My kidney cancer story began early in 2017 when I started feeling tired, lost my appetite and lost weight. In April, the PCP ordered blood tests that included BUN/Creatinine/Lytes and my first PSA test. My Creatinine was at the upper limit and the PSA was high so I was immediately referred to Urology.
An ultrasound in May indicated an enlarged prostate so I was concerned about prostate cancer until a biopsy was completed in late July that came back negative for cancer, but required medication to reduce prostate growth. In October 2017, I had abdominal pain that continued to worsen into 2018. Results from a CT Scan provided a PCP on February 21st, 2018 indicated a left renal lesion and I was told to follow-up with a Urologist. On February 27th, 2018 I met with the urologist as I complained the previous week about increasing abdominal and back pain. During the visit, a second urologist was consulted, then at 2:10 PM the he told me there was a cancerous mass in the left kidney. A moment I will never forget. His advice was for removal of the kidney as the mass was too close to the arteries for partial removal. I had a Robotic Radical Left Nephrectomy on March 15th, 2018. Recovery was okay except for liquid in the lungs that resulted in a ER visit a week after surgery and diagnosis of pneumonia. The nephrectomy was followed with prostate surgery 7 weeks later to eliminate restrictions for emptying the bladder and backing up fluids.
Again, abdominal pain started to increase in June 2018 so I have met with Gastroenterology that recently determined my gallbladder functions at 30% of normal so another surgery is imminent. I also have been changing hypertension medications and adjusting diet over the past year to gain back some of the weight lost.
March 15th marked one year NED (No Evidence of Disease) with nearly everyday better than the previous. Another achievement last year was obtaining Scuba Diving Certification, a dream come true. I hope to have more opportunities to scuba dive in the future.
I am becoming braver discussing cancer and want to focus on helping to find a cure and to help people cope with this disease.