Jun 07, 2014 - 3:36 pm
This past Wednesday we learned that my Dad likely has stage 4 kidney cancer. My family is absolutely devastated. My Dad had absolutely no symptoms until he had some arm weakness, which we now know was caused by a 1.5cm brain tumor.
On Wednesday, we had a horrible appointment with a radiation oncologist, in which he basically told us my Dad had six months left to live. He did not show us the scans or explain what types of tumors Dad had, locations, or anything. It was a five minute appointment in which he asked us if we had any questions and said the hospital would contact us to do a biopsy. He said they would then likely start chemo. My family there was either so stunned they couldn't speak...or were crying uncontrollably. Went down in my book as the worst day of my life. My Dad literally believed all hope was lost.
On Thursday, at the advice of many friends, we sought treatment at Duke University Hospital. We now have an appointment with a radiation oncologist at Duke this coming Tuesday. The doctors at Duke told us that they will treat the brain first, as it is an easier procedure that should remove it completely. They said it is commonly known as Gamma Knife. They will then immediately move to treating the kidney. Already they have been so much better in handling our case (and this is all from phone calls with nurses and doctors there), and we feel so blessed to be going there. My Dad's spirits are up again, and he is determined to fight.
I discovered this website, oddly enough, by Googling "kidney cancer survivors," and the stories here have encouraged us so much. I've also been reading your comments to get ideas for things we should ask the doctors at Duke on Tuesday. We don't want to talk into another appointment and not know what to say or what to ask.
We don't have a ton of information at this point, but I'll list what we know. He's not yet been biopsied, so we don't know exactly what type of kidney cancer we are dealing with. The CT scans that he had suggest a 4cm tumor in the right kidney, 6-8 smaller "nodules" in the lungs (doctor's term), and a 1.5cm mass in the brain. The brain tumor was what caused the symptoms that brought us to the doctor this week.
Does anyone have any suggestions about important questions to ask the doctors at this first appointment? Any ideas about treatments we should ask about? ANY information would be so greatly appreciated! We feel like we are starting from behind and need to run informatio-wise to catch up. Thanks so much in advance!!