I’m a member of a kidney cancer survivor group on Facebook. It is a very supportive, non dramatic place to connect, ask questions and feel not totally alone in your disease. Between the group and what I learned about living with cancer from my friend, Tracy, I decided to go ahead and put my recent kidney cancer diagnosis and nephrectomy on here for anyone or should that be everyone experiencing the unknown.
if you have been reading ninasusan.com in the last 3 months, you already know that I was in Belize In a non tourist town with an astoundingly apparent lack of medical care, when I starting having extreme abdominal pain. I made it through 2 days in Belize and a very long airplane ride home before I found myself in the ER in Lee’s Summit. I was expecting just about anything from the CT scan other than a diverticulitis abscess and oh by the way an 8cm mass on your left kidney which we think is malignant. that was March 9, my 59th birthday.
After a picc line insertion and self administering heavy antibiotics for 4 weeks, I finally received the all clear…call your urologist and get that kidney out. It was another 6 weeks. Exactly 3 months between diagnosis and removal.
let’s just get on with the nephrectomy..
If you have had a colonoscopy, that is what you can expect from the day before/night before cleanse. If you haven’t had a colonoscopy, suffice it to say things will come out of your colon from the day you first started eating solid foods. It’s not something I would do on a boring Saturday night, but I don’t find the experience to be horrible.
Morning of surgery, you tell no less than 25 people your name and date of birth and why you are there in your own words. It was mildly irritating but I was thankful that everyone in the hospital who made eye contact with me knew exactly what I was going thru. He, my girls and Jax crammed into a room the size of my bathroom to wait out the 2 hours. this was, in fact a blessing, with the exception of Jax’s dirty diaper.
Arrival in the OR is Cold. Everyone stops their little jobs, acknowledges you, tells you their name and what they will be doing to you….meanwhile body parts on both sides of your body are being moved around into position…the anesthesiologist has had a few cups of coffee, makes a couple of jokes, put something in the IV and the next thing I know there is a round faced guy in scrubs talking to me about something or he may have been talking to someone else, or he may not have been talking at all but he was unhooking various plumbing parts. Then with a blink of an eye, I’m racing through the halls of Iowa Methodist Hospital on a gurney at Mach speed feeling pretty damn good!
Here’s the picture
I was in considerable pain for the first 3 hours but not because of anything above. Because of the carbon dioxide pumped into the abdominal area so the surgeon can see what is going on. I had a robotic removal of my left kidney with 4 holes and the masterpiece center which was made to pull my almost 8cm kidney With tumor, adrenal gland and fat through.
I’m here to tell you 4 days post surgery. DO NOT Be brave…take your pain medication and get your ass out of bed and walk because the best thing that can happen to you is to have a barn burner fart to empty your shoulder cavities of the carbon dioxide. just so you know, about midway thru this blog, I stood up and waved an American flag because I thought this was going to be the ending of the pain, finally….but not yet. Long, voracious, drawn out loud farting is what you begin to live for.
post nephrectomy, you need a recliner to sleep in, a heating pad for your shoulders, ice packs….lots of ice packs to numb your abdominal area, colase to soften the bowels that you know are coming……and the love and support of your family and friends…..and I’m here for you. Email anytime…I’m here to help you cope!
until next time…..