Marifran Korb


by on Nov.27, 2010, under Random Writings on Relationship

Dr. K requested an office appointment five days after the procedure to determine the type of kidney cancer. I knew he wanted to schedule surgery.

The day arrived. June 29 was a sunny morning. Ed drove while I prayed that I had the strength to face the day’s challenges. In a few hours, I would conduct my first interview for my new Blog Talk Radio Program. Unsure of the technology, I was insecure about whether I would ever be prepared enough to interview a psychologist in a venue that could be heard around the world.

Definitely, that was not what I was most concerned about. One anxiety centered around overcoming kidney cancer. The most immediate apprehension focused on how difficult this meeting would be. I let the summer sun warm me. On the short drive, I imagined that the sun was pouring power into the cells of my body.

Once at the office, Ed and I were escorted to the office with the doctor’s big desk, not the usual utilitarian, soulless, cramped space. Dr. K came in after awhile and took his place behind the desk, facing us.

Getting right to it, Dr. K informed me he had already scheduled surgery for me. In three weeks was the date. Explaining all the aspects of surgery, he said he would have to go in by hand the old fashioned way due to the tricky location of the tumor.

Quickly I reminded him of the risks of such a long surgery since I have serious complications with my lungs. Dr. K thought it was no big deal since I needed this surgery to live. I asserted that whenever I had surgery I wanted my pulmonologist to be consulted. Neither agreeing or disagreeing, Dr. K was convinced I needed surgery no matter the extenuating circumstances.

“There’s a good chance I can save some of the kidney, and just cut out the cancer,” he cheerfully stated. “Yes, and it’s not likely,” I guessed aloud, disputing his claim. “Well, there’s a slight chance,” Dr. K countered. That was more what I thought. From the beginning, I knew I could not count on rescuing any of that kidney. Now the truth was out: just a slight chance, not a good chance. I was even more convinced of the risks.

Yes, I know I have another kidney. There’s a reason we are supposed to have two. I wanted them both intact if I could manage that.

I was aware of the risks of not having surgery. Cancer could spread and I’d be in much worse difficulty. As a calculated risk, I hoped it was worth it. It appeared to be all or nothing, and I was willing to go for it.

I told Dr. K and my shocked husband that I wanted to try some things for the next three to four months before I would consider surgery. My strong feeling was that I had time. The tumor was found by accident. I had no symptoms. It was only an inch in size.

“Size doesn’t matter” the doctor insisted, “a small tumor can spread as fast as a large one.” Though it had been five days since Dr. K performed the procedure, he said that my cancer may have spread already in those few days.

The biggest reason I wanted time was that I wanted to continue taking a supplement of fermented wheat germ. It takes at least three months to see any results. I did not share what I was thinking.

Reading my mind, Dr. K emphatically asserted that “no diet, no supplement, and no prayers are going to save you.” He made it clear that surgery was the only route and I could do it now and stay safe, or do it later when it spread. Urgency was of the utmost importance.

Ed was torn. I could see it on his face. He had said earlier that he believed I should have the surgery.

“I will get another CT scan in three or four months and then decide based on results,” I stated. Taking advantage of the doctor’s shock, I stood up and said: “Thank you. I’ll be in touch if I decide to have surgery.” We shook hands and parted without any bad feelings. Dr. K was gracious, suggesting I could get a second opinion if I had doubts.

Very relieved the exchange did not get ugly, I walked out to the hallway knowing I had no intention of having surgery before I gave my best to another way. While I had a plan in mind, I did not know if the one supplement and the no-sugar diet was enough to sidestep the spread of cancer in a few months.

And what would stop cancer altogether? While having no clue, I was committed to searching for something. I did not know what or how.

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