Jul 01, 2013 - 3:08 pm
I just wanted to introduce myself. I have been joking that I am not very good at "owning" my cancer but I feel like I could use some support at times and I think that it might help people to hear my story. I didn't have it that long so it still doesn't seem real to me.
I visited my doctor because I had some pain and I had already been treated for kidney stones. She sent me to get a CT scan which revealed that I did have some very small stones but also a 31mm lesion on my left kidney. After a CT guided biopsy, I was diagnosed with clear cell carcinoma. It seemed so odd because I felt fine and I had no symptoms. I had a CT scan done of my chest and thorax and there was no evidence that it had spread.
The first urologist I saw said that because of the location, he could not do a partial nephrectomy and he would have to take the whole kidney but he recommended Temple Urology in Philadelphia where they had more experience with robotic surgery. Dr. Eun and his staff in Philly were confident that they could remove just the tumor and leave the rest of the kidney. They were awesome!
I had the surgery on June 5. It was pretty rough for me to be honest. (Knock on wood) I have only been under general anesthesia once in my life and have generally been healthy. I was so worried about being put under. I just don't like giving up that control. The night before the surgery, I was wondering if I had seen my last sunset. It turns out that the surgery took much much longer than expected. I went in at 8am and was expecting to be our by 10. I woke up at 3:30 and I was so confused. I remember pleading with my wife to tell me if I was going to be ok because I thought something had gone terribly wrong. As it turned out, I had an extra artery that was feeding the cancer and I had lost a lot of blood during the surgery. I felt awful when I woke up. I had to spend 4 nights in the hospital instead of just 1 which was what was expected. The staff at Temple in Philly were incredible. I had a private room and my wife was able to stay with me. For the first 48 hours, I didn't nothing but stare at the wall. My wife said it was creepy because I am usually really active. I did get up and move around as much as I could. I was given 4 units of whole blood before my heart rate returned to relatively normal.
I feel so fortunate to have a job that provided me with excellent health insurance and short term disability so that I had time to recover. I am currently just a day or two away from the 1 month mark when my lifting restriction will be removed. I went out for a short run yesterday (my legs are crazy sore today) and I am scheduled to walk a 5k on Saturday. I feel really good.
I am still worried about reoccurrence. I know that the chances are low but I didn't think that it was possible at 40 years old I would be diagnosed with cancer. I smoked for about 15 years but quit 7 years ago. My doctors think that the smoking is responsible for my cancer. I will never smoke again, not that I had planned on it.
So that is my story. I think that I want to be involved with the survivors group more to provide help and support for other people than to receive it.