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Just Diagnosed...Yep I'm scared.

randyradiohill's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2017

Well, I've been diagnosed with stage 1 kidney cancer after my doctor found a 2.5 cm solid mass on my left kidney.   Surgery is scheduled for a month from now with a partial nephrectomy.  I am terrified with emotions running the gamut from "I've got this" to "I'm hiding under the covers and never coming out."

Like many of you, the tumor was found completely  by accident after I had an MRI for a bone spur on my spine.  The scary thing is the doctor treating me for the bone spur completely missed the radiologists' report where he mentioned a weird signal coming from my left kidney.  My wife thankfully works at Vanderbilt hospital here in Nashville, and was able to pull up the MRI report.  We did that because I was curious in that it had been a couple of days after the MRI and I still hadn't heard from the doctor.  We looked at the report then noticed the comment about my kidney.  When my doctor finally called, she went over the MRI report but never mentioned the kidney.  I'm still not sure if she completely miss it, or just ingnored it.

I then contaced my primary care doctor who immediately ordered a CT scan, and sure enough the mass was solid and attached to the bottom of my kidney.  After meeting with one of the top Urology doctors at Vanderbilt, he confirmed what we feard.  I am now waiting for surgery, researching as much as I can and going back and forth between being hopeful, then overwhelmed.  I appreciate being able to read others experiences and get an idea of what is to come.  It will be robotic surgery, so any information and tips on the best way to handle this both before and after surgery would be most appreciated.  Thank you.

BoondockSaint's picture
Posts: 242
Joined: Mar 2017

First off........I really wish you weren't here. hahaha. Nobody in their right mind wants to be, but, since you are, welcome. You've landed in a good spot.

Secondly......I totally understand your angst. Even though it was my wife that had to deal with the little demon, I felt overwhelmed too. All the what if's can be Hell and besides......it's counterproductive. Easier said than done, I know but do your best and lean on friends and family as well as the good people here.

With a tumor that small chances are high that once it's removed all you will need from here on out are routine follow ups. In fact, my wife is getting her first set right now.

Her surgery lasted about 3 hrs and went off without a hitch. She spent one night in the hospital and we went home the next day. She was in a good bit of pain for a few days but it was very manageable with the meds. She slept a lot but that's what she needed to do. Mix in as much walking as you can. It helps in the healing process and use the breathing thing they give you too. Drink plenty of water as well

Each day Will get better with a bad day maybe here and there but you will be fine. 

Prayers, good vibes and well wishes to you.

p.s.  Stay away from Dr. Google. a lot of info out there is very dated and inaccurate.

Be well.

icemantoo's picture
Posts: 3354
Joined: Jan 2010



I know that sounds crazy, but if you are going to join are club you have everything going for you. Small tumor. Excellent hospital. Excellent doctors. Excellent prognosis. I wish I could tell you that the surgery is painless, but I would be laughed off this  board.





Dutch1's picture
Posts: 152
Joined: Mar 2014

You have certainly caught a big break here.  Yes, you are one of us unfortunates who have been tagged with a cancer.  But, the circumstances that led to that first scan ... what a blessing to you!  And, the fact that your wife got the report and could pick up on the problem.  Wow.  Your cancer could have otherwise gone on for years without detection.

Back to the immediate ..... your surgery will go like clockwork.  The medical people are so impressive that you will wonder why you worried at all.  Take it easy through recovery.  Be patient.  Listen to the doctors' advice/instructions.  It will take some time to get back to normal (you may not get back to 100% normal, but will be pretty close to that).  The stories on this forum about successes with your type of cancer should give you a lot of confidence.  Your prospects are excellent.

I wish you the best.




APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

So sorry you have to be here. Yes, it's surreal to hear those words: kidney cancer. But as said, yours is very small and most likely the surgery will be the end of it. Mine was a partial but open and not nearly as bad as I had feared. So if robotic/lap is easier on people it shouldn't be terribly painful. All the best!

Retcenturion's picture
Posts: 240
Joined: Mar 2017

Sorry to hear your joining the membership. I had incidental find also in April. The wait for surgery was worse than the surgery itself. Your emotions/imaginations are going to go all over before the surgery. Go through recent posts from newbies like us on the surgery itself, there is a ton of info. Try and read the profiles of some of the long term survivors, there is a lot of positive stories there. And when you have a question on anything your not sure about, ask... It usually gets answered pretty quick. 

JerzyGrrl's picture
Posts: 761
Joined: Jun 2016

Blanket forts are good, with lots of cushions from the sofa, too. So is a towel cape to remind you and/or others of your super powers (which we ALL have). 

Indeed, sounds like "You got this."

All the best and keep us posted --

Posts: 489
Joined: Aug 2017

looking over you,,,   Mine is 4cm and I have  felt unwell for some time but in the uk it is more  difficult to get scans unless clear symptons


are present

hopefully you will be fne... keep us posted

Positive_Mental_Attitude's picture
Posts: 454
Joined: Jul 2014

I was in your shoes a little more than 3 years ago.  I was they type of guy that was scared of nothing.  I was scared shitless and an emotional mess.  But, as others above said, you got lucky, like I did.  2.5 cm is a little bugger.  Mine was 2.9 cm.  You will be in for a 2-4 hour surgery, and that shoudl be the end of it.  Scans every 6 months for 2-3 years, and then annually for another few years.  Look at it this way-- you will be getting scanned and monitored to ensure nothing else crops up.  All positives!  I had an open partial nephrectomy in July 2014, and my recovery was quite quick.  Within 3-4 days I was walking 6 miles per day.  Yes, there was a week or so of pain, and sneezing, coughing and laughing were painful. 

More than anything else, however, "having cancer" made me re-evaluate what was important in my life.  Prior to my diagnosis, I was a workaholic.  After, I work a lot less, and take time to appreciate my wonderful wife and two boys.  I also don't get stressed out over dumb little things and laugh at myself and things a lto more.  Life is much more enjoyable.

It is OK to be scared and apprehensive.  In a few months, you will be a veteran giving advice to other newbies.  Good luck, and fire away with questions.

randyradiohill's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2017

I really appreciate the feedback from everyone.  It's so great to know how much support there is here.  Like others have mentioned, the waiting for surgery is excruciating.  For the most part I do fine, but a few times a day I get hit with this very dark forboding feeling of anxiety.  Not sure where it comes from, but I just wait for it to pass.  My main fear is that I will never feel free and joyful anymore.  The other day I was talking to a friend who asked to describe these feelings.  The only answer I could come up with is "Cancer is only a second away."  The feeling never leaves and right now pushes into my mind every second.  I'm hoping over time maybe it will become a "minute" away, then maybe an hour or even a day away.  

APny's picture
Posts: 1998
Joined: Mar 2014

At least for me, unfortunately the thought that it may recur never really goes away. Yes, the frequency of those thoughts lessens over time and yes, the fear is less intense but I'm never going to feel as carefree and take my health for granted as I used to. It does alter you, or at least it did me. It's something that's always over my head but not like it was in the beginning. So it does get better, as you said, it's not every second or even every day. But it doesn't go entirely away. Speaking only for myself, of course.

hardo718's picture
Posts: 853
Joined: Jan 2016

you WILL get thru this, just like the rest of us here have.  The emotions you describe are pretty normal, it's a wild roller coaster ride when you hear the C-word in combination with a reference to yourself.  The negative connotation of that word is like no other, well, maybe a few other, but that's a big scary one to be sure.  The good news: you found this bugger early.  Since you'll be going thru the "birthing process" to have it removed, may I suggest you distract yourself a little by coming up with a name for it?  I refer to mine as "Bob the Blob".  Laughing

The surgical process isn't as bad, generally speaking, as many of us envisioned it to be.  You go to sleep and let your doc do the work.  When you wake up, yea, you'll feel some discomfort for a week or so and then each day gets better and better.  Start thinking about what you want to do post-op to keep yourself entertained.  You'll need to do some breathing exercises (they'll give you a device for that), important to ward off pneumonia, drink plenty of water (to ward off fevers and get things flushed out) and lots of short walks, plenty of sleep and rest in between so you can heal.

Best wishes, keep us posted.


randyradiohill's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2017

I have joked with my wife about a guardian angel watching over us--then getting frustrated when the first doctor missed the problem with my kidney in the MRI report.  I can just imagine her throwing up her hands "WHAT do we have to do to get good help around here! Alright everyone, let Lisa (my wife) save him AGAIN!"

Posts: 425
Joined: Nov 2016

Thanks for sharing, I am sorry that you are joining this club. Please let us knowhow things go and my thoghts and prayers are with you. I pray you have a good outcome from your surgery and quick whole recovery. God bless you.


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

I describe having thoughts about cancer like having a song stuck in your head. It just never goes away. To push my point, I plant x-mas tunes in peoples heads either by whistling, humming, or singing. A couple years back I had half of a 4th of july bunch of people at a picnic walking around singinging, "I'm dreaming of a white X-mas" They got my point.

Developing a positive attitude about living with cancer always means focusing on happy feel good tunes. I make it contagious.

randyradiohill's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Aug 2017

That's awesome...Thanks for the idea.  

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