Today’s Voice of Kidney Cancer is Kathleen Farrell. March 28th is her ten-year kidney cancerversary. Ten years later, she shares the ups and downs of her journey. I think we all can agree – her spirit is inspiring!
Ten years ago on the 28th of March I was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for a radical nephrectomy. A tumor the size of a baseball (11.5cm) had set up housekeeping on the top of my left kidney. I had my left kidney, tumor and adrenals removed along with a friend my tumor had a crush on, my spleen.
Pathology and testing put me as a Stage 3 kidney cancer patient. The cancer had invaded my renal vein and was flitting around looking for a new home. I enrolled in the ASSURE clinical trial and received Sutent as adjuvant therapy. I am grateful that I had a top notch medical team led by Dr Naomi Haas.
Fast forward to 2016, during my surveillance scans, multiple tumors on my pancreas and right kidney were noted. The largest was 3.5cm at the neck of pancreas, impinging on a major blood vessel.
I started treatment with immunotherapy, but it made me extremely ill and had to be discontinued. To make matters worse, I was also in the process of losing my home and caring for my sick husband. I started a new targeted therapy called Inlyta and had radiation too. It was a difficult year – but we made it through it!
In 2017, we decreased my Inlyta because of side effects and because I developed a large duodenal ulcer. I went off treatment for some time which allowed me to take care of my husband until he passed away in July.
I am a very blessed lady, with friends who have stood by me, some from grade school, high school and nursing school, a great bunch of Doctors, and a family I have no words to thank. I love them all. So it continues one day at a time. Good days and crummy ones, I am grateful for each and everyone of them.