Monthly Archives: September 2012

My husband’s kidney cancer


For the past year, we said Ken HAD cancer. Past tense. As in, doesn’t have it anymore. In July, Ken had his three month followup visit. The blood tests looked great, and it was highly unlikely the CT scan would show anything wrong. I had a message on my phone from the oncologist, but I wasn’t feeling well, so I assumed (hoped) it was just a call saying the CT scan was good. I called a week prior because we hadn’t heard anything yet. Then, there was a message from an imaging center. 

When I saw the message icon on my phone, it took a few days for me to call. I knew it wasn’t good news. I made the appointment for an MRI for Ken, then told him what was happening.  He didn’t want to digest the information, and asked me the same questions over, and over again. I still hadn’t called the oncologist.

Once I got the courage to call the oncologist, a viscous game of phone tag began. It took over a week to find out there was a lesion on Ken’s remaining adrenal gland. Three weeks later, the office called and made an appointment. Every time I called, the nurse told me the previous and new images were sent out to be compared. Oh, and by the way the doctor is out of town. My use of anti-anxiety medications increased.

Ken was diagnosed on September 11, last year. Ken had his right kidney and left adrenal gland removed on September 29, 2011. He has kidney cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation are not effective in preventing new tumors, so the normal procedure is scanning and removing new tumors. Ken has a tumor about 3/4″ in his right adrenal gland, and a 1/3″ tumor on his liver. Not great news. The tumors are too small to remove, so he is taking chemotherapy pills in hopes of keeping the tumors from growing. Without the chemotherapy, he would have about a year to live. Gulp. It is still hard to write or say. 

He has been taking Sutent for 11 days now. So far, he is taking naps a little more often, and he’s vomited twice. His hands are itchy, and he is getting yellow. I gave him vitamin D until we see the doctor on Tuesday. It is so hard to look at my husband and think he could be gone in a year. I know we all could go at any minute, but this makes it all so real. With therapy, the oncologist says he could live 5 years or longer. I just pray he holds up well with the chemo. He is on several prayer chains and that is comforting to me. I know he is scared, and I am not sure if there is much I can do to help him. I am just trying to keep myself together.