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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fuck Cancer...

                    Ok... Breathe... Annnnd, go!

So over the past couple of weeks I have been in and out of various medical facilities getting poked, prodded and pummelled by x-rays, ultrasounds, ct scans and the like.

On Friday, March 1st, I got my official results from my urologist and I have a very controllable form of renal cell carcinoma (aka. kidney cancer.) I have a 1.9 by 2.2 inch solid malignant tumor in my upper right kidney. I go in for a radical nephrectomy (full kidney removal) on April 2nd.

Fast. Track. Time. Bitches.

See the bow? Yeah, right there. That's roughly where my tumor is.
Also please note, image courtesy of (nsfw)

I post not for sympathy but explanation, if I seem loopy and or depressed I am very overwhelmed and frustrated at times. My surgeon told me "you have cancer, I'm going to get it out of you" and very little else... While he is a spectacular surgeon, I am the type of person that can handle and requires all I formation possible to know what's going down in kidney town. I found this website from the kidney cancer society.

I am having an open, partial to full nephrectomy depending on how large my tumor is, and if it has effected my adrenal gland. The website explains effectively and in a matter of fact manner what I should expect or hope for in my surgery. It is the best resource I have found.

I could potentially have to have a few ribs, surrounding adipose fat, kidney and adrenal gland removed (depending on metastasis) but my doctor estimates I am between stage 1 and possibly stage 2. I have approximately 25 days until I go under the knife.

Compounded with my normal anxiety problems hearing a doctor tell me "you have cancer" is hard. I'm taking Ativan in small doses during the day to manage my panic/anxiety and am usually able to wave off the "Holy fuck!!!" Factor pretty well but I falter sometimes. Over the last 2 weeks I have managed to deal with my panic and anxiety naturally for the most part.

Entertainingly enough, my inner freak out/panic voice sounds very much like the Chicken lady from Kids In The Hall skits. I do a minor amount of navel gazing which is permissible, no one is happy 100% of the time... But, I am doing my best.

I have moderate discomfort usually when trying to sleep, where my back aches and twinges on my right side below my shoulder blade, and my ribs ache, sometimes quite badly. It is getting steadily worse and definitely affecting my sleep patterns. Once I out I am OUT, but it takes several hours to get to that point.

90% of the time so far I have been OK., since I know I am one of the lucky few that has a fairly controllable and curable form of cancer; (barring metastasis) but it is still cancer, and I have never had major surgery in my lifetime.

I'm more nervous about the surgery than the cancer since I know it's not metastasised outside of my kidney. Life is going to be full of huge change in a relatively short period of time and I am flexible, but not quite that quickly, lol!

I am coming to terms with the fact that I more than likely will not be having another baby, which sent me into a sadness funk for a few days and I am still getting over that hump. I've been saving my sons baby clothes and crib, stroller, etc., anticipating having a sibling for him, but given my husbands age and how I recover from my surgery and potentially after treatment if required (chemotherapy, radiation therapy...) and the year it will take for my body to recuperate from major abdominal surgery... It doesn't look like baby #2 is going to happen. So now I have all this baby shit cluttering up my storage areas, and a sad spot in my soul knowing that my sweet young man will never be my wee baby again. Oh well. He is wonderful and at least I have him.

Anyway, that's the scoop, peeps. Pretty heavy, no?

Also it should be stated as loudly from the rooftops as possible, "Fuck you cancer, you won't get the best of me!"


  1. Hiya-- I'm Sarah, a friend of Jerilyn's living in Houston. I scared the bejeebus out of Jer in 2011 when I got my diagnosis. (Cervical Cancer, Stage 1b1, node positive-- you'll learn all sorts of medical crap in the coming months--I had a hysterectomy, chemo, and radiation.) I'm sorry you've been thrust into the cancer club, but I can tell you that it's full of people who are willing to listen, offer advice, or commiserate with you through treatment and afterwards.

    So here's the thing. Your life will never be the same, as you've got a whole new set of anniversary dates that you won't be able to forget without a lobotomy: Diagnosis date, surgery date, post-surgery treatment dates (which I hope you don't get), and finally, NED date. (No Evidence of Disease. All club members love NED. We are all in an open relationship with NED and pass him around like he's a never-empty candy bowl. We want NED to be the sluttiest slut that ever slutted up the OK Cancer Corral. We encourage it-- "GO NED! GO! Bob needs you!") I refer to my life as BC/AC (Before Cancer, After Cancer) but I've heard people use Diagnosis as well, so BD/AD.

    Here's another thing: man, you're gonna get perspective like whoa. It takes a while to hit, and it hits generally after your treatments (again, hoping you just have to have surgery) are over and you're trying to slip back into "normal" life. I'm a year and a few months out from my NED and it's still hitting me in various ways. And it's not a bad thing most of the time. The cancer part sucks balls, yeah. But once I came to terms with the fact that my "normal" would have to change and I could set a new normal, it got easier.

    I could write a novel in here but it's probably better to email if you'd like. My email is Sarahnoid/gmail and I'm willing to give you the dirt on anything I possibly can. We don't have the same kind, but there's a kindred thread with the C word. Do you have a close (proximity) support base?

    If you want to talk, vent, chat, be scared, cry, yell, or come up with really creative expletives about cancer, I'm available. I work in tax so right now is rather ...uh... taxing (heh) so my replies may not be immediate, but I *WILL* reply. I also recommend you sign up on and enter your info to see if you can hook up with anyone who has your type and has already gone through treatment. I met a gal the day before my surgery who had gone through everything I was about to and she was invaluable to me. We're still very close.

    It won't be a walk in the park, but it's doable. And if you need a friend, I'm here for ya. :-)

  2. Well Lindsey, I am Ms. Pants' mom and I was on this journey with her (still am - I consider myself the lucky charm) (altho' I am occasionally the loud bitch that's demanding something my daughter needs). Both of us will be here for you as you go through this and I hope you have somebody right there that can through this every day with you, too (luckily I had retired early) - somebody who loves you, who treasures you, who can laugh with and at you, and somebody who's in your corner all the time. This is not a solo journey but lean on your husband and little boy - you'd be surprised how strong they are!

    I will tell you that when a doctor tells you that you "have a very controllable form of renal cell carcinoma", he's telling you a good thing. An extremely good thing. They don't tell you positive stuff like this unless they really believe it and really mean it. Have that phrase tattooed on your forehead in mirror writing and read it to yourself eleventy seven times a day. I have an inordinate knowledge of urology from childhood on so I get everything you've repeated and I could also tell you several stories about kidney cancer among my personal friends. They received great treatment (including your surgery) and are NED now. You will be, too. Concentrate on getting over your surgery cuz it's exhausting but you have youth and your doctor on your side and you really can't do much better than that.

    I'm here ( as a mama to you anytime you need some perspective, some appropriate four letter words, or a hug. Or all three at the same time. You're gonna come out of this just fine.