Four years ago in June a partial nephrectomy was performed on my right kidney, lower pole, at Aurora Medical Center, Lombardi Cancer Treatment Center, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Three months prior to this I had been followed by my Rheumatologist with routine lab, next sent on to my Internal Medicine Physician for more routine lab, because my Eosinophil level was increasing. The following definition is what I found on my initial internet search:
E How.com posts the following definition of what an Eosinophil is: “Allergic disorders, inflammation of the skin and parasitic infections are fought off by Eosinophils, types of white blood cells that exist in your body, according to Medline Plus. According to the Merck Online Medical Library, “In the U.S., allergic or atopic diseases are the most common causes; the most common conditions are respiratory and skin diseases” of Eosinophilia.”
OK. That told me that I had an allergy or Ugh, worms! Allergy tests, stool samples, more blood, and even higher than before eosinophil levels led me to a hematologist/oncologist for a “routine” follow-up. Now, what could be routine about a hematologist/oncologist visit, right?
Putting off the dreaded bone marrow test, we scheduled everything else that could possibly be done to a human body. Thank Gosh (!); on the CT of my abdomen the physician noted a mass on my kidney. (Ok, the ‘Thank Gosh’ comment is strange, but compared to the dreaded bone marrow test, a mass on my kidney seemed like it was a good thing). Referral to the urologist was the next step. Put yourself in a new office with an unknown staff and unknown physician being told you have to be catheterized and have an internal examination to check the status of your bladder. What fun.
Let’s take a side trip here to the urologist. Enter someone that looks like a Chicago Bears line-backer. A real go-getter he simply reeked of confidence and energy. I was in love. Of course age-wise he could be my son, but hay, this man was going to save my life, I was in love!
Telescopically, and with a second set of surgical hands to assist in the event of an uncontrolled bleed, we had surgery on June 9, 2008. My scheduled 3 hour surgery took 5 l/2 because of an old adhesion history.
One week later, to the day, I bought a Harley. 2008 Road Glide. It’s a beauty and helping to build many memories for me and my better half. (I can’t drive it, but he sure can!)
Four years later I am still faced with the month-before-testing jitters. Never sure if there will be a return in kidney, lung, or bone, — just about anywhere. Kidney cancer is slow growing cancer, but slow or not the thought is never out of my mind.
Four years later I am here to step up and say, “Cancer does define who I am”. I am a “Cancer Survivor”; a member of that elite club that so far has triumphed over the dreaded disease. Many before me have passed on while helping pave the way for men an women alike to learn to be strong and face whatever the God’s hand out. Many before me have stepped up to be guinea pigs so survivors like me can take new medications and understand side effects and survival statistics.
Since my story began four years go I have lost a few friends to various types of cancer, breast cancer seems to be the most prevalent. I miss each of them dearly. A few more of my friends have had cancer, breast, lung and brain, and, like me, still live strong. Several have bought new cars shortly after surgery, some went on huge trips, and all are now a member of that elite club. We are cancer survivors.
I am defined by my cancer survivor-ship,–and I own a Harley to prove it!