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The Best News Ever

Yesterday I had my appointment with the consultant at Burton (after turning up  to the wrong hospital last week…) Finally I would be able to discuss my latest scan results and hear an experts opinion on how my care should proceed. When I met the consultant she told me that my scan images had finally arrived from Heartlands which has caused the initial hold up with my appointment. I could see the images for myself on the screen, for the first time. The consultant explained that my case had been discussed at an MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) meeting where it was agreed that the cancer had been completely removed and no other abnormalities seen. She then went on to explain that as the cancer was a low grade – good cancer, if there can be such a thing – this was also good news as that meant there was far less chance of it returning. Taking all of this into account together with the fact that I was making a good recovery it was therefore decided that I would be able to continue my care with my GP. At 11 months post cancer diagnosis (to the day) I was going to be signed off. This was the most amazing news for me and I couldn’t thank her enough. There were still questions I needed answering, the issue of ongoing back pain being one of them. However, being able to see the images for myself and having things explained to me in detail left me in no doubt that whatever was causing the pain was not cancer. Furthermore it wasn’t related to my remaining kidney – one that I intend to look after and keep. For this reason I agreed that should the back pain persist I could take things up with my GP who has already been excellent and I have total faith in. I did ask about the scarring and numbness/pain surrounding the area and this as expected is down to probable nerve damage and of course is still healing. This seems to be a common complaint with nephrectomy patients and one which often doesn’t appear to leave completely. I can only hope that it improves over time and would rather put up with that than what lay beneath. I mentioned exercising as my tummy is still a bit bloated and the scarring is not pleasant and the consultant said that there’s no reason why not as long as I’m careful. I questioned whether in her opinion the consultant thought the back pain could have been due to surgery or possible lack of aftercare – which if you read from the start of this blog will become clear. This was a question that I didn’t expect to be answered and it wasn’t as there’s no way of knowing, I suppose I’ll never know. However, it evident that my consultant at Heartlands had still not forwarded notes which I presume include surgery detail and this is a cause for annoyance. All I wanted from day one was to know what was happening to me. Not having the facts or being able to find out results simply added to the uncertainty and fear that cancer brought with it. In less than 3 months, since changing hospital trust, I have been given those facts in a clear and concise way and moreover I have been spoken to as a person rather than a patient. This has empowered me rather than leave me feeling helpless. Now, on hearing that less than 12months into my cancer journey I am being discharged I am extremely proud and happy. Most of all I am thankful, I’m one of the lucky ones. I had a final question for the consultant, this was concerning the possibility of hereditary kidney cancer as discussed in recent studies looking particularly at women with the disease under the age of 45. I have been curious as my Dad had problems with his kidneys but unfortunately died young of a heart attack. As I have 2 daughters though it is a concern I wanted to ask about. The consultant couldn’t discuss in detail but said that this was unlikely in my case and that she had a booklet with further information in I could read, I may have already had one…

Believe it or not, I didn’t but here I was 11 months on, the day I was being discharged, receiving a booklet about kidney cancer. I also received another hug from my new, soon to be ex consultant. Much as I would have loved to see her again I was very glad this was my final appointment. This won’t be my final post as I do intend to update on how my recovery continues and will look forward to a celebratory 12months post kidney cancer blog on March 13th. Thank You again to the James Whale Kidney Cancer Fund for the help and support given during my illness. I would urge anyone going through similar or supporting a kidney cancer patient to get in touch. Thank You X


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