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Don't know how to feel.

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2003

I'm a single guy, live alone, diagnosed at age 37, stage II renal cell carcinoma, right kidney, July 2000. Three days later I was in surgery for a radical nephrectomy, tumor, kidney, lymph nodes, etc.

It was all handled very quickly and matter-of-factly, no emotion, no tears. I never felt sad, or mad, or any of those other stages you're supposed to go through. Everyone thought it was best if we just glossed over it and pretended like it was nothing more than a tonsilectomy. My friends tell me that since I didn't need chemo that it's not like having real cancer anyway. Very few of my friends even thought it was important enough to come visit me at the hospital for the five days I was there. So I recovered from surgery and went back to work. My boss laughed when I used the term 'cancer survivor' once. She said 'cancer survivor' is when you've had chemo for years and years, not a simple surgery. I personally didn't think the surgery was so simple, but I have never used the term again.

The last three years have not been good... lots of alcohol, lots of time alone, I've lost my job, I don't talk to my friends or family much anymore. I've had one illness after another and to be honest I haven't taken very good care of myself. Not like i used to. I'm a robot. It's taken me a long time to realize this (i guess i'm no rocket scientist) but I'm really beginning to feel that maybe I've never dealt with the cancer, and I just don't know how to feel anymore.

Has anyone every encountered this? Is this normal? My friends and family didn't even want to talk about this three years ago, I don't know where i could turn now.

Posts: 13
Joined: Jul 2003

Digger, I wish I'd seen this right after you posted it! You are allowed to feel however you feel! I was also very unemotional about my cancer, but I claim "cancer survivor" and dare anyone to tell me no. I had one moron tell me how "it must be nice" because I lost a lot of weight afterwards. I, too lost my job while I was in the hospital. You may want to consider a counselor--most places have a state-funded service that's inexpensive or free. Or a clergyman? But you do have to take care of yourself, even when you don't feel like it. You ARE a survivor, you ARE important. Cancer is startling when it happens, and it's annoying and scary later on. If you need or want, e-mail me: kidneywoman@excite.com

Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2003

Don't let ANYONE tell you that since there was no chemo, it wasn't really cancer. I was dx'd with stage 3b kidney on one side and 2 on the other a year ago. They immediately did a partial nephrectomy on the right and removed 1/3 of the kidney. Six weeks later, they did a radical nephrectomy on the left. Just a month ago, it came back and last week I had an adrenalectomy, so now I have no adrenal glands. I have another surgery in 3 weeks to remove a small tumor in the kidney, then will have several courses of Interleukin-2 treatments after that. Technically, I have not had any chemo or radiation, but I dare anyone to say it isn't really cancer. Feel free to e-mail me (pinksdo@boe.richmond.k12.ga.us)

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2004

hi i had a tumor on my right and left kidney and stage 2 as well i cant believe people don't think your a survivor wether you had chemo or not your still a survivor i dont know exactlly how to cheer you up but you survived and your a survivor

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