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I'm New Here - Awaiting Surgery on Nov. 16

Boolea
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 2012

Hello all,

I just signed up for this site recently. I'm 51 years old, and was diagnosed about a month ago with Stage 1 RCC in my left kidney, with a 3.5cm tumor, and have been scheduled for surgery on Nov. 16th. My urologist said waiting a couple of months for surgery would be ok as the cancer appears to be slow-growing. I had a CT scan done which showed it had not spread, so my prognosis is quite good, thankfully. There is a good chance I may be "cured" with surgery alone...I'm praying.

I read on this forum someone's post where they indicated they had the mass on their kidney a couple of years before, but it was showing as only a "shadow". I had the same thing, my urologist looked at a CT scan I had done 3 years ago for another reason, and said he could see an area of concern. So I very well may have had this tumor for 3-5 years, more or less.

I also have fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis, which has made it difficult to figure out what is aching and for what reason. Some of my areas of weakness have been my left shoulder and mid and lower back, and I also have irritable bladder. Over the past year I have been seeing these symptoms worsen, and thinking it was just the fibromyalgia. I have been doing some research, and wondering if I'm actually starting to have symptoms of the cancer. The back pain and discomfort seems to be focused on my left mid and lower flank. I'm also urinating more frequently and having a lot of discomfort with it. I've also been having some hot flashes, especially at night, and a general feeling of malaise. Again, it's hard to know if the cancer could be causing or affecting my other "baskets" of symptoms.

Sorry for this drawn-out post but just wanted to initiate some discussion here and hopefully hear from others on their experiences.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1801
Joined: Jan 2010

Boolea,

You are coming in with a good diagnosis and my money is on the surgery alone as a full and final cure. Some of those other complaints should go away, but no guarantee.

Icemantoo

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

Hi Boo,

Welcome to the club, I was right where you are nearly 3 years ago. It is highly unlikely that a small tumor like yours is causing the symptoms you describe, but it may be in the basket you talk about in some small way. It is probably having an effect on your mind whether there is an actual physical relationship or not, this is perfectly normal. You hear the words "You have cancer and you need surgery." and your whole world is turned upside down and there is a roller coaster ride of emotions to boot. At 3.5 you most likely will be cured and other than regular follow-up tests for a few years, you'll never have to deal with it again. Be thankful that it was caught early.

Good luck and Godspeed,

Gary

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

Nice to have someone whom we can always depend upon to be logical. Welcome aboard.

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 708
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Boolea, thanks for sharing your information. I was wondering if you actually had a report in your hand from the scan three years ago, and if not, can you get one? Why did they not tell you three years ago that there was an area of concern? I would strongly suggest you bring that up to whoever was in charge of reading those scans. Did you have another scan besides that one? I ask because you mentioned that there has been slow growth. What is he comparing it to, is it the shadow? In any case, the mass is small so there is definitely a good chance for a cure! All the best to you...

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 708
Joined: Mar 2012

Boolea, I forgot to mention that I too suffer with severe FMS. So I can truly relate to when you say that you have so many symptoms that you don't know what to blame on what. Add to the fact that you are 51 and that can cause hot flashes as well as some pains while the ovaries work their magic. Gary is right where they say most people don't feel too many symptoms when the tumor is so small yet. I am having the same exact symptons you are right now only on the right side. I had a scan in April and all that showed was a fleck of calcium which was a remnant of a small stone that i was able to get to pass. Now the pains are back again for the last two weeks, but am also having ovary issues so who knows. I will be going for a sonogram next week. But i have the flashes, the pains in front and back like you, the ibs, neausa and you name it! Sometimes our minds work over time and can play tricks on us. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Right now just get your health together as much as you can and just give yourself a break from worry, the surgery will be soon enough and it will be gone! You are going to be ok. Sending a big hug your way!

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

Ange, I hope I didn't come over as crassly insensitive on larman's thread when I implied that, as a caregiver, you didn't have your own health concerns. However, because you almost never refer to it, I'd forgotten just how badly you suffer from fibro. My sympathies to both you and Boolea - it sounds as though it must be tough to live with. (My Daughter suffered from ME (PVFS) for many years and it sounds like a similar cross to bear.) I must confess that the first time I recall ever hearing of it (even though it evidently afflicts huge numbers of Americans) was reading how much it troubles Lisa (LISAinTN). How are you presently, Lisa? Lisa is round about the same age as you and Boolea - youngsters in the prime of life - have you ever compared notes with Lisa about the FMS, even just for mutual commiseration? I hope your Mom is remaining in good spirits - please give her my regards.

Boolea, it sounds like a difficult differential diagnosis, with all the symptoms you describe and Ange has a good point in urging you to press for as much information as you can get from your specialists. I also agree with the reassurances you've had from our main support team of iceman and Gary - you should be completely rid of your cancer quite soon.

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 708
Joined: Mar 2012

TW, not at all did you come off insensitive! How could you know about the FMS? I don't think i have ever told anyone, but felt the need to share with Boolea to show her that she is not alone in that "basket" term. You truly were expecting me to be healthy and sincerely hoping it to be so. That is a good thing TW! You have positive thoughts and are alright in my book!

FMS is one disease that people can't understand because most of the time we look OK. So it is hard for people to believe we actually feel THAT bad! "ME" is something in the same line and is just as bad. Sorry TW that your daughter had that. You know first hand how awful it is, and how helpless others are when they see their loved ones suffer. I myself don't know Lisa and don't remember seeing her posts. I will keep it in mind. Thank you.

TW, you are correct, though. The caregivers on here really do care about those who are directly fighting cancer and our health concerns pale in comparison. I guess in this day and age no one can really be truly healthy and even if it is a minor issue, there is always something to contend with. We are very grateful for each other and we will stand by each other and get us all through!

I just received some more bad news last night. My Sister In Law had a hysterecomy last year with stage 2 cancer (not sure if it is uterine, ovarian, or cervical). She just found out with her new scan that it has returned and is scheudled for emergency surgery on Friday due to severe pains. Please pray for her!

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

Actually, Ange, you let it slip recently in the course of a very sweet message on the Sarcomatoid thread, which is why I was kicking myself that I'd forgotten the fact. I've constantly meant to open a file to keep some bio notes about my friends here, to avoid committing that sort of solecism, but I never seem to find/make the time. The result is I have to rely on keeping it in my head. With so much family illness and deaths, and consequent travel abroad etc (and a few health incidents of my own) this year, I've been losing it lately.

You're right about the solidarity we all feel and how we can suffer for loved ones. Our Daughter was bed-bound for 3 years from age 12. An avid reader and embroiderer, she was in constant pain all over, imsomniac and permanently exhausted to the extent that she couldn't see properly for needlework and readinsg even a page of a book left her exhausted for the rest of the day. Things came ok years later because she is very strong mentally and was buoyed up by having endured seeing her Mother being much more seriously ill, and for much longer, but surviving it all.

It's very ironic that I've always been the one totally healthy member of the family, never troubled by anything much (except for catching chickenpox from my Daughter when I was 40 or so and, ridiculously, getting heat exhaustion playing golf in South Africa and feeling awful, a couple of years ago, not knowing I was playing with a broken leg bone (misdiagnosed as a severe sprain months earlier in Scotland) and swine flu which I probably caught on the long plane journey over there - have to laugh, looking back, but it didn't seem funny at the time.)

You didn't need the sad news about your SIL on top of everything - just as well you're so tough. I'll be thinking about her and praying all goes well for her and you. So will others here, especially, I'd guess, Clara who will have more fellow-feeling than most. (Clara, how is your own dear SIL?). There's always someone heroic much worse off than we are yet bearing up and getting on with their lives and thus, as you say, we all are grateful for each other.

I haven't seen Lisa posting lately. She's one of the most popular members here and I hope she's ok. Maybe you could even PM her (LISAinTN) - you'd like each other - and compare notes about FMS. You can get a sense of how well-liked she is from her thread "Just wanted to say hi...." at
http://csn.cancer.org/node/240372

I know Henry will be looking after you and I hope you're trying to be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else.

angec's picture
angec
Posts: 708
Joined: Mar 2012

Thank you TW. I didn't mention it but I started out with ME or CFS and was also bedridden for six months. I only in recent years since Dr. Banerji overcame the fatigue after enduring for 25 years. Although sometimes a shower can do me in. But the worst is over for now! I am so sorry your poor daughter, she had it for so long at such a young age. That must have been so hard to deal with. Sometimes like you said, it takes being stronger to help others to get yourself out of bed. Sorry also about your wife, I hope she is better now.

You made me laugh about you playing golf with what you thought was a sprained leg. Shows you how you won't let anything keep you down, I like that! That is the way to be. Did you say swine flu! Oh goodness!

Now don't worry about taking notes and remembering tidbits about us all. It is perfectly ok to not remember, we are here to help each other and you do fine with that. Who of us here can say they remember every detail they have read? You doing amazingly with details and leave me totally shocked.

I think I do recall Lisa now that you mention it. I hope she is ok.

matchframe
Posts: 58
Joined: May 2012

Hi Boolea, welcome to the club.

From what you said, I think your prognosis is really good. I too had a mass on my left kidney last year and surgery is all I had to go through to clear me of the cancer. I was 52 years old when I had the surgery and the recovery took me about 6 weeks to get back to normal activity, but almost a year to fully feel like 100 percent.

Be sure to keep us up to date with your progress.

Bill

Boolea
Posts: 28
Joined: Oct 2012

I just signed on and read the comments here. I forgot to check the box to get email notifications so I was wondering if I had a discussion going.
Thanks to all for the information and kind and encouraging words. I'm glad I found this forum!

Bill...was your surgery a partial or full nephrectomy? The urologist told me my recovery would depend largely on which procedure he does. He is going with a partial, done laparascopically, but he may convert to a full incision and do a full nephrectomy. My recovery time would be less with the lap surgery.
I've been wondering lately if leaving me with a partial kidney will make me worry if the cancer will come back. I mean...how in the heck can they be sure they got all those microscopic cells out of there?
I will talk to him about that when I see him at my pre-op in a couple of weeks.

My prognosis is good...and I am grateful. But I still have some anxiety about the surgery and what they will find. The doc said my lymph nodes are not swollen, but they will biopsy them during surgery and I worry about what they will find. I would like to think the cancer is contained within the kidney...fingers crossed.

A good evening to all,
Boo

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1801
Joined: Jan 2010

Boo,

The anxiety is normal. Being told you have Cancer and then major surgery and then everything should be OK is a lot to absorb quicky. Relax and think about the Tigers wining the Word Series while you are waiting.

Icemantoo

larman
Posts: 7
Joined: Oct 2012

HELLO BOOLEA,I HATE TO SAY WELCOME TO THIS CLUB, BUT I ALSO AM A NEWBIE, THIS FORUM HAS HELPED ALOT, BUT I AGGREE WITH ICEMAN YOU SHOULD BE FINE THEY CAUGHT IT EARLY, BUT ITS THE SCARIEST THING TO HERE THEM SAY THAT WORD.LARMAN

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