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Patient Stories

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Paula’s Story

My family has been my biggest support as well as KCCure

Paula Lee

Throughout the month of October 2018 I had been traveling back and forth to Nashville, TN for my work as a retail manager. On October the 18th I had been having tachycardia and chest pains for about 3 days with heart rate in the 130s and up, so on the advice of my doctor I went to ER. Once in the ER my heart was checked and EKG was fine no worries there so doctor was thinking blood clots and thyroid trouble as my father had his removed because of cancer. The doctor  decided to admit me to hospital as heart was erratic and blood work was wonky!

So during the first day I went to have a CT of chest and ultrasound of thyroid. CT scan of chest became of abdomen and pelvis also so took quite awhile. That evening urologist came to room and informed me that I had a mass on my left kidney.  He said the shape looked as if it was non cancerous but said I should get biopsy to confirm. Urologist said no matter what it would have to be removed since it was so large. Later that day I had biopsy. I was surprised how painful it was after, I wasn’t really expecting that. He asked me if I had pain or blood in urine. I said no to blood but pain yes but didn’t think of that as I have a spinal fusion on L4L5 and always have lower back and hip pain. On the morning of third day I finally went home.

I was unable to get a doctor appointment until November 1st so I had two weeks to learn about the results. Those two weeks were one of the hardest I have gone through.  After one week I was not sleeping or eating and finally prayed to God that I couldn’t do this and to help me. Immediately a great peace came over me and I knew I had cancer. On November 1st I found out I have ccRCC.  I was calm and no tears as he was speaking to me. Mainly very shocked.

In the hospital the doctor said he was booked for over six weeks so when he stated he had already booked the OR for a November 27th surgery and insurance is approved I was shocked. That was only three weeks away. That is when i knew it was serious . Surgery was early on the 27th with full left radical nephrectomy.  I came through surgery well and actually came home the next afternoon.  The hospital at the time was having a lot of flu and RSV going around and the doctor recommended I go home if I can get pain under control with pain meds.

At my three week check up biopsy results stated T1b Grade 2 Clear Cell.  Scans of chest, abdomen and pelvis every six months for 2 years then once a year if no re-occurrence.  To say this has all been a shock is an understatement. No idea where all this came from. No one in my family has had this or any type of urology issue.

My family has been my biggest support as well as KCCure. I am currently back to work after six weeks of leave and just enjoying my life and figuring all this out. I never really had any symptoms of kidney cancer except for flank pain so it was found by pure accident . I would say if I didn’t have the chest pain in October it probably would have gone on for awhile and possibly to where it would have spread.

KCCure thanks Paula for sharing her kidney cancer journey.

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