this month is my 13th year anniversary of being cancer free.
i was diagnosed back in spring of `99 with renal carcinoma. kidney cancer.
my father, and his father, and my maternal aunt, and my maternal grandfather had already died from cancer years before. so i figured i was pretty much done.
my urologist told me that kidney cancer usually occurs in smokers over 50. i was 31 and never smoked. i was just unlucky. or lucky. depends on how you look at it.
i've had acid reflux disease for a long time and i was having an ultrasound done when the nurse started acting weird and asked me to stay for more tests. little did i know what the reason was, but i knew something was up. when i went to my pcp a week later, he gave me the news. it took a while to sink in, but when it did, jesus christ. you don't know what cold fear is till you're facing the very real possibility of death.
i didn't even want to be operated on. i saw my relatives get carved up and suffer horribly only to die in the end. no thanks. i made my plans to take care of it myself and not go through the nightmare that they did if it started to look bad.
the tests were miserable. you NEVER want to have an incision made in your groin and have a camera inserted into your vein and feel it bumping around in your heart. you do NOT want to go through countless MRIs, ultrasounds, x-rays, nuclear medicine, etc, etc.
however, the tests were all coming back ok. my cancer all seemed to be contained in my kidney. my Dr. kept reassuring me i'd be ok.
i went along with it and had the surgery. my entire right kidney was removed. i was out of the hospital 3 days later.
i still go for regular checkups and tests, but so far, so good.
funny how i feel guilty, though. so many people have suffered and died from cancer. i got off damn easy. almost doesn't seem fair. then comes the questions like why was i spared. what am i supposed to do with my life now? why am i here? what is my purpose?
hell if i know. i'm just glad to be here.
the only symptom i ever had was some lower back pain that i ignored. it was a bit nagging, but the same kind of back pain you can get from any lifting or twisting. i would have never gone to the doctor just for that pain. tylenol was good enough for me. it's true what my urologist said. this type of cancer is found by accident most of the time. thank god for my ARD.
anyway, make sure you guys take care of yoursellves, especially if you smoke. don't take an odd pain for granted. go for regular checkups whether you think you need them or not.
anyway, thirteen years later and i'm still here.
this is me right after my surgery. all the staples are still in place as well as the drainage catheter. i'm not sure where the original pic is, but here's a negative of the original black and white i used for a cd cover. quite the bitch to be cut open like this. hurt like HELL to laugh after this crap!
so there you go.