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Patient Stories

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Jeanette Bartram

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Jeanette Bartram

I feel led to share my dad’s story. I hope it will give hope and be helpful to others.

On June 19th, 2019 my dad, who had recently retired, was in his garage moving things around when he tripped over a cord and landed on his right shoulder. My mom immediately took him to the emergency room where they did an x-ray and found he had a spot (bone met) on the shoulder he broke and one bone met on each femur.

They waited until July 15th to do a full shoulder replacement and he had no cancer treatment as they were still trying to find out what type it was. I was angry with the way they were taking so long. He developed a blood clot in his shoulder obviously because they took forever to replace it. He went in on a Sunday had a stent put in his shoulder and then the next day underwent a three hour surgery to replace his shoulder. He came out ok. During his healing about two weeks he started to see signs of infection in his shoulder. His doctor was out of town so he saw a nurse practitioner that was taking his place while he was gone. The nurse practitioner said he was fine and sent him home.

Two more weeks went by and it was full blown MRSA. His doctor came back in town and immediately said they needed to do surgery. He underwent shoulder surgery again( mind you still not having cancer treatment). The doctor got all the infection out but didn’t set his shoulder very good my mom was scared to death he was going to loose his arm. For an entire month he had to go to the hospital and have IV antibiotic infusions for the mrsa ( still not receiving cancer treatment and now it’s September) mind you he was diagnosed in June.

In the middle of October they found out it was stage four renal cell carcinoma. He had a 3 cm mass in his kidney, but it had spread to both femurs and his lungs. Once they had the diagnosis, they started treating him with Opdivo+Yervoy. After his first infusion, he was severely sick. Night sweats, fevers, he could barely walk. It was terrible. I thought we were going to lose him.

He kept asking the doctor if they should take the kidney out but the doctor said no. He went on steroids and they paused treatment to let him get his strength back.

In January, he switched to treatment with Inlyta. He went to the doctor last week for a CT scan and the doctor said he has no evidence of cancer! Stage four cancer caught at the right time. He still has both kidneys and has had no radiation. He is still in a lot of pain though and his shoulder is still not right. He might need additional surgery to help with that, but for now, he’s holding off.

Please advocate for yourself. Taking the kidney out isn’t always the answer. If you have stage 4 disease, it might be better to start drug therapy first.

I am thankful to God everyday for working through this doctor. He is the ultimate physician and the prayers have saved his life. Keep praying, keep going. God is there.

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