Mar 10, 2013 - 3:12 am
I've been posting on one of the other forums for a few months, but didn't realize until today that this forum was here.
I'm 51 years old and in November found a tumor in my kidney. I had my kidney removed in December. Stage 3 kidney cancer. There's no approved chemotherapy for kidney cancer that has no evidence of metastasis. I've got close to a 50% chance of it metastasizing at some point in the future. I've been pretty shaken up by the whole thing. I decided to take part in a drug trial and am in a 50/50 double blind placebo study for an adjuvant chemotherapy of a drug called everolimus (afinitor). I know that any form of cancer is scary, but when my uncle the oncologist says that this kind of cancer is on his short list of cancers he'd never want to get, it's scaring the hell out of me. If it spreads, it would probably go to lungs first then bone, and finally brain. However, it could spread anywhere.
I get my blood tested every 6 weeks on this trial (just to make sure the drug isn't making me too sick, it's not for cancer, there's no blood test for this kind of cancer) and I get CT scans every 18 weeks. I have to take the drug every morning for 1 year. So far, the side effects have been tolerable. Fatigue. Constant sinus congestion and cough. Some nausea that comes and goes, or is there sort of mild but constant. The drug was somewhat effective with people that had advanced metastatic RCC, so I'm hoping it might work and kill off any remaining cancer. The median survival of metastatic RCC (renal cell carcinoma, aka kidney cancer) is 2-3 years with current treatments.
It's good to know there's a gay men's support forum.
I live with a room mate and have a boyfriend of 3 years (we don't live together), but he's 20 years younger than me, and even though he's trying to be understanding, this is really stressing that relationship. I used to sleep at his place 2-3 nights a week, but now I will only stay one night per week because I sleep really poorly at his place and I think it's very important for me to sleep well and take good care of my health. Of course I rarely feel like having sex since I got sick. It's not just the fatigue and nausea, but I think after having a major surgery like that, it feels like your body has been violated and honestly I just want to be left alone. I've been thinking I should completely break it off with him. He needs a lot of support himself, and I'm not sure I can do it anymore. I know I need to concentrate on taking care of myself. But I'm not sure I can end it. From the reading I've done, I need to really concentrate on nutrition, exercise, sleep and self care during this period to do what I can to boost my immune system so the cancer doesn't return. This relationship was stressful even before I got cancer.
Well, I've said hello and spilled my guts all at once. Sorry, but I've been kind of holding back a lot of this on the other support forum. Didn't think that my relationship issues would be understandable to most of the people on that forum. :) I'm looking forward to getting to know you guys.