In late September 2011 at age 35, I encountered a major life changing event – the big C. It was stage 1 Kidney Cancer (renal cell carcinoma). In a period of one day, I went from feeling perfectly fine, to ending up in the hospital being told there is something on my kidney. Absolutely surreal. In the next several days, I saw many doctors and had quite a few diagnostic scans. I had a 4cm tumor consistent with malignancy and biopsy wasn’t a choice since that often does more harm than good in your kidney.
On Halloween (kind of weird), I had a partial nephrectomy; ~25% of my left kidney was removed. I had a surgeon at Johns Hopkins who is considered one of the best. He completed the surgery using a minimally invasive robotic laparoscopic technique – 5 holes but who is counting?. When I think back it makes me laugh that they considered it minimally invasive. It wasn’t pleasant but when the choice is do nothing and eventually die or have surgery, it really doesn’t matter.
Fast forward to the present – I’m cancer free and just need to keep up with periodic monitoring. That is the awesome news. The bad news – no one can ever tell you it isn’t coming back. Frankly, that has been the worst part of this ordeal. But the more time passes, the more I realize I’m the same guy with the same interests. Cancer isn’t going to define me. I have the same great friends and family, but now I appreciate things just a little bit more. I’ve just happened to experience more emotions than I’ve ever known existed.
Thanks for the support and stay tuned, I hope to post more in the upcoming months.