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minus one kidney…

by | Aug 22, 2014 | Personal Stories - Blogs

Welcome to our guest blogger section! 

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.


Male, 39yrs (Diagnosed 2010)
It all started back in early May at 4.35 one morning where I awoke with a severe pain in my groin area. It must have been bad, as I let my wife drive me to the A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. Upon arrival at casualty I was sent straight through to the treatment area, by this time grey in colour and sweating. Only to sit on the bed in the treatment area and for the pain to completely subside, and to this day I have had no pain like it. The rest of the day was scans, tests, x rays, and many hours waiting around in Urology.
Initially the consultant thought it might have been kidney stones, which couldn’t be seen for certain, as there appeared to be a large object blocking the view of the kidney, initially it was suggested that my bowels may have been full. Which based upon a number of peoples opinion of me being ‘full of crap’, could have been a valid argument.
However, I left the hospital that evening no pain, no further understanding of what the pain was, but the assurance that further investigation would be made. Another Xray proved inconclusive, a further CT scan was to be booked, so we disappeared on Holiday for a couple of weeks.
When we returned I had a that CT appointment and Consultant appointment on the door mat, both of which I had missed. I got straight on the phone to book them both in and a replacement appointment for the 30th July 2010 to discuss the results.
To say it hadn’t been playing on my mind for the holiday, would have been wrong, the conclusion my wife and I drew was that it was C$%^%$ as they had ruled everything else out, but the unknown was the severity of it.
Anyhow, on the way to the hospital on the 30th, I said to Sue, if there are 3 people in the room – its cancer (you’ve seen it on the TV shows, Consultant, their side kick and the nurse in case you burst into tears).
Upon arrival, there were, you guessed it, 3 people in the room !
After initial good mornings, my burning questions were discussed.
Is it serious ? – YES
Is it Cancer ? – YES
When can you get it out and when can I go back to work ? Which I didn’t get an answer to! Further information followed which I wasn’t really listening to if I am honest, it all became a blur after the 2nd Yes. So I went home, told the kids what we’d been told, told them it was nothing to worry about and promptly decided to go back to Norwich to watch Toy Story at the cinema, to this day I still couldn’t tell you a thing about the movie, can’t even remember being there watching it!
I was booked in to have a complete nephrectomy within a fortnight. Got to hospital at 7.30 in the morning ready for pre op etc, and finally landed on the ward early evening, with another burning question – Can I have some toast please?– NO was the reply, I was starving!
However, after coming around after the op one thing was for sure, I was getting to drive an Aston Martin DBS, Sue an Audi R8 and the kids were driving Lamborghini, R8 and the Aston also, you see, I had to book something in the future to make sure the op went well, and the poor nurse was greeted when I can around with ‘Great I get to drive a DBS’, not sure if her son actually got the track day she was very interested about after my explanation but I hope so.
I left the hospital, minus one kidney 48 hours later, apparently veering to the left as I walked, due to my left side being slightly heavier than my right now was ;-), to take up residence at home for 8 weeks recovering from the operation.
By the time I left hospital I was told that it was confirmed as stage 3 renal cell carcinoma – Stage 3 Kidney C%^%$£ in simple terms. Part of my own process of coming to terms with it was that I wanted to see the kidney etc once it had been taken out – No was the reply.
The most painful thing about the 6-8 weeks stuck at home was Jeremy Kyle, dozens of people wallowing in their own self-pity because their partner had cheated, they felt too fat, etc the list goes on, so that was something I was not going to do. However despite all the positivity around the disease from me, and a massive amount of support from my Wife and Mother in Law! (She is now on her 3rd lot of cancer!! And still fighting it) There has always appeared to be on the horizon a ‘life’ fence across my path, a fence that wasn’t in site prior to the diagnosis, it’s almost like it’s been brought into view, it can be pushed away, but, it’s there and it aint going to be as far away down that life path as it used to be.
During the next few weeks, I was offered the opportunity of going onto a kidney c$%^%$ drugs trial, YES was the reply, and I was promptly given my little white bottles with 4 pills a day to take, this went on for 3 years, but despite not knowing whether I was on the trial drug or a placebo, the feeling from doing something positive was enough to continue to stick two fingers up at C$%^&%, and along with my glass of milk and Turmeric – a ‘wonder cure’ from an Indian friend of mine in North London whom had sworn by his opinion that it helped him with his cancer of the spine, I really felt that it could be beaten.
So far 4 years on to the day I was told I had it, I am still fighting it, having given up wheat and lost over a stone and a half, reduced sugar intake significantly, and generally living life a bit healthier. All blood tests remain clear of further sign, as do chest Xrays etc. The fence is still there, but not so visible at the moment.
The biggest part of my experience with KC is playing down the severity of it and NOT wanting peoples sympathy. To this day I still feel for the people on Chemo and, Radiotherapy that are sitting waiting for their appointments. My own personal issue is that despite having C%^$£$ in common with these guys I don’t seem to have suffered enough with the effects of cancer that these people continue to.
I’ve been to 4 funerals since my diagnosis 4 years ago, 3 of them having had c$%^$£ of some form or another.
I don’t intend on going to my own any time soon, just need to keep moving the fence backwards down the path.

<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.