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The circle of life...

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

Hi everyone,

I’d like to tell you about my weekend, but for you to fully appreciate it I need to retell my story with a bit more detail. I apologize for the length, but it is a good story and I swear every word is true.

About 27 years ago my neighbors, Bruce and Kim, were signing their sons up for wrestling and since my boys were roughly the same age wondered if we might be interested, long story short we spent the next 12 years sharing rides to practices, tournaments, etc. and became very good friends.

In the spring of 2005 my son and his new father-in-law were going to the state wrestling tournament and invited me to join them. During the course of the day the conversation turned to a motorcycle trip that Bob (the father-in law) was planning out west and by the end of the day I was invited to go along, I hadn’t ridden a motorcycle in about 20 years at this point. What’s important here is the wrestling connection that got me back on a bike.

October 29, 2009 the day of my accident and subsequent RCC dx. I was following Bob that night, last bike in line, as usual, so there were no witnesses to the accident. When the guys realized I was missing and turned around they found a mystery lady kneeling in prayer beside by motionless body on the side of the road, they thought I was gone. When help arrived the mystery lady disappeared and since she was not a witness the police never even recorded her name which saddened me as I wanted to at least thank her for her kindness. In early December a couple weeks after my surgery Kim’s aunt on the other side of the state invited her to tag along to a jewelry party she had been invited to. When she introduced herself and told the group that she was from west Michigan another lady mentioned that she recently attended a wedding on Kim’s side of the state and wondered if they would like to hear an interesting story about her trip. She said that upon leaving the reception her GPS instructed to turn right out of the parking lot, instead she turned it off and told her traveling companion that she felt compelled to find a different way home and turned left. She said she then took the next left she came to and had driven only a short distance when as she rounded a curve she came upon a man lying in the road next to his wrecked motorcycle at which point Kim exclaimed “OH MY GOD, I KNOW HIM!”. Turns out my mystery lady was a trauma nurse, while I still remember nothing from that night, she tended to my immediate needs, directed my friends to traffic control, advised the arriving EMT’s of my condition and then quietly returned to her car and drove away. Kim got her name and address and we have exchanged several letters since.

About a year and a half ago we moved my mother-in-law into a nearby assisted living facility, a few months later Bruce’s dad took up residence there as well. My mother-in-law passed away peacefully surrounded by family Sunday afternoon. During the vigil on one of my hall way stints I ran into Bruce’s dad and he asked if I had heard about Bruce. It seems he had been having trouble peeing blood and had gone to the ER where they ran a bunch of tests and found a mass on his kidney. I made a mental note to get in touch with him as soon as I could.

Sunday evening Kim called with condolences while Bruce was visiting his dad and we wound up talking at length about his condition, tumor size, options, you all know the drill. Then she told me that in the ER that night when the doctor delivered the news she said to them “I know how devastating this seems, but there is hope. Two years ago I treated a man following a motorcycle accident, he had surgery a few weeks later and he is alive and well today.” Bruce said “That sounds like Gary.” The ER doc was speechless.

So it is that my good friend has become the 8th person in my life to be diagnosed with this effing disease and I can only hope that the circle is now closed. While I am glad that my experience will help make things easier for Bruce, my hatred of RCC is yet again renewed.

Thanks to all of you for being there for me,

Gary

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

What a fascinating story - thanks for sharing it Gary. I wonder how many people have been touched by this disease as often as you have. I fear the number will be on the increase though. All the best, as ever, T.

One Lucky Girl's picture
One Lucky Girl
Posts: 68
Joined: Feb 2012

Hi Gary,

Your story gave me goosebumps from head to toe, especially reading about all the interlocking players/events and the compulsion the trauma nurse had to turn left. Ooohhhhhh.

I'm really sorry to hear about your mother-in-law and also so sorry to hear about Bruce. Until recently kidney cancer had never touched my world, so it astounds me to hear how often you have lost loved ones to this insidious disease. How awful for you. Be strong and have faith that Bruce will have the successful outcome you did. Big hugs.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1720
Joined: Oct 2011

Boy, how fascinating! It's a small world. I hope I never have to have any of my acquaintances receive this diagnosis. I already meet enough friends here.

ivfour
Posts: 42
Joined: Nov 2011

Thanks for sharing the whole story. It amazes me how I believe that God has a plan in many things. Mine was not near as dramatic but many things happened the day of my wreck that made things happen in a positive way. I had just received my motorcycle license and debated riding my own trike but changed my mind and rode as a passenger on the back with my husband. I also didn't wear my leather chaps because I tout ere wasn't enough room for later in the day when it might get too hot. Anyway, I wore the chaps and rode as a passenger which allowed for my diagnosis to be learned and I had protective leather for my legs. In addition, we were supposed to be the last bike out and another member in our group changed as we left the parking lot so they immediately saw us go down and his wife is a RN. A passing motorcycle rider was also another nurse and he stopped to provide help. We landed in the only grassy spot and far enought from our leaving destination to a major trauma center who was able to save my husband's foot (seriously considered amputation) but a specialist was available for that weekend. I have so many things to be thankful for and believe God had a plan in this wreck. We have been blessed with a great family, friends, and coworkers throughout this journey.and it sounds like you have too. God bless.

littledarlin's picture
littledarlin
Posts: 102
Joined: Mar 2012

What a interesting story Gary..It sure is a small world..Interesting how we all fit into the scheme of things and how our lives are intertwinded in some way. I wonder if this is by chance or some kind of divine intervention. Maybe it is part of a much bigger plan?

LD..

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

LD,

Even if I believed in chance or coincidence my perspective would have been forced to change, instead this reaffirmed my belief that all things happen for a reason.

An up date on my friend:

The tumor is in the middle of his left kidney and they had planned a full lap. nephrectomy but found his right kidney is very small with limited function, may have been so since birth, so switching to open partial and hoping to avoid dialysis. He is in good spirits and his sons have told him that if he needs a kidney they have spares.

I'll keep you posted,

Gary

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 595
Joined: Mar 2012

I cannot believe how many people seem to be coming up with this cancer. Are all of your associates living in the same area Gary? Why so many young people too. I wonder if they are certain meds, live in a certain are etc. What can this be from? Don't drink the water type of thing? I pray for all of us each day and am glad to hear all the positive stories. Thanks for sharing.

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

Bruce is scheduled for surgery Monday...his right kidney is functioning at about 30%...they are hoping it is capable of more following surgery...doc has told them he is 80% sure the mid-partail neph will go smoothly...fingers crossed.

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 1720
Joined: Oct 2011

....We are with him.....we will trust his health care team..

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

Bruce's surgery went pretty well except that they found a second smaller mass (benign thankfully) and had to take more of the kidney (about 75%) than expected. His creatanine (sp) level has already dropped from over 2 to around 1.5 which says his two small kidneys are working well so far. Doc said he is confident they got it all, we'll know for sure in a week. Kim said he is up for visitors so wife and I will go visit him tonight.

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

Have a good visit and be sure to pass on best wishes from another friend of yours, here.

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

Thanks T.

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

They actually saved 75% of his kidney, we got it confused over the phone. Had a nice visit. He has an epidural for pain so he's feeling great for now, up and walking, expects to go home Thursday.

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

It must be that LSD again Gary!

Sounds like very good news. Perhaps your luck's changing in terms of the RCC fates of those close to you, maybe reflecting the new era we're in, with cancer transitioning from being a fatal disease to a chronic one.

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

If you're right about life being a circle it would explain why some of us square pegs have such a problem fitting into it.

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