Marifran Korb

Tag: CT scans

My Relationship With Cancer, Part 14

by on Dec.30, 2013, under Overcoming Cancer

Due to irreconcilable differences, the surgeon and I parted ways. A week ago, I met with my urologist surgeon for a consultation so I could ask questions. My husband Ed attended the meeting and neither of us liked what we heard.

The main disagreement was that Dr. W. planned to remove my adrenal gland along with the kidney. Never did he reveal that until I asked about it. He insisted I don’t need the adrenal gland since I have two. I said I want to keep it to help my lungs. Without acknowledging my point, he said: “I don’t want to be bothered with that little thing.”

Though I did not say that the adrenal gland was a deal breaker for me, immediately I did say I would have to reconsider the surgery. Dr. W. seemed unconcerned about my hesitation.

Though I had told him of the COPD that I’ve had since age 14, the surgeon said he wasn’t doing anything different for my lungs during the three hours of surgery since he “can’t imagine any problem.” He did not talk to the pulmonologist as I requested. There’s more, but those were the most problematic issues.

It is sobering to realize that surgeons can do things without your permission. They can justify it and get away with it. Had I not read about the frequency of kidney surgeries resulting in loss of the adrenal gland, I would never have known. Whenever I would discover it, the damage would have been done and it would be too late. Then the surgeon can say: “I was only trying to protect you.” I want to have the choice to say yes or no to the risk. I want to be included in the decision, so that if the adrenal gland is fine, I want it saved.

Hoping to bridge the gap between the surgeon and me, my daughter Ilona spoke to the doctor. She quoted a study that said if a kidney tumor is less than 8 cm, the adrenal gland should remain in the body. Dr. W. said he knew of the study and he thought the tumor could spread to the adrenal gland anyway, despite my smaller than 4 cm tumor. In other words, he knew better than the study and he would do as he pleased. His real motivation came when he spontaneously said to me: “I don’t want to be bothered …”

Already I had been through many pre-op tests this month, including a nuclear scan, and a CT scan with contrast that I drank and contrast in my veins. After seeing the surgeon, I cancelled the pre-op blood tests. Interestingly, I had scheduled lung function tests for this morning. The pulmonologist got sick and it was rescheduled for January 9. If I were still planning on surgery, I would need the lung function tests and it would be very difficult to schedule them before the surgery date of January 6. The lung function tests would have determined definitively whether or not my lungs could handle the surgery.

Looking forward to having this all over with, I was prepared to be recovering for three months. Totally, I was ready to put all the searching, all the questioning, and all the recovering behind me so I could greet the spring with a new tumor-free body.

Yet, I have to see everything that happens as part of my path to wellness. All I know for sure is I will not be having surgery next week. While I sort out what my next move is, I am as surprised as you about the twists and turns in this story.

Clear that I am making the right decision in this moment, I eagerly await what opens up next. Meanwhile plenty of parties are planned for New Years Eve and New years Day. I will enjoy them all. Wishing each of you a healthy and happy 2014.

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My Relationship with Cancer, Part 13

by on Dec.17, 2013, under Random Writings on Relationship

In the last 15 months the kidney tumor did not grow more than a millimeter. That tiny difference was in only the width of the tumor. The rest stayed the same. While that sounds good, I realize that it is not good enough.

In October I went to a new urologist, Dr. W. After looking at the known history of the tumor, he informed me that the one centimeter growth between the previous two years was an ominous sign. He contends that any growth at all indicates that there is a 90% chance the tumor is aggressive cancer, rather than the 75% chance it is cancer.

Deciding that I could no longer afford to risk the spread of cancer, I gave myself six weeks to try some new strategies. At the same time I continued to take many supplements, practice Meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Reiki. No one can try all strategies, all supplements or all methods to heal cancer. There are a multiplicity of modalities. Presently, there is no way to know which healing methods or supplements would work best for any particular individual. After reading and studying all I could find, I followed my intuition.

Happy in the knowledge that I did all I could handle, I know I gave it my best efforts. My new approaches caused me to find wonderful practitioners in healing professions. These practitioners have become friends. I have met fabulous people along this entire three and a half year journey. I am deeply grateful to all the support I have received along the way from friends and family. The Cancer Center has provided helpful classes, including a weekend Reiki Program led by Reiki Master and Teacher Sarah Dailey.

Satisfied that I did what I could, I look forward to a surgical cure. While I won’t have one kidney, I also won’t have the perpetual CT scan surveillance, nor the threat of cancer spreading. Realistically, I know it could come back, and I am not expecting that.

On January 6, I will be in surgery as long as I get clearance from the pulmonologist. Then it will be three months of healing. This journey is not over by any means. There still will be check ups for some years ahead to make sure no cancer cells escaped into the blood stream. For now I am looking forward to a cancer-free future.

My dear friend, Sheila Bakely Finkelstein, gave me the book: Help Me to Heal by Bernie Siegel.

Here is a quote from the book: Healing is a process, not a product – a journey, not a single destination. When you’re healed, your body is not necessarily free of afflictions, but your life is.

Never have I felt I had afflictions, merely challenges to contend with. Meanwhile, I am expanding joy and celebrating life everyday. Looking forward to exciting and satisfying adventures, I wish the same for you, dear Reader.

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My Journey with Cancer Part 12

by on May.25, 2013, under Overcoming Cancer

The tumor is still there. Of course it is, you and I say. Who gets rid of a tumor without surgery? My thought is that it does happen. If it happened once, it could happen again. There are many routes to healing. Any of us could be that person who heals. Am I delusional to think the tumor could go away?

Though I am taking a risk not to have surgery, surgery itself is a big risk for me, given my lungs. Constantly, I am weighing the odds. Right now, I feel I am not putting myself in ridiculous danger.

To this day, it has been three years since it was confirmed I had cancer. Since I have been on the prescribed Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for seven months, I decided to see if is working. So, three days ago, I had an ultrasound.

When I arrived in urologist Dr. B’s office, he said that ultrasounds are too dark to determine anything. When I protested that he was the one who ordered it, he said he was trying to save me from too many CT scans.

No amount of my questioning Dr. B, gave me the information I wanted to know. Did the 51 ultrasound pictures of my kidney show enlargement, shrinkage, or similar size to the CT scan in October? He dismissed the questions. That part of the appointment was over in a minute. So I had time to ask about whether he offered gene mutation testing. After Dr. B talked in a long circuitous route, the short answer was a big fat no. Then, he said I should come back in two weeks to have a CT scan and to see him again.

While I was in a daze of disappointment from having no information in exchange for the cost of time and money there, I followed Dr. B to the secretary’s office. He instructed her to schedule me for an appointment in two weeks. As the secretary dialed the radiology department for a CT scan schedule, I woke up from my shock and told her: “Thanks anyway, but no.” Politely, I stated I would call her if I decided to do anything.

Yes, a CT scan would more accurately determine the size of the tumor so I could see if all I am doing is making any difference. Yet, knowing the tumor is there is enough for me to step up my plan of action.

Today, I received the radiologist’s report with specific measurements. It showed that the tumor is seven millimeters smaller. That difference may seem small, but it appears to be going in the right direction. That is not how it usually goes with tumors.

While I do have to acknowledge that ultrasounds are not considered to have pinpoint accuracy compared to CT scans, I’m elated about this apparent progress. Still, I’ll continue taking LDN and high doses of tumeric, reishi mushrooms, and vitamin D3.

Just in this past year, I have not been 100% disciplined about avoiding sugar, grain, wine and cheese. These are my biggest temptations that may increase cancer. Now my commitment to speedy recovery is to go off these substances again. In these last 3 days I have lost a pound of weight from renewed self-discipline.

An interesting note here is that recently, on a CD, I heard the voice of a healer named Braco speaking in his native Croatian language. Wanting to do all I can to heal no matter how strange, I sat for about 45 minutes listening to words I could not translate.

What I am about to tell you sounds bizarre to me. About 25 minutes into listening to the CD, I had a dramatic and unexpected feeling on my right side. It was not painful, but seemed like a lightning bolt with its strong, sudden start and quick, abrupt exit. Getting my attention, it took a minute to realize it struck where my tumor is.

Never have I had an experience like this. If someone else told me this story, I might think they were wacko. Definitely, I would not be able to relate. If I tried, I couldn’t make this very real experience happen. Unwilling to assume anything, I wondered why it happened. While I am skeptical, I could not deny this experience. I do not know what it might mean, if anything.

Was the smaller tumor due to the LDN, the supplements, or hearing Braco? I have no idea.

Braco will be in Indianapolis, Indiana in person on June 26 and 27. His site is www.Braco.net From Braco, many people have stories of being healed of deadly illnesses, difficult relationships, disastrous finances, etc. Of course, not everyone is healed. Keeping an open mind, I will go to Indianapolis with friends.

While I am not counting on healing through Braco, and I am not counting on healing at all, what I can count on is what I do. Since I am taking many supplements, taking prescribed LDN and improving healthful eating, I hope to have even better scan results in the future. If it does not happen the way I would like, I will have surgery, despite its danger to my lungs. No matter where this journey with cancer takes me, I am finding things that intrigue and amaze me as a result.

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MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CANCER – Part 2

by on Nov.20, 2010, under Random Writings on Relationship

What I came to realize is that CT scans are more precise now and have greater accuracy than back in 1991 when I was misdiagnosed with lung cancer. Yet, that idea of a possible misdiagnosis was a saving grace for me to get through the early days of this cancer journey.

Meanwhile, my pulmonologist now suggested an urologist at UC.  I figured a doctor closer to home would do just as well.

On June 17, I went to the nearby urologist. Looking at the CT scan, Dr. K assured me that I had only one cancerous kidney. I felt relieved. The left kidney had a cyst, not a tumor. He could “keep an eye on it” with future CT scans. The right kidney was cancerous. He was sure. It was stage one. Instead of being totally depressed, I was actually grateful to this doctor that I only had one tumor.

Heading home that June day, the reality of cancer set in. I knew I needed to study up on this. I called our daughter, Ed’s parents, and a few friends.

My father-in-law had inspired me with his restored health.  Almost a year earlier, his stage 3  prostate cancer affected him so much, he looked too frail to continue living.   Standing and walking were challenges.  He had no energy until he took a supplement of fermented wheat germ.

Within three months of taking the supplement he was alive and vibrant for his 88 years. It was that hope that I now would cling to.

Before I could tell Ed’s dad that I planned to take the same fermented wheat germ, he offered to give me his extra months supply.   Gratefully, I started taking it that same day after ordering my supplies over the internet.

In the book Knockout, I read that cancer feeds off sugar.   Immediately, I gave up all desserts and snacks with sugar.  Cold turkey.  It was not easy. Quickly, I discovered how addicted I was to sugar.

Dr. K had said that he thought I had a transitional cell carcinoma.   To determine exactly what type of cancer it was, he informed me he had to perform a procedure called a cystoscope.

After that procedure, I spoke with Dr. K. He said it was not a transitional cell carcinoma, but a renal cell carcinoma. That distinction made no difference as far as his assertion that the cancer had to come out immediately.

The surgery could not be done with robotics, since it was very close to the blood supply. I would have a scar on my back and the surgery would take two to three hours. It would involve weeks of recovery. On the internet, the people who had undergone kidney surgery said they were in pain for months afterwards.

Dr. K admitted that he could not be sure to save any of that right kidney. Still, he insisted that there was a good chance he could cut out only the tumor, doing a partial nephrectomy, and leave the rest intact.

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