Patient Stories

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Laurel Crook

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 wante...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Bardy McConnell

Bardy shares his story about how the power of advocacy. By connecting with Cora Connor, founder of RMC Support and Dr. Nizar Tannir of MD Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center, he was able to get the right care for a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer. My Name is Bardolph McConnell, I was recently diagnosed with RMC or Renal Medullary Carcinoma which is a rare form of kidney cancer associated with sickle cell trait. I’m a 48 yr old African American with sickle trait. I had been having lower Back pain that I threw off as ordinary back pain untill I started urinating blood in December of 2018. I went to the emergency room where they did so many tests but couldn’t find anything wrong. I was a healthy man all my life with no ailments whatsoever. I kept going back to urgent ca...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Mary’s Story

It’s March, my dendrobiums are in bloom. One of these beautiful Australian rock orchids, speciosum, is extra special because seeing this bloom is one of the items on my bucket list. I lived to see it and two years ago when I became a warrior, I was uncertain that I would. Before my diagnosis, warrior seemed such a strange word to apply to people fighting cancer, but here I am using it to refer to me with a deeper understanding than I ever wanted to have. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with stage 3 kidney cancer which quickly morphed to stage four when metastasis appeared in my lungs. Since that time, I have realized that like a soldier on a battlefield I am at war. For some the war starts with an explosive sneak attack in the form of an incidental finding. My war started with the stealthy ...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Maggie and Ron

Maggie shares the story of her husband’s diagnosis with Type II Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma.  Is it ever really gone? On a Saturday morning, April 14, 2018, the phone rang, Caller ID showed, Mercy Hospital, Joplin, MO.  This is odd, since we live in NE Oklahoma, I ignored the call, let it go to voicemail.  Then, Ron’s cell rang – Hospital from Joplin, then I remembered, his urologist works at that hospital once a month.  Oh, it can’t be good news, doctors never call on a weekend with good news. Those words “there’s a new tumor, and its larger than the others”, causes your breathing to stop. He described the location and that it was discovered by the radiologist.  Dr. Doyle explained the next steps we needed to take.  Ron would get a biopsy, and then, schedule an appointment to see...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Kevin’s Story

My days are full. My expectations high. My excitement for new adventures palpable. I am alive – with stage 3 kidney cancer. When KCCure asked me to tell my cancer story, the inclination was to relate how scary it is. The pain. The surgery. The recovery. The drugs. How much it sucks to have cancer. Everyone who has been unfortunate enough to be diagnosed knows this. I’ll spare you those details. There is no doubt that cancer changed my life, completely. What I’m learning, however, is that there is some good. Recovering from the impact of a radical nephrectomy, I found myself falling into the same old routine. This time, it wouldn’t do. I had to shake it up. If I was different, I had to do “different.” I gave notice at my house rental. I sold my car. I bought a cargo van. I...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Debbie’s Story

The support and information you receive on various pages and message boards like KCCure and Smart Patients are essential. You never feel alone. Being diagnosed last May with Renal Cell Carcinoma isn’t the first time this dreaded disease has hit my family. My eldest brother, Jim, was diagnosed and succumbed to the disease in 2009.  As a matter of fact, a cancer diagnosis was becoming common in my family.  My dad had Prostate and Lung Cancer; my mother had Lung and Colon Cancer. Being told I had cancer was my biggest fear. My cancer was an “incidental find.”  I visited my primary doctor complaining of right side pain. An ultrasound noted a mass on the left side and further testing with a CT revealed the 8 cm mass that was highly suspicious for Renal Cell Carcinoma. My hunt began for a surgeo...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Chris’s Story

I met Chris via an online dating site. We always joked about how we met. I would tell everyone how I made all the first moves and he would just laugh and try to argue that wasn’t the case…even though it was. He was a single father of one. That’s what initially drew me to him. He loved being a dad and he went above and beyond to take care of his daughter in every way. He went to every game, every award ceremony, and she always came first. I loved that because that’s how I felt about my son. Handsome, kind, and sarcastic;  I knew early on that he was the yin to my yang. He loved any type of sport, he could repeat stats and tell you random things that you would never have known. He was spontaneous and impulsive which was a far cry from my grounded and practical nature, but it worked. It not o...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Larry and Dorothy’s Story

Dorothy Faye Workman Dressler’s husband Larry is diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC).  KCCure thanks Dorothy for sharing their journey from initial diagnosis through current treatment.   Our journey with RCC started on December 23, 2017. My husband, Larry, had been having bad back aches for well over two years. He woke up December 23, 2017 with a very noticeable lump/bulge in his side of the abdomen. We went to the emergency room. They came back an hour and a half later with the cancer diagnosis.  Larry was admitted immediately. Larry was diagnosed with stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma. It had metastasized to his spine and neck. Six tumors in total.  Larry started treatment with Votrient (pazopanib). Six months later they did another CT scan and found 12 more tumors on his hips and...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Terri’s Story

I have become a staunch supporter in advocacy and have helped others to do the same. I want to continue to work on that path, to help others empower themselves. On May 26, 2015, my husband pushed me into going to see a doctor for nausea and lower back pain. The MD thought it was my gall bladder and sent me for an ultrasound of my abdomen. The ultrasound technician told me to wait in the hospital waiting area for the results. I received a call a short time later indicating there was a mass on my right kidney and a CT was scheduled for the next morning. I received my diagnosis on May 28, 2015. My world changed that day as I became a cancer patient. I had always thought I was the lucky one in my family – that I was not going to have cancer like all the rest of them – that changed....

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Audrey’s Story

For  two years I struggled with severe urinary tract symptoms. It was August 2017 when I felt a strange pull and then excruciating bladder pain that debilitated everything I did. Then came the chronic fevers, fatigue, vomiting, and unrelenting back pain. My symptoms were constantly attributed to another serious illness I was fighting. July 2018 I woke up with severe abdominal pain, red gritty eyes, and a fever. Walk in told me it was a kidney infection.  I took antibiotics and got marginally better. January 8th I woke up again with gritty eyes, high fever, vomiting, and flank pain. By January 10th my friend was taking me to the ER because I was incoherent. I had a doctor lecture me for letting myself get so sick, they told me how I should advocate for my care. This tone took an immediate c...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Corina’s Story

I am trying to stay positive, enjoy life and do the things I like the most. My name is Corina, I am 40 years old and this is my story with kidney cancer. In September 2018, I did an ultrasound for some gallbladder issues.  They saw a mass on my left kidney.  I did a CT scan and an MRI in October 2018, that showed a 3 cm solid tumor with malignant tumor appearance. I had surgery on 11/27/2018 (laparoscopic left partial nephrectomy) and the pathology report confirmed that it was an RCC (clear cell carcinoma). I also fight with a chronic illness called endometriosis since I was 23-24 years old, and I had 7 surgeries for that, including total hysterectomy, last surgery in august 2018.. and after that, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. My CT scan after surgery will be in March. I am so afraid...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Ken’s Story

To everyone out there that may be facing this dreaded disease. First I’m sorry you have to join this kidney cancer patient group. Second and most important never give up! You can beat cancer. I am! Hello my name is Ken and this is my story. My journey into the dark and uncertain world of Kidney Cancer began sometime over the summer of 2012. I say sometime because this is when I believe the symptoms appeared. It started with a routine physical.The results of my blood work came back with an elevated white cell count. A short time later I was admitted to the hospital for severe pneumonia. While in the hospital my counts remained high but all other signs of the pneumonia were gone. This led to meeting with all kinds of specialists. They determined I was probably one of those with normall...

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