10 days between diagnosis and operation to then 8 days later signing up to the Jurassic Coast Challenge!
Determined and focused kidney cancer patient, Emma Riddell, a week after her operation has decided to pull together friends and family to take on the Jurassic Coast Challenge in May, and has been blown away by the level of support through sponsorship. With a positive attitude, you can go a long way and Emma certainly has that. Be inspired by Emma’s story and sign up too!
Emma’s story starts here..
‘I can’t begin to tell you how weird and surreal I have found this, it’s difficult phrasing “I have Kidney Cancer”, well I did until 18th January 2020, weird and surreal are words I use frequently. I can’t explain it, or how I feel but I do know that I haven’t come to terms with it yet and feel as though I am waiting for it to hit me.
Now those of you that know me, know I love detail so you’re getting the story of how I came to get this diagnosis….if you don’t fancy this bit then don’t worry, you don’t have to read it….just skip to the donate button! BUT before you skip, never be afraid or put off seeing your GP about something that is reoccurring or you are worried about, I genuinely believe my GP saved my life, my Cancer was picked up early and I will be forever grateful 💚
Rollback the clock to November 2019, another phone call appointment with the Doctor to say I had a UTI and needed antibiotics. I happened to mention that this was at least the 6th infection that year and that I really did need to come and see someone about them. I count my lucky stars and do wonder if things could have been very different if I hadn’t got that GP that day. I was given antibiotics but also referred for an ultrasound of my bladder and kidneys, just to check everything was ok.
Two weeks later I had my first ultrasound, not that anything was said to me during the appointment but I knew something was a bit wonky with the left kidney as both times I was scanned he spent a very long time on the left-hand side. A phone call from my GP a week later advised that I had a cystic area on my kidney, they didn’t suspect it to be sinister but they wanted it checking sooner so I was referred to Urologists under a 2 Week Wait referral….so very grateful to my GP, don’t worry I have thanked her.
Another 2 weeks went by and I had another ultrasound at the hospital (didn’t actually need a second scan but …), this appointment confirmed a lump and I was then referred for a CT scan.
It was probably another 2 weeks before the CT scan, I cannot begin to tell you how I felt waiting for those results. I had one day where I just cried, the thought of not knowing what is going on in your body is horrendous, the thought of not knowing if you have cancer and if you do has it spread, it was just awful and time seemed to move so slowly. We received the results, confirmation of a 3.9cm lump slap bang in the middle of my left kidney. It was at the this appointment the consultant told me the UTIs weren’t related, I’ve not had an infection since….things could have turned out so very differently. There was a 50/50 chance that this could be Cancer and I needed a biopsy to tell. It was at this point we decided to let some family and friends know, it was such a relief sharing the news and gaining the much needed support.
Biopsy day happened to fall on NYE, you know we always have a massive fancy dress party and I was determined that I was not cancelling. I was in the hospital all day (had to lie flat for 4 hours after the procedure), we got home just after 5, the party went ahead and our amazing friends rallied round, I did not lift a finger but just sat on my sober butt taking in everyone’s not sober antics ….
2 working days after the biopsy I got a phone call to come in for an appointment on Wednesday 8th January. I went into that appointment prepared for bad news. My lucky Batman pants that I wore to every appointment (caused much laughter at the biopsy appointment) turned out not to be so lucky after all.
Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma, was the diagnosis. It’s a rarer kidney Cancer, being female and young (stop laughing) is also rare. When you look at the statistics it’s fascinating, more male than female and ages 60-70, I do not fall into the typical stats and wonder if this could this have rumbled on for years growing until some symptoms did start to show. I know I shouldn’t dwell on this but it’s difficult not to wonder “what if”. The only symptoms I would say I had was back pain which felt like it was inside and my kidney but it wasn’t all the time and certainly not something I would have gone to the GP about.
The treatment was a radical nephrectomy because of where the tumour was. To be honest, I was happier with this treatment, I didn’t want the risk of anything being left behind to fester and grow if they only did a partial nephrectomy. They expected it to be done between mid to end of January.
The operation actually happened 10 days later on January 18th, 62 days after my initial referral by my GP.
It hasn’t been easy, it’s painful and tiring but I am glad it’s done. I am awaiting the results as I have no idea as to the grade of Cancer I had and what pathway of follow-ups and any possible treatments may come.
In this time I have found Kidney Cancer UK a massive support, from their literature online to the patient support group page on FB and I want to give something back and do something positive out of this diagnosis.
On May 16th a group of us “Team Riddell”…(not very original but we couldn’t come up with something hilarious to agree on) will be taking part in the Jurassic Coast Challenge. Now I have had to be realistic, whilst I would love to stomp the full 100km it’s just not going to happen and I have signed up for the 25km route. At the moment distance doesn’t matter, I can raise awareness & badger the hell out of you all to donate money (don’t forget your gift aid !).
So do your stuff, donate and show your support.
Love Em 💚’
You can read updates on Emma’s progress as she adds to her Justgiving page by CLICKING HERE
Keep going Emma, you can do this! We would like to say a big thank you to Emma and ‘Team Riddell’ for choosing to support us, and good luck on the big day!
For more information about the Jurassic Coast Challenge click here, why not join us?