Remembering 8 years ago

donna_lee
donna_lee Member Posts: 1,041 Member
edited May 2014 in Kidney Cancer #1

This the anniversary of the "Cancer news."  On 4/27/06, I had gone to my new PC for the annual check, which is required for any medication renewal.  As an afterthought, I mentioned the periodic (every couple months) epicosedes of nausea and sometimes vomiting I'd been experiencing since the previous fall.  There always seemed to be a semi-related cause I could blame it on... coming off a 4 year whirlwind of managing a state convention,  the holidays, attending a convention and the meals served, , company at home, etc.  I thought maybe I had a gall stone. He ordered an abdominal unltrasound which was scheduled for May 8th.  Oddly, I received a call from his scheduler and he wanted to see me at 8:30 the following morning.  OK...I could work that in to my schedule.

"Good morning, and your urinalysis shows that there is hematuria. (blood in the urine, but not obvious to me). The ultrasound also found a mass in your right kidney and one or possibly two in your liver. It is more than likely, cancer, that started in the kidney. Once it has spread beyond the kidney there is only a 5% chance you can live for another 5  years.  Is there anyone we can call to be with you now?"

You can try to call my husband or son at work, but the office will have to do a radio relay to ask them to call in. Coast Range Mountains and valleys limit cell phone coverage and sometimes even radio contact.  My daughter-in-law was called, and as luck would have it, her mom had just arrived to babysit the almost 2 year old while Molly had to run errands.  Molly drove fast!!!!!!

Time became a blue fog as I heard words like, "...a diagnosis at this stage, in which it has already metastasized to another major organ, generally has a 5-7 month survival rate, unless there is something done."  and "usually, palliative care, is an option."  and "I can refer you to an oncologist locally."

Molly arrived, I walked out with a card for the oncologist appt. on the 10th, and we went to Molly and Brian's so I could see my granddaughter.  And to pass time before I had another committment.

At 10:00, I, and about 30 other members of the community had been rounded up/asked  to participate in mock interviews for career development at a local high school. After a brief orientation, we were all assigned to stations.  The three students I met that day, Megan H., Dan S., and Scott Mc. proved that life goes on and there is hope for the next generation.  Great kids, motivated to improve themselves, and achieve goals they set; some to college and a degree/career, others directly to the labor market and then community college.

After grabbing a quick lunch, I went to work for the afternoon.  Then I went home and cried.  And made phone calls to relatives.  Sleep came, eventually.....and then another day.

On the 10th, my husband and I went to the see and hear the oncologist.  I took copious notes.  "There are drugs being used, but they aren't called chemotherapy.  Perhaps surgery can be done.  We can't say it can be cured.  The local Urologist doesn't have his new partner here, yet, and is booked out.  I can refer to two centers in Portland, OR, which are Providence or OHSU."  I picked Oregon Health and Sciences University, as we knew how to get around on the campus and it was on the west side of the river.  We walked out with a list of papers, phone numbers, and committments that a CT would be ordered for the following day, a bone scan set up for early the following week, and they would contact the Dr.'s at OHSU for a consultation appointment. ASAP.

Within another two days, I had gotten beyond the numb stage and made up my mind that I was still alive and had the capacity to fight for life.  Then I went into Type A mode.  Started organizing my files, doing research, kept the calendar handy, got a phone message book with NCR paper to keep track of messages and numbers.

I can't say the intervening years have always been easy.  But I'm here to write about it 8 years later.  And that's what we are all about.  I had HOPE, and it's gotten me through so far.

Keep your spirits up, and don't let the inconsequential and petty things get you down.

Donna

 

Comments

  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,361 Member
    Clueless

    Donna,

     

    Starting out with a new PC who probably has never seen RCC and only knows what he looks up on the internet is hardly the way to start. Today there is more and better information on this forum than you started with.

    Now that we are both over 70 and have 20 years together  of RCC behind us we have to help the newbies with all that misinformation and scary things before they get to an RCC specialist. Once they get to the RCC specialist there is little you can do about the C word, but there is pkenty you can do about fighting back.

    Only having been there and done that can we laugh at all those rediculous things that we heard about RCC in the stone age (the early 21st century).

    Icemantoo

  • Srashedb
    Srashedb Member Posts: 482 Member
    Wow!

    Donna: 

    you are truly an amazingly strong woman to have received those words alone and then gone about your day.

    i am sure you were in shock but wow, that doctors asking if there was some you could be with AFTER giving you such news needs further training in tact. 

    you are here and helping others; glad you were able to pick yourself up and find treatment.

    Thank you,

    Sarah

  • aamdsi
    aamdsi Member Posts: 284
    Wow!

    You are truly amazing!  

    Thank you for the words of encouragement.  As a newbie of all this, it is so wonderful to hear there is a future inspite of cancer.

  • Suekub
    Suekub Member Posts: 137
    Srashedb said:

    Wow!

    Donna: 

    you are truly an amazingly strong woman to have received those words alone and then gone about your day.

    i am sure you were in shock but wow, that doctors asking if there was some you could be with AFTER giving you such news needs further training in tact. 

    you are here and helping others; glad you were able to pick yourself up and find treatment.

    Thank you,

    Sarah

    My anniversary

    Donna, your story gives me hope. the 3 year anniversary of my diagnosis is at the end of the month (30 May) and also came as a complete shock particularly as it came only 15 days after the death of my husband. I recall the day being the worst imaginable extremely cold (by Sydney standards lol) rainy and windy. Going for a U/S for what I thought was some intermittent discomfort in myright side. I was immediately referred for a CT within the hour. Early afternoon back to my GP who gave me the bad news that I had a 20cm growth on my kidney, possible lung and livers mets (which turned out not to be). I still recall my daughter calling me mid consultation asking me to collect her from school due to the weather - I had to tell her to catch the bus as she normally does.

    An appointment was made for the next day with a urologist. My first phone call was to a dear friend who immediately left work, collected another friend and met me at my house. My biggest fear at the time was how to tell both my daughter and my mother. I didn't handle that well at all!

    Although the surgeon "got it all" the chances of recurrence was high and was referred to an oncologist who was conducting a trial (SORCE). I always go to my appointments on my own and prefer it this way but not sure why? Maybe it's because I have always been a control freak but also do not want to ask friends to take time out of their own lives for me. My family does not live close by and I keep a lot of the "bad" news from my daughter.

    I became stage 4 a little over 12 months ago. I have never been told nor have I requested an estimate of my life expectancy (is this denial?) but continue in good health albeit slow growth of all my multiple mets (spleen, pancreas, liver) and still searching for some treatment that might save my life - Votrient failed and now appears Afinitor also failing. Options are running out but I conitinue to be optimistic that my turn will come but have moments of despair.

    All the best to you.

    Sue

     

     

  • Karen0074
    Karen0074 Member Posts: 64
    aamdsi said:

    Wow!

    You are truly amazing!  

    Thank you for the words of encouragement.  As a newbie of all this, it is so wonderful to hear there is a future inspite of cancer.

    Donna your journey has been

    Donna your journey has been such a Help to read as a newbie. It's been only 4 weeks since I heard the bad news. Iceman is right I have gotten far more positive information from all of you on this board and it's the first place I go to when I am having a bad day. May the good news keep coming for all of us.

     

    karen x

  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181 Member
    Karen0074 said:

    Donna your journey has been

    Donna your journey has been such a Help to read as a newbie. It's been only 4 weeks since I heard the bad news. Iceman is right I have gotten far more positive information from all of you on this board and it's the first place I go to when I am having a bad day. May the good news keep coming for all of us.

     

    karen x

    Cancer smancer

    Get out of the way! We've got living to do! Can you imagine anything or anyone taking advantage of Donna? Attitude is power.

  • donna_lee
    donna_lee Member Posts: 1,041 Member
    foxhd said:

    Cancer smancer

    Get out of the way! We've got living to do! Can you imagine anything or anyone taking advantage of Donna? Attitude is power.

    And Thanks...

    for the encouragement.  Yesterday was great.  Short visit with my mother-in-law; pizza lunch with son and family, and his wife's parents.  Then home to dig in the dirt and get wet and muddy.

    What my doctor lacks in the gentle touch, he more than makes up for in his diagnostic ability and brutal honesty.  He finished his Army career as a Medical Seargent in a Special Forces unit stationed in Northern Iraq during the Gulf War.  He then applied to Med School and the Delta Force Program.  The one who accepted him first was where he went.

    Yes, an attitude can be powerful.  It can also get you in trouble when you say what you think.  But we knew that before we had cancer.  The only thing now is we can play the Cancer Card and get away with it more easily.  

    I don't want any more newbies on here; and that's an order.  But if you have to be here, give us your toughest questions, and we'll try to help.

    From Sunny Southern Oregon...

    Donna

  • danbren2
    danbren2 Member Posts: 311
    donna_lee said:

    And Thanks...

    for the encouragement.  Yesterday was great.  Short visit with my mother-in-law; pizza lunch with son and family, and his wife's parents.  Then home to dig in the dirt and get wet and muddy.

    What my doctor lacks in the gentle touch, he more than makes up for in his diagnostic ability and brutal honesty.  He finished his Army career as a Medical Seargent in a Special Forces unit stationed in Northern Iraq during the Gulf War.  He then applied to Med School and the Delta Force Program.  The one who accepted him first was where he went.

    Yes, an attitude can be powerful.  It can also get you in trouble when you say what you think.  But we knew that before we had cancer.  The only thing now is we can play the Cancer Card and get away with it more easily.  

    I don't want any more newbies on here; and that's an order.  But if you have to be here, give us your toughest questions, and we'll try to help.

    From Sunny Southern Oregon...

    Donna

    Thank You!

    Donna,

         My 3 years will be here on August 3.  As soon as I heard the word Cancer I fell completely apart.  I was told I had pneumonia from my GP, that same evening I had a very bad pain in my right side and went to the hospital, where I had my first Cat Scan.  The doctor had given me something for the pain, so I felt just fine then. When she came into the room and said "you have 3 pulmonary embolisms in your lungs and you have cancer". My husband and I looked at her and nicely informed her that she was in the wrong room! Unfortunately she was not in the wrong room.  I found this site about a month later and could not get enough of it.  This sight made me realize that everything that I was reading on the internet was not going to happen to me.  So many of you had so much life in you, and Donna you were one of the ones that just amazed me.  It did take me awhile to actually start posting on here, but when I did, I was confronted with warmth, honesty, humor, and most of all caring.  It felt good to not feel alone.  When I meet new cancer patients at my Doctors the first thing I say is to make sure you have a good oncologist and then I tell them to come to this site for strength!  Thank you Donna and all of you who have made me believe that cancer can be fought and it is not something that has to be done alone!  

                                                      Always praying for good health!

                                                       Brenda

  • GSRon
    GSRon Member Posts: 1,303 Member
    danbren2 said:

    Thank You!

    Donna,

         My 3 years will be here on August 3.  As soon as I heard the word Cancer I fell completely apart.  I was told I had pneumonia from my GP, that same evening I had a very bad pain in my right side and went to the hospital, where I had my first Cat Scan.  The doctor had given me something for the pain, so I felt just fine then. When she came into the room and said "you have 3 pulmonary embolisms in your lungs and you have cancer". My husband and I looked at her and nicely informed her that she was in the wrong room! Unfortunately she was not in the wrong room.  I found this site about a month later and could not get enough of it.  This sight made me realize that everything that I was reading on the internet was not going to happen to me.  So many of you had so much life in you, and Donna you were one of the ones that just amazed me.  It did take me awhile to actually start posting on here, but when I did, I was confronted with warmth, honesty, humor, and most of all caring.  It felt good to not feel alone.  When I meet new cancer patients at my Doctors the first thing I say is to make sure you have a good oncologist and then I tell them to come to this site for strength!  Thank you Donna and all of you who have made me believe that cancer can be fought and it is not something that has to be done alone!  

                                                      Always praying for good health!

                                                       Brenda

    You all know what a great

    You all know what a great place this is... "IF ONLY" we did not have to be here... sigh..  I suspect we all fell apart when we heard those bad words.. I sure did..!   But yet we are still here..!  I am just over 2 years post surgery.. glad to still be kicking..!!

    Be Well All..!!

    Ron