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New to Kidney Cancer - dealing with new emotions

Bubbs21's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012

Good day,

I thought I understood the emotion of cancer, having lost my paternal grandfather to lung cancer, my father to multiple mylenoma and my mother to lung cancer. However, after 6 months of investigation for hypertension, an abdominal CT with and without contrast showed liver cysts and 2 solid mass tumours on the left kidney deemed likely RCC. As the cardiologist advised me that my neurological, cardiac and lung functions were normal, I was thrilled. He proceeded to read portions of the CT report to me and explain that as the CT was only of the upper abdomen, that a full MRI or CT is required to determine if there were metastic tumours. He proceeded to tell me that he would refer me to an oncologist and order the MRI. He asked if I wanted a note to be off work, while we sort things out. I didn't understand and just smiled. I took it in and am surprised that I remember any details. That was friday. I have since gotten a copy of the CT report. The masses are 2cm in size.

So here is my question. I understand the physical issues. It is the emotional. Should I be working? I feel able one moment and an emotional mess the next. I can focus for an hour and then can't remember anything the next. I can't sleep and am afraid of the dark (new experience).

Insights and advice are appreciated.

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011

iceman, I know you benefited from taking the initiative and going to see a nephrologist but I'm interested in why you suggest a nephrologist rather than a cardiologist. A cardiologist pointed Bubbs in the right direction originally. Kidneys have a critical role in maintaining BP but there are many other factors that affect BP and I'd have thought someone better equipped to take a wider view might be a good idea.

This isn't purely an academic question. It's a matter of interest to me not only for Bubbs but also for myself since I now have significantly elevated BP on Votrient.

angec's picture
Posts: 924
Joined: Mar 2012

TW, is the bp being controlled with pressure meds? This is one factor in the Votrient and i hear Sutent as well. If it is not being controlled, will they consider lowering your dose a bit? Just wondering what your options are. Otherwise how are you feeling? How are your liver tests and all? I hope you feel better and your pain continues to diminish. XXOO

Bubbs21's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012

Firstly, thank you all for your good wishes.

I have been monitoring my BP as this was a significant issue last year and what lead to the RCC finding. Since my release from the hospital my BP has been consistantly 120/70 plus or minus 3. In fact my cardiologist and oncologist/urologist both thought that the tumour removal would assist in better regulating my BP. I have been off all BP related meds since August....It is good to feel normal...or as as good as normal gets for 48 year old women :)

I may have spoken to early, when I announced an easy recovery. The last 3 days have been different. I tire easily. I have had an afternoon nap the last 3 days and feel like something is stretching or torn internally in the kidney area. My surgeon is away this week, so I am off to see my GP later this week. Got my fingers crossed that it's just part of the healing process.

Wishing you all well and a happy holiday season...

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3331
Joined: Jan 2010

Nephrologist v Cardio;ogisr.

From my experience neither my Uroogist or GP were as aggressive in monitoring my BP issues as was my Nephrologist. Additionally when I had Gout and when I hurt my knee bad it was the Nephro;ogist who let me go on a limited amount of Advil (which I needed) for a limited amount of days. Additionally my Nephro;ogist has so far passed on the medications ordered by my ENT and Orthopedic Surgeon. I suppose a Cardio;ogist could do the same, but I have never had to see one yet and my one kidney puts me in a different risk group.


Bubbs21's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jul 2012

As you know my post-op recovery was uneventfull and I returned to work 5 weeks post-op.  By the end of the first week I was having left flank pain.  A trip to the surgeon and a CT showed no issues.  The advice was to take Tylenol and suck it up.  The pain has been recurring and escalating to the point of being non-stop and @ 8 when resting or a 10 with the slightest movement.   The pain has been debilitating, and greatly reduced my walking.  A trip to ER, various tests and the good news is there are no complications. However, there is significant swelling and scar tissue.  So  I am off work for 10 days, on hydromorphone every 4 hours, and anti-inflammatories to get the swelling and pain under control. 

Recovery is definately not linear.  No one said this would be easy.


dhs1963's picture
Posts: 513
Joined: May 2012

I can not speak for anyone but myself.  My recovery was rough.  First, I got a fever while in the hospital, which kept me in for a extra couple of days.  Then, at two weeks, the incision site started bleeding.  At about 4 weeks, it got infected.  Then things started getting better. 

I returned to work at 9 weeks, and quickly thought things were behind me.  At 12 weeks, I was basically back at 100% of activity level, including coaching soccer.  That was a mistake.  Pain started increasing.  By 15 weeks, I could barely move.  Dr. advised me to scale back the activity, which I did.  

By the six month scans, I was feeling good.  Still pain at the incision, but good energy, and everything was normal (until the scan results came in....effin lung met or primary lung cancer, awaiting biopsy results).

Today is seven months post surgery.  I am getting ready for another surgery to remove a 3 cm mass.  I bent over to get something under the table, and a muscle at the incision site went into spasm.  7 or 8 out of 10.  It only lasted a few minutes.

I feel the best I have since pre-nephrectomy.  (that will change in a few weeks).  My point is, it is a long recovery.  It will take time.  But you will feel better.



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