Marifran Korb

Tag: kidney tumor

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 RELATIONSHIP WITH CANCER – Part 9

by on Aug.31, 2011, under Random Writings on Relationship

Since the last ultrasound, I have been enjoying life to the hilt. In April, Ed and I moved to a great home with trees and flowers all around us. A family of deer frolic through our woods. Never far away, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks visit our patio often, even when we are relaxing by the fountain in the fish pond.

Last week I had an ultrasound on my kidneys. The bad news is that it is not smaller. The good news is that it is no bigger than it was. Today I went to see urologist Dr. B, my second opinion doctor. Now he is telling me that surgery could be in the future for me sometime.

The reason? My parents were long-lived and it’s possible I could live to be 90. While happily that is a number of decades from now, there are no statistics on the number of years a kidney tumor can be safely watched. According to Dr. B, it has not happened before.

In the past, doctors took out any kidney that had a tumor. Now they try to take only the tumor and leave much of the kidney. There’s no statistics or research information on what will happen over the years for someone who is expected to live as long as I am. In my situation, there are not a lot of people that have been watched over a long time. So I suggested that I would be the first. That’s a valuable contribution. Right?

“Your possible years left are a whole career for a doctor. Some young doctor will be following you and have to pass you off to yet another doctor. And no doctor wants to do that.” Dr. B conjectured this as if that was a bad thing. It is not for me.

Dr. B said I should think about surgery in a few years. I reminded him of his assertion a year ago that I could live with the tumor. He answered that he is giving me the other side of it now. Hmm.

Reminding him that a year ago he claimed that patients with kidney surgery can die a decade earlier than the national statistics, Dr. B responded that it is true when one whole kidney is extracted. Given that he thinks he can take out my tumor despite it’s delicate position near the blood supply, he downplayed the danger. We did not get into the problem of my lungs. I’m still thinking about this turn of attitude. For now, we agreed things will stay the same.

Meanwhile, I will continue to live fully. Enjoying every minute, I am not slowing down.

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