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Hello, my name is Scott, I live in a seaside town on the east coast of Yorkshire.
My kidney cancer journey began on the 18th of February 2014.
After suffering chronic pain under my ribs on my right side, which penetrated through into my back, I had no option but to make an appointment at my GP surgery. I explained my symptoms to my GP and he suspected a gallstone as the problem. He prescribed medication to settle my gall bladder and said if the symptoms persisted, I should return to see him. They never eased so I went back and he referred me for an ultrasound scan to find the problem. Two weeks later I went for the scan and the doctor explained what he was looking for and reassured me that no stone would be left unturned. Once the scan was complete, the doctor told me I had a gallstone in my gallbladder, a small kidney stone in my right kidney and then hit me with the news that I had a growth on my left kidney! He referred me to another hospital to have a ‘CT scan with contrast’ and contacted my GP that day.
I was knocked for six, wondering how I was going to tell my wife and children this news. I drove home in a state of shock; but safely I may add! I broke the news to my wife and we decided not to tell our two daughters until we had more facts. The next morning the phone rang before 8am, it was my GP’s surgery asking me to go in to see my doctor urgently. So, off we went. My wife and I were asked what we had been told by the doctor who did the ultrasound scan? I told her what I had been told that there was something on my left kidney. She said she was referring me to one of the best cancer care hospitals, Castle Hill Cottingham and that I was on the ‘Gold Seal System’ ensuring I would see a kidney cancer specialist within two weeks.
Sure enough, I got an appointment to see a Mr Andrew Myatt within the allotted time who told me it was most probable I would need to have my left kidney removed. I would still need to have a CT scan before the surgery that he would arrange for me asap. I received the date and a follow up appointment in the surgeon’s clinic the week after the scan.
Then, the surgeon’s secretary called asking me to attend the clinic earlier than my appointed date. As you can imagine I started to panic, wondering why I had been called in earlier. I thought the cancer must have spread to other areas and that’s what they want to tell me. My wife and I went to the appointment with the surgeon and were relieved to be told that after looking at the scan results he had decided to attempt to remove just the growth, and not my whole kidney. He warned me that there were risks and that if the need arose during surgery he would remove the whole kidney. He went on to explain what would happen when I was admitted into hospital, the high risks of bleeding during the operation and how long I should expect to stay in hospital.
We got an admittance date of April 12 2014, ironically our 20th wedding Anniversary, but two days before the hospital called to say they had re scheduled to 14th April 2014 though I went in the night before so that they could give me an injection to thin my blood prior to the surgery. April 14th dawned and I was taken down to theatre first because I am diabetic. I was in theatre for five hours and had the tumour removed by, to use the correct term ‘partial laparoscopic nephrectomy surgery’. I awoke to find my wife and two young daughters sat the side of my bed which was lovely.
My stay in hospital proved to be longer than expected as I developed a chest infection after the anaesthetic but finally got home six nights later.
Six weeks later, I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon who explained the surgery went well, he had excised the whole tumour successfully and the tumour had not metastasised, but it was a stage further on that was originally thought but I wouldn’t need any follow up treatment. This was a huge relief to all the family.
I‘ve had two further CT scans post-surgery and for the next four years I will be treated as a cancer patient until all scans, for five years after surgery, come back clear.
My family and I went through sheer hell for a few months and had to cancel our booked holiday, but my life was far more important than a holiday in the sun. I found it really helped me to talk about what we were all going through and it made me feel a lot more positive about my future. I hope my experience can help others to come to terms who receive the same news.
Be strong stay positive and talk about it. I was determined it was not going to beat me.
I am a very happy 43-year-old man.