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You are not alone.

by | Jul 30, 2014 | Personal Stories - Blogs

Welcome to our guest blogger section! We hope you find this feature very helpful.

We are still looking for people who would like to share their kidney cancer experience with others. If you want to send us your story please email Sylwia here


My journey with Kidney Cancer I have found in some aspects to be unique. Six months after I graduated from college, I had a massive amount of blood in my urine. Very concerned, I went to the ER. I was 23 years old and uninsured. The hospital staff did a urinalysis and decided that I had urinary tract infection (UTI). I was prescribed antibiotics and went home. It wasn’t until 14 months later where I would start to notice something really wasn’t right. I got a fever Christmas night and never really recovered. The next 9 months I went from one doctor to the next. Each time I was diagnosed with just another UTI. I was losing weight rapidly. I was cold all the time. I couldn’t keep any food down. Even the smallest physical exertion exhausted me and made me vomit. I struggled being a recent graduate to hold onto my jobs and pay my bills. Finally I moved home and my mother made me go to the ER. I knew they couldn’t do anything for me but was too tired to argue.
I’ll be forever grateful for that push by my mother. This ER finally suggested I get a CAT scan and that was that. The doctor came and told me, there on my mother’s birthday, that I had kidney cancer. He didn’t need any further tests to know but of course wanted to be extra positive and ordered a biopsy. My tumor was so large that it had wrapped 75% of the way around my aorta. My oncologist wanted me to go on chemotherapy to back it off before moving forward with surgery. He and my surgeon had never seen anything like it. Test results came in and we found that the cancer had spread to surrounding lymph nodes. I was stage 4 at just 25 years of age. I did chemo for 5 months before they decided it wasn’t doing anything and would go forward with surgery. It was extremely risky. March 2, 2011 I had a 9 hour complete nephrectomy. Thankfully it was a success. It took me about a month in bed to recover because it was so intense.
Having gone through this experience at such a young age, there was no one for me to talk to about my experience. It was extremely lonely. My best friend had even abandoned me during it all. In the years since my diagnosis and recovery, I have gone on to further my education. I am now in graduate school studying counseling. I plan to work exclusively with cancer patients/survivors and their friends and families who need counseling services. I hope through my experience I can bring something unique as a counselor and help others not feel quite as alone as I did through treatment.

<a href="" target="_self">Malcolm Packer</a>

Malcolm Packer

Malcolm is Chief Executive Officer at Kidney Cancer UK and Kidney Cancer Scotland and has worked with the charity in various capacities for over 15 years.