Thanksgiving 2017

thanksgiving 5It was asked of us at our Thanksgiving table this year, “Tell something/someone specific you are thankful for.”

It was easy for me. I had a cancerous kidney removed three months ago. I didn’t know for sure it was cancer until it was removed and the pathology report came back. I am thankful to be here and healed.

Before, during and after my hospitalization, I felt the love from far and near. I was taken care of with whatever need I, along with my hubby, might have, even before being asked. My family, my friends, my neighbors, my church – oh my, I still feel the love! It’s overwhelming! My dear hubby stepped up in any and every way he could, way beyond his comfort level.thanksgiving 1

I posted three different times prior explaining my story which began in April – the week before Easter. You can read about it here:

Three Weeks

That Dreaded MRI

Unnecessary Parts?

To see my grown children actually “mother” me was something I’ll never forget. I was so proud – not only of their maturity but of their love and knowhow. Of course, they both have four kids each so have had lots of practice! 😊

To be humbled by my physical self – poorly at the time, and still not at 100% – and to ask for and accept help, is not my normal mindset.

As for my mental self, well, let’s just say that the anesthesia one receives during surgery lasts a long, long time! I’m still not sure I’m thinking straight. 😊

About five days after the surgery, my surgeon called. I began speaking before he did, wanting him to up my pain meds. I was in a bad way! When I finally let him talk, he began with, “I have your pathology report back and it’s very unusual. . .” Thankfully my daughter was listening in because after he agreed to up my pain meds, I pretty much stopped listening.

The “very unusual” part of his message was that I had two cancerous tumors in my kidney – one quite large. But the real clincher was that each tumor contained a different type of cancer!

The essential point and most important was it was all removed. No chemo or radiation necessary.

We already knew of two tumors present. The MRI was clear on that point. And I already knew that was unusual. Why? Because I googled it! Did you know there are forums for just about everything on the internet? Fascinating! I compared pain levels, size of tumors, types of cancer, etc. Never once did I find a comment about one having two tumors, let alone two different types of cancers.

This all began with a trip to the ER in April for a pain on the left side which went away. The CT scan led us to check further on the right side where the kidney lesions in question showed themselves. It was not a fluke. It was God!

A month or so later, I was in communication with my primary doctor. Since my surgery was in a hospital in a different network than my primary, she hadn’t yet received my reports. I mentioned that I had two different types of cancerous tumors. She too commented that it was quite unusual. Later when I had an appointment in her office, she shared that in her entire practice, which began in 1990, she had never heard of this.

As time passed, those comments began to roll around in my mind. So, I asked my surgeon directly using the medical portal (I love those!).

“I met with my general doctor last week for a routine visit. She said she had never heard of a kidney with 2 different cancers in it. I wondered if you had. I know you said it was unusual, so I wondered just how rare it is? Thank you!”

He responded,
“It is quite rare. Having more than one tumor in the kidney occurs in about 3% of people with kidney cancer. Having two different types of cancer in the same kidney is even more rare . . .”

I’m famous! “😊

Seriously, I’m not sure what to do with that information. Nothing except to thank God again for His arms around me and again be amazed at His work!

Someone mentioned that now I was a cancer survivor. I disagree to the point that I do not have to deal with chemo or radiation or other means to kill the disease that so many must be subject to. I didn’t have to think about it and the “what if’s” day in and day out for months or even years. In fact, the word “cancer” was never mentioned until the surgeon called that day – five days after the infected kidney was removed. The terms, “areas of concern” and “suspicious lesions” were used, but never “cancer.” I believe that’s a psychological ploy because we all knew the possibilities.

I don’t feel like a cancer survivor because I didn’t know I had cancer until I didn’t!

But everyday I’m overwhelmed with gratefulness and thankfulness to God, my hubby, my family, my neighbors, and my friends who took care of me. I look forward to opportunities to pass it forward.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7

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Unnecessary Parts?

During an interesting discussion recently, someone pointed out that I had pretty much been separated from most of my unnecessary bodily parts, those being tonsils, appendix, wisdom teeth, gallbladder, and uterus (after delivering two of the best kids in the world 😊).

As I recall all those events, I’m reminded of a lot of upheaval surrounding them. None were easy. All were unique experiences.

In third grade, my tonsils came out. I continually had sore throats and swollen glands so tonsilfinally the decision was made to remove those tonsils and, while they were in there, my adenoids. (What the heck is an adenoid anyway?) I remember the operating room – everyone and everything covered in green. This lady is putting something over my nose and mouth and telling me to breath and count backwards from 100. I began – 100, 99 . . . Ether took over. (Is that even legal anymore?) You remember the Bill Cosby sketch about him having his tonsils taken out? He was promised ice cream? Yep. Me too. But the throat hurt so very much, I didn’t even want to look at ice cream. It just didn’t seem fair to an eight-year old.

In ninth grade, it was my appendix. My BFF told a joke and made me laugh – the kind that one keeps laughing so much, causing one’s side to hurt. That hurt didn’t go away. A couple of days later the doctor decided to do exploratory surgery. I’m not sure it was appendixnecessary but, while looking around, they took out my appendix. I do have to admit though; the pain went away. In those days (a long, long time ago) I had stitches, temporarily held together by metal clamps. After six days in the hospital – SIX DAYS – the doctor said I was going home. He proceeded to cut off those metal clamps and told me to get up and get dressed. He and my mother went into the hall to wait. I stood up and immediately fainted. Fortunately, I landed on the bed. My roommate screamed for the doctor. This delayed my release for a few hours.

As a freshman in college, I was scheduled for wisdom teeth extraction during Spring wisdom teethBreak. This seems common at that age. Of course, mine were impacted and – again, in those days – I had an overnight stay in the hospital for the procedure. When I woke up, both corners of my mouth were slightly torn and there was a heaviness in my chest. I’m not sure but I could picture the doctor kneeling on my chest aiming pliers towards my mouth.

In my early thirties, I had a hysterectomy. This truly was the easiest – now using the laparoscopic technique.hysterectomy pic

Twelve years ago, in my mid-fifties, I began experiencing indigestion/ heartburn. This was new for me and began happening frequently, but it always went away. One day, six months after this began, I had a bout that didn’t go away. It became so bad that I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack. Instead of calling 911, I called hubby who was working 2 miles away. He came home and took me to the ER. I remember thinking – and I can visualize exactly where I was enroute – that I was ok with dying because I looked forward to being in Heaven with my Savior. But I silently prayed to God that I would not die while hubby was driving!

If you’ve ever been to an ER, you’ll remember seeing signs all over, “If you are having chest pains, inform the nurse immediately.” I did just that and was ushered in. Unfortunately, it was full so I was on a gurney in the hall of the ER. A mean old nurse, who I assume had much experience with fakers, pretty much didn’t believe me. But she did give me nitroglycerin and left to check my records. Her change of demeanor was amazing when she returned. I believe she checked and noted I had never been to an ER and had never reported chest pain anywhere. So now she believed me. But the nitro didn’t relieve my symptoms. I don’t remember all the tests that were performed but I do remember part of the heart cath. Lying there awake while watching on a screen a doctor insert something into my heart. He told me that my heart was as healthy as a teenager. (The only good news of the day).

After more tests, I was admitted. A surgeon was called and we waited and waited and waited. I was in such pain and not much was helping. At some point, I was given something to eat. When I was told the surgeons name who we were waiting for, it rang a bell. I didn’t know him personally but hubby did (from my church!) So, I told the nurse to page him again and to specifically mention my name. Sometimes it really is “who you know”! The surgeon apologetically showed up soon after. More tests were ordered and it was decided my gall bladder needed to come out. BUT because someone had given me something to eat, we needed to wait till morning. It was a very long night.

The doc determined he could probably go at it with laparoscopy which relieved me as I had experienced that with my previous surgery. I knew I’d be home in a day or two.

As it turned out, yes it was done laparoscopically but I did not go home anytime soon.

I still had major pain and more tests were ordered.kidney 2

The ER we went to was picked because my doctor was connected to that hospital. However, I found out she did not make hospital calls. She had a co-worker do that. One who I had never met. AND my surgeon went on a scheduled vacation the very next day after surgery. His partner was now on duty.

AND they disagreed. One thought I had developed pneumonia. The other said no.
I was in the hospital for SIX days!!!

I went home still in pain and was to see the original surgeon in 10 days. That dang pain finally subsided by then. We never really knew the cause.
That was twelve years ago – still way too vivid in my memory.

At least it’s always a good reason for new pjs and a bathrobe! 😊

Up next? er Out next?

A kidney.

Prayers greatly appreciated.

To be continued . . .

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

THREE WEEKS

In the last three weeks, I’ve experienced one ER visit, one CT scan, one Ultrasound, one MRI, one EKG, one Echo cardiogram, one primary physician, one OB/GYN, one ER physician, two radiologists, two surgeons, two pee-in-a-cup experiences, two hospitals, a few blood tests, and many, many hours of lost sleep.

Let me explain:   emergency

It all began with a late night visit to the ER with a bad pain in my abdomen. Hence the ER doctor who ordered a CT scan. It showed my problem which corrected itself. However, the CT scan also showed an issue with an ovary and both kidneys. I was referred back to my primary physician who ordered the Ultrasound and MRI. Because of my claustrophobia problem, it took three calls to locate an “open” MRI. I still popped a Xanax. 🙂

When I showed up for my ultrasound (the kind where you are required to drink about a million gallons of water prior), I was told they had no record of my appointment. Suffice it to say, they “fit me in.” I must have had my angry face on. CT Scan

After reviewing the MRI film, my doctor announced I’d be losing a kidney! She sent me to a surgeon. The surgeon disagreed with the MRI report and basically poo-pooed surgery. With strong encouragement from my family, I sought another opinion. The second surgeon at another hospital looked at the film and said, yes, there would be surgery. We set a date.

Meanwhile, after the ultrasound, I visited a OB/GYN who declared we’d recheck the ovary in six months, since I had the kidney thing going on. I was relieved to cross that off the list.

The last item to check off was an Echocardiogram.

As I planned for surgery and told my friends and family, I tried to consider all that needed to be done. My emotions were all over the place.

Yesterday, three weeks to the day from the ER visit, the second surgeon called. He said his radiologist took a look at the MRI film and said to cancel surgery and recheck in 3 months.

So instead of having a second opinion, I had four!

Maybe I should have put them all in the same room and, when they all agreed, announce it together. Sheesh!!!slippers

My brain is exhausted.

At least I didn’t get around to buying a new pair of pajamas!

Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:18