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Reasons for Today

Voices of Kidney Cancer – Elise Whitehill

Voices of Kidney Cancer – Elise Whitehill

Here’s to the caregivers who fight tirelessly for their loved ones battling kidney cancer.  The men and women who manage medication, drive to appointments, fax medical records and know more about their loved-ones illness than most doctors.  They monitor side effects better than a trial nurse.  And when necessary, they shave heads.  Thank you caregivers.  Thank you Elise, caregiver to Mark.

No hair…Don’t care

We ended up just shaving Mark’s head. The few patches and wisps left were not a flattering look. He’s likely permanently bald, but it’s worth it. The aggressive tumor on his head that grew to the size of my fist has shrunk to just the size of my fingertip. If someone didn’t know it was there they might not notice. And I can feel the bone remodeling, filling in the hole the cancer ate in his skull. It really is amazing how (I believe) the human body has such a default mode of health and healing itself.

He’s completed radiation and started “cabo.” This new drug was approved in 2016 to fight kidney cancer. We hope it will shrink and keep his cancer in check, and that the side effects will still allow a good quality of life. When we were so devastated to learn he had stage 4 uncurable cancer one of the things I pinned my hope on was keeping him alive until there were better options. In the past 33 months we did get a lot of living done, and there have been several new drugs approved for fighting RCC. And there are promising clinical trials and other drugs in the pipeline. My hope is that in Mark’s lifetime stage 4 kidney cancer will become manageable as a chronic disease like diabetes or COPD, and not a death sentence.

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Profile photo of Dena Battle
Dena Battle is the President of KCCure. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and as a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council.

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