Marifran Korb

Tag: renal cell carcinoma

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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MY RELATIONSHIP WITH CANCER: Part 1

by on Nov.13, 2010, under Random Writings on Relationship

As with any relationship, this one continues to evolve.  Surprises occur, some I like and some I don’t.  Cancer doesn’t care about my opinion.  It just is.  Or is it?  One thing I know for sure: I’m in this to learn.  This crash course in life has provided enormous opportunities to widen my scope.

No advanced doctorate degree could be more intense.  My cancer education has been on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual scale.

It started with a routine chest CT scan six months ago.  The radiology department had scanned from chest to kidneys.  Three weeks after the scan, I managed to get an appointment to hear the scan results. “Look, you’ve got cancer in both kidneys,” exclaimed my pulmonologist.  Excitedly, she pointed to a screen with black, gray and white marks on it.  I took her word for it. Not sharing her enthusiasm, I didn’t react.

There was no time to talk about my lungs on that visit. Rather, there was a flurry of activity around scheduling an abdomen scan to see the kidney more clearly. Within a week it was confirmed that I needed a specialist.

My history kept me calm and objective.  In 1991, I had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I had been coughing up blood from my lungs, something that was not new.  After a CT scan, the pulmonologist at the time, told me I needed surgery to remove my whole right lung.  I took the CT scan to a second pulmonologist who said: “Yes, it could be cancer. And with your lungs, the surgery could kill you.”

Since I said no to that first diagnosing doctor in 1991, he actually called my husband and enrolled him in the idea of surgery for me.  Figuring I could die if I did, or die if I didn’t, I refused.  Nothing bad happened as a result.

With that experience in my background, I decided not to worry about anything until I knew for sure.  The thought of having two cancerous kidneys would at times shock my mind, and I would remind myself that I did not have any physical pain. I knew I had to focus on the possibility the CT scan was wrong.

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