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Patient Stories

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Doug Barrick

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Doug Barrick

I was finally diagnosed in 2017 after a couple of years complaining to my Veteran Affairs (VA) doctor that I didn’t feel right. I finally had to leave the VA and go to a private group. They thought I had a kidney stone again. They did a CT and saw a cyst on my kidney.  The “cyst” was there from a scan years earlier but the doctor wanted an MRI. I almost didn’t go, but my girlfriend (who is now my wife) urged me to go as I had complained that nobody was listening to me and now someone is finally doing something. So I went that Saturday morning.

Monday afternoon while driving home from work I got a call from the doctor : “the good news is you don’t have a kidney stone, the bad news is I’m 99.9% sure you have cancer, now before you ask me questions save them and I’ll have someone who’s better with cancer call you this week.”

That was it…

Driving home, Monday night, a PHONE CALL…I can’t tell you what went through my head. I was dating, in a new relationship with my now wife, and all I could think was, how do I tell her?

I had surgery to remove the kidney, a foot long scar, and 40 staples and was doing OK for a couple years until one day I got really ill, all of a sudden. The tumor had come back and was blocking my Inferior Vena Cava (IVC), a piece of which broke off and went into my lungs and put me in the hospital. After, they decided to do a biopsy (that I had to pay for up front ) only one radiologist would even do it.

This confirmed what they should have already been known in, my opinion. They sent me to yet another surgery with yet another 1 foot long 40 staple incision, and a cows aorta to replace what they removed. 

Now I’m a year out and have lung nodules and quite frankly I’m scared sh##less to put it bluntly, also I feel mad and cheated. 

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