Patient Stories

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...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Sallie’s Story

Sallie shares her cancer journey that started with finding a “hijacker” on her kidney.   In November of 2018, my legs went out from under me when I received a call from my doctor.  He told me that the CT scan for my tummy was fine, however they had found RCC on my left kidney.  I was buying groceries for Thanksgiving at the time, and I will never forget that moment.  I pulled myself together, looked at my husband and told him. My first thought, I have a hijacker on my kidney! The first doctor I went to suggested a biopsy, but his demeanor was not one that I felt would be beneficial to me.  I immediately contacted UT Southwest in Dallas.   I was given the suggestion of Dr. Gahan and when I met him I knew he was the doctor I needed.  He also mentioned a biopsy. I did my research ...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – John’s Story

Kathy Sweeney Cunnius shares her husband John’s story. My name is Kathy Sweeney Cunnius and I have been married for 23 years to my husband and my best friend. John never had an ailment during our entire marriage.  If he got a cold, that was a lot.  He did get shingles a few years back, and I said that’s shingles and he said no its not and waited a week to go to the doctor and guess what, it was shingles. I am the one with all the ailments.  I have CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, with some autoimmune disorders to go with it.  I always felt blessed that if I had to get cancer, I have one that can be managed. Fast forward to the end of April 2018.  He started saying his hip hurt and he was limping.  At night he iced it and I even made some potions to put on it, because he went to the...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Paula’s Story

My family has been my biggest support as well as KCCure 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 i...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Ted Engel’s story

Ted Engel shares his five year kidney cancer journey, and how participating in a clinical trial has left him free of disease. On the morning of January 10th, 2014 I entered the exam room expecting to get an ultrasound to confirm an issue with my gall bladder.  I had been feeling nauseous for a few weeks and my family doctor had ordered this test. I chatted with the tech as she went about her exam and everything seemed normal enough. Suddenly, she left the room and returned with the radiologist. He showed me a large mass on my left kidney and other tumors throughout my liver. He looked at me and said, “You’ve got stage IV cancer.”   He immediately ordered a CT scan that confirmed I had a 12.6 cm mass on my left kidney and extensive metastatic disease to my liver. We were suddenly thrust int...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Ralph & Anne Groves’ Story

Thanking Ralph and Anne Groves for sharing their kidney cancer journey! In November 2011 Ralph’s routine physical turned into a quick removal of a football size tumor from his kidney. The doctor came out to the waiting room and said it was a difficult removal, they tried their  best to get clean margins, but there may be “TRACE CELLS” left   I asked if he was still unconscious and the surgeon replied yes… at which I stated firmly, “then go back in there and get those trace cells”. He was not amused, neither was I. He looked at me quietly and left the waiting room. This became the beginning of our learning curve of “ doctor language” and “ patient comprehension “. The next two years he was monitored with scans. In October 2013, we walked in to an appointment and the doctor...

Voice of Kidney Cancer – Brianna’s Story

Now I feel called to spread awareness and learn as much as I can about this disease, and to spend everyday really living because of what I went through. My name is Brianna Rose and I’m 25 years old. I went to the hospital in January of 2018 for pneumonia. I had just married the love of my life in December. My husband Jacob, and I had been together for six years and finally decided it was time to tie the knot. Shortly after we were married we decided to go on our honeymoon in February but I had fallen sick and was coughing so I went to the hospital. They gave me a CT scan for my pneumonia and noticed a 3.5 cm mass on top of my left kidney. I was told to follow up with my doctor in six weeks and that it was likely a kidney infection. So In 6 weeks my husband and I went to the doctors office ...

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