Dec 25, 2012 - 6:20 pm
Hi. I introduced myself in a reply to another post last week. I decided to post again here at the top.
I'm 51 years old. A week before Thanksgiving I was on a business trip and started having blood in my urine and pain in my
side. I thought I was having a kidney stone, which I've had before. However, the pain started getting bad enough I couldn't
wait it out anymore so I went to the ER. The ER doc ruled out UTI, and decided to do a CT scan just in case. They found a
6.7 cm mass in my right kidney and recommended I see a urologist as soon as I could.
The next week was Thanksgiving, but I called first thing Monday morning. I looked online and found out that a university
near me (UCI) had what seemed to be a pretty good urology department. The head of the department, Dr. Landman, specialized
in laprascopic tumor, kidney and partial kidney removal. I got an appointment on Wednesday of that week. He orded another
CT scan the next week, this time with contrast and they decided to remove my right kidney as soon as possible. On the 10th,
I had my right kidney removed. It was done as a lap, but because the mass was in the center of my kidney, they wanted to
remove the kidney and surrounding tissue intact, so I had a large incision of about 6-7". There was a small possibility
that it might be a transitional cell tumor because of where it was. They ruled that out in surgery, and so only removed
about 1/2 the ureter.
I was supposed to have gotten my pathology report early this week. However, the doctor didn't call me as he said he would.
Toward the end of the week I started calling his office to get the result, but didn't reach him. So I still don't have the
The CT scan was clear as far as other organs go and my chest xray was clear (as far as I know). There was a small cyst in
my left kidney, which he said was normal for someone my age. The only other abnormality was a small lesion on my left
femur, but it was what they called mixed sclerotic and lucent, and the doc said that kidney cancer lesions are rarely
sclerotic, so he doubted this had anything to do with my kidney. The doctor has been very upbeat. His attitude has been
that because my health is generally really good, and because this was a fairly small tumor and confined to the kidney, that
this surgery likely cured me. However, when I've been doing reading, I don't see the numbers that make me feel as confident
as he is about the chances. I suppose it's his job to be positive.
I have an uncle who is a retired medical oncologist. His attitude has been more guarded. He's taking this very seriously.
His advice was as soon as I get my pathology results see if I can find a study to get into to reduce my chances of
My healing has been going pretty well. The worst problem I'm having right now is that I get exhausted fast and suddenly. I
feel it in and around my eyes. Just the past 2 days I've started getting headaches at the base of the back of my head. It
feels like those you get when you sleep wrong. I wonder if these things have to do with the surgery, or if they are the
result of having 1 kidney and the body not adjusting?
They did a study before the surgery and my kidney function was ok. Both kidneys were sharing equally in the work even
though my left kidney is smaller than my right. When they released me from the hospital 2 weeks ago, they said my creatnine level was 1.9 and stable. I believe it was 1.2 before the surgery. My doc said he expected it to drop a little and maybe end up around 1.6 in time.
Doing research online, I find that I get panic attacks when I see statistics that don't look promising. I have a hard time knowing what to share with friends and family. Last night at Christmas eve dinner, my daughter-in-law was asking my about the prognosis. My sons (in their 20's) and ex-wife were listening while I shared the numbers I've seen. I don't think they really wanted to hear such bad news at Christmas eve dinner. Perhaps I should have saved it for another time... I felt guilty about mentioning it this morning. My younger son got a bit angry and asked me why I was talking like that, that these numbers didn't tell me what was going to happen to me in my particular case. I told him he was right. They don't. However, I do want people to know what's going on and what this disease is about. He started hassling me about going to the gym (which he's done on the past). I'm glad he did. He's right. I do need to get up and take better care of myself.
If anyone has advice about taking care of yourself after this surgery, I'd appreciate hearing it. Before all of this happened, I had planned a trip to Vegas the day after Christmas. I cancelled it when I scheduled surgery. Yesterday I decided I'm going. I'm doing pretty well. I'll take it easy, but I don't want to let this illness rule my life. So tomorrow I'm off to Vegas for 3 days. It's about a 4 hour drive from my home. I'm not much of a gambler, but the friend I'm going with is. I like to watch the shows and eat. I'll stay out of smoke filled rooms and get extra rest, but I really want to live as much of a normal life as possible for as long as possible.
Merry Christmas to all of you here. I'm glad I found this place.