Thursday, May 03, 2007
What the flip?
On April 23, I went into the ER for the second time in a week, with severe abdominal pain. None of the things the ER, Urgent Care, of my primary care doctor had told me to do were working to resolve the bowel obstruction they told me I had. So, on April 23, they thought they would do a CT scan to see what might be going on.
By the time they got around to doing the CT scan, I had been in the ER for three or four hours. Harold...my poor, dear Harold...had been enduring my ever-increasing crabbiness and irritability with each moment that passed. We waited in the quasi-room they had put me in, and I tried to sleep while he watched TV. I was just waiting for them to come in and tell me the obstruction was still there, they were going to admit me so they could get it taken care of, and I could go home in a day or two.
We waited. And waited. Finally, the doctor came back in, and without mincing any words said, "We have found a mass on your kidney that is causing us great concern. We are going to admit you tonight. They will do another ct scan in the morning and the urologist will look at it to determine what it might be. This has nothing to do with why you are feeling so much abdominal pain. We just happened to find it because we did this cat scan..."
The news came as a surprise, but I put the fears of the worst out of my head. I called my mom to tell her I was being admitted into the hospital, called my employer to tell them I would not be at work, and just waited to be put into a room. Harold left to get a few things from my apartment, and I'm sure was glad for the reprieve from my "Don't touch me!" attitude. I waited in the ER for another hour or so, until they finally put me into a room.
I slept well the first night, being so exhausted from enduring a week of horrible pain. I was glad that things were finally going to be resolved, and I could get back into life again.
The next morning, after my second CT, the doctor came in and said that the mass on my kidney looked to be cancerous. I don't rememeber all of what was said or what happened over the next few days. I only remember that the doctors determined that the kidney needed to be completely removed. The location of the mass on my kidney would not allow them to simply remove the cancer. The whole kidney would have to come out.
Typically, this is something that would be scheduled into the normal surgical shedule, and I would have to wait about three weeks for the surgery. I did not want to wait. Once you know you've got cancer in your body, you just want it out. Fortunately, the surgeon who did my gastric bypass surgery was very concerned about the symptoms associated with my abdominal pain, and decided he would like to do some exploratory surgery ASAP, and they could take my kidney at the same time. My surgery was scheduled to take place within three days of the decision to take it out.
Friday, I underwent major surgery, and had an internal hernia repaired and my kidney removed. As it turned out, my small bowel had pushed its way through my hernia and twisted itself 180 degrees. If it were not for that, I would never have gone to the ER and had the CT done, and they would have never found the cancer.
The doctor mentioned several times that it was a wonderful irony that I had the abdominal pain. The type of cancer I had is the type that typically goes undetected until it is much too late. Because of the CT scan done to find out why I had such a tummy ache, they found it early. They believe that the surgery was also the cure, and I will not need further treatment for the cancer. The pathology report is not in yet, but I am believing for the best.
That is the bare bones of what happened. As far as the psychological impact goes, I will write about that later. There is too much to write, and I am too tired. It is a lot to take in.
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