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It has been 18 months

Posts: 5
Joined: May 2011

It has been 18 months since I had a radical nephrectomy. I have still been struggling with awful lower back and pain at removal site. Some clothes just are too much to stand some days. I exercise daily and a chiropractor helps sometimes. Sitting, standing, or lying down for too long makes moving excruciating. I get so anxious, can't sleep, and have panic attacks often. I have had good scans, but the fear can be overwhelming. I'm usually a very positive person, but I'm struggling with this pain, anxiety , and tremendous fatigue. I teach in a high stress, high poverty school and it just wears me out every day. My emotions are all over the place. My family just wants me to shut up because I'm " cured". Nobody understands or wants to understand the pain and fear. I realize that I am blessed that it was found and removed, but the fear and pain are not removed. Anyone experience this? And also residual memory loss? Yay..I vented!

pjune127's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2011

You have found the right place to come to vent. This forum is full of people with all different sorts of experiences who will help you deal with any symptom, side effect, or anxiety you might have. You won't find a place with more level headed, compassionate, and intelligent souls. I do feel your pain. And I do understand your anxiety. Have you talked to your primary care physician? Sounds like you might really benefit from some medicine for anxiety. You would be amazed at how well it can work. Try to focus on all the good things in life every day. Be glad your scans are good. So many of us wish we could say the same. If your job is too stressful, think about asking for a transfer. (I am a retired teacher and totally get what you are saying.) Life is way too short to be miserable with your job or have it in any way affect your outlook on life. Count your blessings every morning when you wake up. Do you have a supportive network of family and friends? You have found one here! Breathe deeply, my friend. It will get better.

Sending positive thoughts your way~


icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3362
Joined: Jan 2010


I agree with Paula. Get a thorough checkup to see if there is any thing that needs to be addressed. Having had Cancer is a big emotional shock which does not automatically ware off after the surgery. It took me a few years to get to the other side of the mountain.


I am alive
Posts: 315
Joined: Jul 2012

Paula's right. You've found the place to reclaim your equilibrium. It may take some time, but you'll get there. Just lurking here, reading how others are dealing with their situations, gaining a foothold of knowledge about the disease, empowers you. Keep in mind, of course, that everone's cancer is different - what one person experiences may have absolutely nothing to do with you, ever. But the process demystifies the disease and the fear diminishes. (It really does!) You realize you are not alone. People live with kidney cancer for years and years. And for some lucky people the cancer never returns after the nephrectomy! Maybe you'll be one of them! And if not, you will learn to view it as a chronic disease like diabetes or Chron's disease. Just another thing you have to deal with in this life. The thing about kidney cancer is that it usually gives you a good amount of time to wrap your head around it. Nobody likes it, but we'll be damned if we're going to let it ruin our day! And you know what? If you need anti-anxiety pills to see you through this crisis point, there's no shame In that. Do what you have to do to get to that threshold of acceptance, because from that point on it's a new day. Promise.

I am alive
Posts: 315
Joined: Jul 2012

It just occurred to me....why are you in such excruciating pain18 months after your nephrectomy? What does your doc say about that? Strikes me as unusual. Being in such a constant state of pain will certainly amp up your anxiety, and anxiety will play games with your memory and everything else. Do you have other health issues that were exacerbated by the nephrectomy? If not I would insist on some answers about why this pain is happening. If you don't get them from your current doc maybe you should shop for another.

Texas_wedge's picture
Posts: 2798
Joined: Nov 2011

I'd like to associate myself with all of the excellent commentary and advice already offered above.

The first thing to do is to establish the cause of the excessive pain and, if necessary, seek out a specialist pain doctor. Then, seeking help from a clinical or other appropriate psychologist might be sensible, to handle your anxiety via CBT or another of the talking therapies, with referral, if necessary, for anxiolytic meds.

If the anxiety persists, the change of job Paula suggests must be worth pursuing - your health must come before career and sense of civic duty. You can only continue to serve others if your own health permits it.

As iceman has pointed out, the stress doesn't come to a halt with nephrectomy and physical recovery and what you are feeling (aside from, probably treatable, excessive pain) is entirely normal and, as for most of us, it's not helped if those around us don't 'get it'.

All of the main cancer support sites, e.g. ACS, ACOR, Kidney Cancer Association etc have a lot of resources that address the situation you find yourself in and reading their prepared reference materials can help considerably. Your experience is so typical that there are good books on the subject - for instance, I have at my elbow one called "The Cancer Survivor's Companion: Practical ways to cope with your feelings after cancer".

You've not told us anything much biographical - your age, gender, general health, interests in life, your possible support network (family, friends, work colleagues {unless you're retired} social groups, etc). If you care to tell us more we may be able to come up with some helpful ideas - you're now among new friends here. Take heart.

foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

You sure got all the right answers to your questions, concerns and stress inducers. Come back often and vent. We ALL know the drill. We are friends here and understand better than anyone else who you may have relied on. Your pain is of concern to me. You did offer complaints but no specificity. Pain with rest? with activity? which activity? Does your pain accompany your anxiety or are they separate? I'm about 18 months post nephectomy. I would say I'm pain free from surgery. But that does not mean that I have normal sensation or that some activities don't catch my attention. Despite the flags I've raised, I would say that you would benefit from interacting with us more regularly so you begin to feel like we are your friends. Believe me when I tell you, the people on this board have become VERY close friends. We are birds of a feather. And we care. Fox.

pjune127's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2011

Fox, you ROCK! You're the best!

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