Well, I just got back from the kidney specialist today who told me the "cyst"/"lesion" (also known as a tumor) on my right kidney is cancer.
The good news:
It isn't a cancer that is generally aggressive in spreading. This means I don't have to worry about any other parts of my organs being infected.
It isn't a cancer that generally aggressive in growing. This means I don't have to worry about the smallish tumor growing too much over the next couple months.
It isn't a cancer that responds to radiation or chemotherarpy. This means I don't have to spend months and months in the hospital/at home feeling awful.
They don't have to take the entire kidney out. This means if I develop diabetes or some other kidney failure in the future, I still have a portion of a kidney to keep me alive.
The bad news:
The tumor is right by my adrenal glands, renal artery (very large vessel that supplies kidney with blood) and vena cava (largest vein in the body). This means there is some risk in surgery and all but eliminates the possibility of robotic or laparoscopic surgery. I will have to have a large incision under my ribcage which will prevent me from going in to work for a month or so.
The cancer does not respond to radiation or chemotherapy. This means if it does spread in the 4% chance, I'm pretty much screwed.
They have to remove a portion of my kidney. Who wants to have a part of their kidney removed?
So to recap, in the past month, I have found out I have to live with Crohn's disease for the rest of my life and now I have a cancerous tumor which will take a part of my kidney with it. And it was actually fortunate I went in the hospital for my Crohn's because that is the only reason the doctor saw the tumor in the first place.
I'm holding out hope I will still be okay to drink when all is said and done. Is it weird that this is one of my priorities in the face of cancer?
I have to say I'm very thankful this is something that should
be take care of with a surgery and no chemotherapy.
At the same time, it's still a sock to the gut to have a doctor say those words "It's cancer." How many of you have dealt with this or know someone close to you who has dealt with this?
Pics of war wounds
Here are some pics of the surgery, incision and all.
Close up shot
Update after the surgery:
Okay, so more of an update now that I am a little bit more coherent (don't know how long that will last, so I'll hurry).
The urologist (who has a fond habit of touching my ***** and balls any chance he gets) took the following steps for surgery.
1) I received an epidural of fentanyl (narcotic similar to morphine) high in my spine. They stuck a huge needle in my spine and gave my spinal cord a consistent dose of drugs--this is to numb my sense from my upper chest all the way down to my hips at least. In this case it went all the way down to my ankles. This was great, but it also meant I got to have a catheter in my bladder for the entire weekend since I didn't have the peeing sensation during this time.
2) The doctor made the large slice between two of my ribs as you can see in the picture (between one floating rib and one rib that is attached by cartilage). In order to actually get to the kidney, the urologist actually split apart my two ribs ribs so that he could twist the kidney towards him and get to the tumor. In doing so, he had to cut through three separate layers of muscles on the rib cage and abdominal muscles.
3) The doctor then cut the tumor away from the kidney tissue and took a large portion of the soft kidney tissue with it, ensuring that he removed all the affected tissue. In order to do this, the doctor had to take out one of the major blood supplying arteries from the kidney because the artery traveled right over the tumor itself. The doctor then sewed the ribs together and used the staples to close up the open wound.
So I have ab and rib muscles that need to heal, loose ribs that need to reconnect and of course the kidney that needs to heal.
All in all, the process is supposed to take a good month or more for me to get back to my daily activities. The biggest source of pain right now is the torn/stretched muscles around my ribs/abs that are trying to heal. Because of these torn muscles, they have me on Val*ium to relax the muscles and prevent pain from that area. Then they also have me on oxycodone to improve my tolerance to deal with the the other sources of pain.
As of right now, I am not allowed to carry anything over 5 pounds or pee standing up. I'm pretty much bed-ridden for now, but at least I am finally home. And now I am constantly dozing in and out of sleep from all the drugs. It's nice. I finally get to relax and get a good amount of sleep.