You say it's cancer but is that already known for sure? Are both lesions on the right kidney? You'll need to know how large they are and exactly where they're sited. It will be important (depending on size) to know whether the lesions are "complex" and whether they are "hyper-dense".

There are many different approaches to treatment but surgery is quite likely. If the lesions are not very large, it shouldn't be too problematic and the prognosis for you would be very good. If surgery looks likely, you'll want to know whether it's necessary to remove the whole kidney or whether some of it can be preserved (better if it's possible but more expertise is necessary in performing the op.) Surgery could be laparoscopic (popularly called "keyhole" surgery) with 3 very small incisions, not much pain and quick recovery. If that's not possible, then open surgery will involve a bigger cut, a bit more bleeding and a few more days in hospital (say 5 or 6 days instead of maybe 3 or 4).

You'll probably soon make the acquaintance of the "grand old man" of the thread - icemantoo - who tells it like it is and has warned newcomers that he "can't sugar-coat" the first 2 days of recovery which are always pretty sore (I had my right kidney and an 8cm tumour removed by open surgery four weeks ago and I can confirm iceman's statement).

The worst-case scenario for you is probably a lot better than you're supposing and you're likely to suffer a lot less than many of the great folks you'll bump into here. So, try to keep calm and let us know more after you've seen your doc. on Wednesday. I bet you have a happier new year than you're imagining!

T.

KatfromFlorida's picture
KatfromFlorida
Posts: 66
Joined: Aug 2011

You will never find a better group of people than the folks here. I had my 6cm baby removed by a partial on Sept 13th 2011. The surgery is definately a bear but the worst part is what we tend to do to ourselves mentally prior to that event.
This place was a god send for me. When you find you have cancer it really does help to talk to others who have been there and survived it. Family is important too but I found that sometimes talking about it with my family made the whole situation much worse. They love you and want to help but there are moments when you will feel like other people just don't get it, they don't understand that you won't know what you need, why you feel bad for no reason, cry when no one is around and worry about what this will mean for your future and theirs as well. You will be afraid and have moments where you will wonder how the heck your gonna get to the end of this, trust me,it may not seem like it but you will make it. Just take care of yourself as much as you can and come here when you need to. We will be here ......
Many prayers to you and your family
Kat

Jamie1.3cm's picture
Jamie1.3cm
Posts: 188
Joined: Jan 2011

Sorry to have you join the group, but we can certainly talk you through everything you'll be going through: the worry about surgery, the surgery itself, the recovery.

Sometimes the immunosuppressant meds we take for auto-immune diseases leave us vulnerable to weird infections and cancers. But the good news is, we are so closely monitored that if something does pop up, it's usually caught early, as yours seems to be. The cause of kidney cancer is not known, so it could be anything.

Do ask your doc about size (usually given in centimeters), what surgical approach is planned (laproscopic or open), what surgery is planned (total or partial or cryoablation).

braswelm's picture
braswelm
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2011

Sorry to welcome you to the club, but glad you found your way here. I would echo what others have said, and assure you we have all had the same feelings. I had a 7.8 cm tumor on the left kidney. They did a radical nephrectomy (laparoscopic) on Nov. 23, two days in the hospital, home for about 4 weeks, went back to work last week.
Just take it easy during recovery. The first few days can be kind of rough. But it sounds like they found it early enough that you should have an excellent prognosis. And do ask questions of your doctor.
Keep us posted on how you are doing.
Mike

jeff101
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

Thanks all. Your comments have been very helpful. I will check back in after I talk to my doc on Wed-thanks for helping me formulate my questions too. Jeff

Sm4pack's picture
Sm4pack
Posts: 40
Joined: Dec 2011

Hi Jeff-
I too received an RCC diagnosis recently (12/22). I will have a surgery on 1/9. I completely understand the emotions you are feeling. I am 40 with two little boys who I desparately want to see become men. After connecting with folks on this site, my perspective changed in a positive way. When you hear the "c" word a lot of things go through your head. But, I will tell you that your feelings of sadness will turn to hope as you continue to connect with the great folks on this discussion board. From what you know so far, I would bet that you are going to be ok. It will be important to ensure you get some answers from the doctor on Wednesday--as others have pointed out. RCC can be treated. Many times removal of the kidney (full or part of it) is all that is needed. Feel blessed that that they seem to have detected this quite early!
Hang in there buddy. We are all here for you.

God Bless you

Scott

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Jeff,

Like nearly everyone that survives RCC yours was found when they were looking for something else, its kinda like winning the lottery, but with a much more valuable prize. I'm a little past 2 years post-op and going strong. The waiting game between dx and surgery can be tough, but keeping busy doing things like research, finishing projects that have been put off, planning your recovery, and exercise will keep your mind busy and hold the inner demons at bay. It will be behind you before you know it and you will be looking forward to many many years of life after RCC, early detection is the key. Keep us posted and we'll help you through it. Now about that lottery ticket...

Good luck and God speed,

Gary

jeff101
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2012

I met with my doctor yesterday and the news is mostly good. The tumor is very small and located at the edge of the left kidney close to the spleen. We can take it out without removing the whole kidney using robotic laproscopy. I should be in the hospital 2-3 days and recovery shouldn't be too long. The only fly in the ointment is that the kidney on the right side has a fairly large abnormal area, but neither the doc who read the scan nor my urologist know what that abnormality is. It is not yet cancer so we have to follow it with scans every 6 months. The urologist said if it develops into cancer we will have to take out the right kidney. But, as someone wrote in another thread, I am hoping it is a furball that will either disappear or not develop into anything. At any rate the news for now is pretty good. Thanks everyone for your support during the scary period of not knowing what was happening. I should have the surgery within the next three weeks. Jeff

garym's picture
garym
Posts: 1651
Joined: Nov 2009

Jeff,

In the interest of staying positive, I would say all good news instead of mostly good. Your tumor is small and manageable that's good news, whatever you have on the right is not RCC and that's even better news. At some point you may decide that you want to know what is going on on the right side, but for now stay positive, concentrate only on the known, and don't give those inner demons even a small foothold. Heck, we probably all have unknown imperfections truth be told.

Hang in there,

Gary

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