Laurel was diagnosed with stage 2 clear cell renal cell carcinoma. She shares the story of her diagnosis, which occurred at a difficult time in her life, but how she has found strength in herself and support from others in KCCure communities.
In 2018, I found myself divorced after more than 22 years of marriage, my mother entered the nursing home after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, and I lost my father to metastatic esophageal cancer. Little did I know the year of hard knocks was not finished with me yet.
On Nov. 26, I had what I thought was a UTI. I made an appointment with my PCP and went about my day. My symptoms became worse, but I’m stubborn and convinced myself that I would wait until I saw my nurse practitioner the next morning. After all, my son had a basketball game and I wanted to be in the stands cheering him on.
My symptoms did not improve throughout the evening and by the time I got home, I started passing blood. Not just blood, but blood clots. Still in denial, I called a friend who is an RN, and he advised me to go to the emergency department. So I did.
I hoped for a UTI, and even prayed for a kidney stone. No such luck. That night it was confirmed that I had a rather large mass on my right kidney. The doctor could not stress enough the importance of following up with a urologist. I took his advice and made an appointment the next morning. We met with Dr. Frank Lohrasbi the following Wednesday and I was immediately impressed with his knowledge, his bedside manner, and the aggressiveness with which he wanted to treat my newfound illness. We both agreed that it had to come out, kidney and mass, and a date was set.
On Dec. 21, 2018, I had hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery to perform a radical nephrectomy to remove my kidney and what we discovered was an 8 cm, stage 2, clear cell renal cell carcinoma. I am now considered cancer-free.
With this diagnosis I have learned more terms and acronyms than I thought imaginable. I have felt pain that I had not experienced before and anxiety beyond compare. However, I have found that I am stronger than I ever thought possible. I also found an amazing support system in KCCure. The care, knowledge, and friendship of the administrators and members has been unparalleled and for that I am thankful.
I have overcome a lot during the past 12 months, and I’m not stopping now. My health is my priority. As a single mother of three amazing boys, I plan to do all I can to live a long and happy life.