My pathology report and I made our way to the doctor's office yesterday for my post-surgical appointment. Shel would have come too, but well ... he was in the van with the babies. THE BABIES!!! (if case you wonder, I am still in shock ... but back to cancer)
So, my tumor was clear cell carcinoma, that we already knew. The "Furhman Grade" was also higher than I expected and as such it has caused me some stress. This means it was a more aggressive form of cancer than we (ok I) had anticipated.
However, the tumor was also tiny, and well positioned. The actual tumor had a diameter of 1 cm and was resting on the edge of my kidney. Instead of losing a large percentage of my kidney as was expected, I lost only about 8%. The function of my kidney (or at least the cleanliness of my blood) has not been affected. All pathology of all other areas (lymph nodes, renal capsule, vessels, ureter, hilum and adrenal gland, pelvis, and fat tissue surrounding kidney) came back clear.
The tumor is considered fully encapsulated. As the doctor explained to me yesterday, it doesn't matter what kind of horses you have in the corral as long as they can't get out to wreck the fields (you can tell I live in ranch country?). In English that means my cancer was there, but was small enough to still be held in by the capsule around it. The doctor said I got the jackpot of cancers. Oh goody?!?
The final word came through as far as follow up as well. I will not have to see an oncologist again, instead I will have CT scans twice a year for the next little while, and yearly ultra sounds and blood work the rest of my life. Officially, according to the doctors, I am now a NED (No Evidence of Disease). All good news.
Emotionally? Its a different ball game. I want to know what I did to CAUSE this. I want to know what I can do to PREVENT this. I have never smoked. Ever, not once. And still I get a smoker's cancer? I am relatively healthy and in good shape. I get an cancer correlated with obesity? I logically know there is NO reason, or at least no reason I will ever KNOW as to why I got this cancer; that even if I had smoked that doesn't mean THATS the reason this cancer started.
The doctor called this "Health Confidence". He said it will return in a couple years of living well. I wonder if that's so? I wonder if I want to even forget how fragile life truly is? If I live to 86, I now understand that its NOT given. I want to appreciate old age because I hope I never forget how close I came to not seeing it.