Thursday, March 21, 2019

MY DaVinci Surgey and Recovery for Partial Nephrectomy for Kidney Cancer

First of all, I wanted to thank each and every person who has reached out to me over the past several weeks. Whether I responded back to you or not, your message did not go unread! And I felt every comment, email and text that was sent!

Many have been asking how I am recovering.

Surgery went as well as it possibly could! I was wheeled back around 2:30pm and saw my handsome husband’s face around 7pm. I was in post-op recovery for an hour and a half so the surgery took about 3 hours total. I had the DaVinci Robot surgery and I cannot tell you enough how amazing that machine is! If you ever get a chance, YouTube it. If you want a less bloody version, click my link here and you'll see an animation. Technology is incredible!

I was in the hospital a total of two nights. They originally thought I would get to go home the day after my surgery but because they had to move some organs and my diaphragm around to get to the tumor, I was having a hard time breathing in. Because of that, I couldn’t get the fluid off my lungs and so I was a slight pneumonia risk. Once I could get that spirometer breathing thing past the 500mL mark, I was set! So I was discharged on the 2nd at noon. I opted for no pain pills as well. I went from being on Morphine every six hours in the hospital to just extra strength Tylenol on discharge. It was my choice though. I am not a fan of how those opioid pain pills make me feel so I powered through the pain. I mainly slept anyway.

It took about four days total before I finally started to feel like a human again and about a week for the Morphine and General Anesthesia to completely get out of my system. By 2 weeks after surgery, I was anxious to get back to work! I took a few extra days off to enjoy feeling well and as of Tuesday the 19th, I've been back to work pretty much full-time. Depending on what all I did the day before is how I feel the next day. I have better days than others and occasionally still get stiff and sore but for the most part, I am thrilled with my recovery!

I received the pathology report a couple of weeks after the surgery and I guess I’m still in the air on how I feel about the results.

I had Stage I, Grade II Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Originally the tumor was thought to be 2.5cm but upon removal, it was 1.9cm. So that’s good. It was smaller that originally thought.
However, I did not necessarily get clear margins.
When my surgeon removed my tumor, he also removed extra tissue (which is what they usually do). When he cauterized the tumor, he burned through a piece of it and into the healthy tissue. Therefore, the people that did the biopsy cannot fully say I have negative (or clear) margins. My pathology report says: “Parenchymal margin focally positive for tumor”.

It’s hard to shout out that I’m Cancer Free when my pathology report shows otherwise. My surgeon/Urologist says I’m cured. So those are the words I’m hanging on to. When the surgeon excised the tumor, it more than likely killed off the small amount of cancer at that time.

Regardless, Kidney Cancer is a very slow growing cancer. I’ll be monitored every six months for the next several years and then every year after that for probably the rest of my life. If anything should come up on one of these scans, I can immediately be treated. So that’s a reassuring thought as well.

My takeaway on the whole thing is…
My Faith is stronger than my Fear. When I feel like I can no longer stand or steer anymore, God is a great pilot.

A completely healthy person who received NEGATIVE or CLEAR margins can have cancer reoccur.  While someone, like myself, who didn’t get such good results, and who possibly still has cancer cells in the body, may never get cancer again.

It’s whatever hand we’re dealt. And we just have to play the hell out of that hand until it’s time to fold. And I'm not a folder.

Thank you again for all of your thoughts, prayers and support. I appreciate it more than you know!

Now go get your yearly physical! And ask the doctor to throw in a urinalysis while you're there! This sneaky cancer is silent and I kind of want you all to stick around!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

No City-Wide Garage Sale Post This Year. I have to kick Cancer's ass first

I’ve had several people email me asking about a 2019 citywide garage sale post and I fully planned on putting one together but unfortunately, I’ve had a health setback and won’t get to it this year.
But you can check out my friend's blog over at Wichita on the Cheap and she'll get you some dates and locations!

Since this is my personal blog and I use it as my voice on occasion, I will share with you what I have going on… On January 24th, I came down with a horrible stomach something. I say ‘something’ because the mystery is still there.
Shortly after dinner, my stomach started cramping severely bad. Up high in the middle and maybe an inch to the right. It was a pain like I’ve never felt before. It felt like someone was punching me in the gut over and over and over again. It hurt so bad that I eventually got sick. I felt better after I got sick and so I went to bed for a bit. Then it started back up again. Repeat this all night, overnight Thursday until about 7am that Friday morning. I ended up sleeping on my bathroom floor. I mentioned to my husband a couple of times that if our boys weren’t sleeping, I’d go to the emergency room. This is coming from a girl that waits until she’s barely breathing to go to the doctor. So yeah, that was the pain.  That next day (Friday) I had zero energy (to be expected after a night of hurling) but still didn’t feel the greatest. I never ran a fever and never had body aches so I was pretty sure I had food poisoning and so that’s why I didn’t make an appointment on Friday.

I went through the weekend and went to my kids’ basketball and soccer games even though I still had a slight twinge. I was still pretty sure it was the food poisoning.
On Monday, I decided I’d go ahead and make a dr’s appointment since I still had that dull ache. None of my family members on my mom’s side have their gall bladder anymore so if I didn’t have food poisoning, maybe it was gallstones.
At the dr, he was palpating my stomach and was pretty sure I had gallstones or a gallbladder attack and so he ordered an ultrasound as well as a CBC and a urinalysis.

The next day I had my ultrasound and noticed that the technician only spent a couple of minutes on my gallbladder but about 10-15 minutes on my right side, down low and towards my back as well. I’m no doctor but I always thought the gallbladder was higher up.
The next day I received a call from my doctor and said my gallbladder and liver were great, however, I had hematuria (microscopic blood in my urine) as well as a mass on my kidney.

I didn’t hear anything other than “mass on your kidney”.
They set me up to have a CT scan with contrast the following week and the day after that, it was determined that I have a 2.5cm cancerous mass on my right kidney.
I was sent over to a Urologist to have him look at the report and the scan and he came to the same conclusion. I have Kidney Cancer (AKA: Renal Cell Carcinoma) and I will need to have surgery to remove the tumor as well as part of my right kidney on February 28th, 2019. Oddly enough, the month of March is Kidney Cancer Awareness Month and come March 1st, I will hopefully be able to say that I am a Kidney Cancer Survivor.

I’m on autopilot right now. I don’t quite know how to feel about having cancer other than I just want the fucking thing out of me.
Honestly, I feel really, really good. Which is the scary thing about Kidney Cancer. Call it divine intervention or a guardian angel watching out for me or whatever you want to call it but the fact is, they found my cancer by complete accident while it’s still relatively small. Most of the time, by the time someone finds out they have kidney cancer, the tumor is quite large and causing noticeable symptoms and possibly already spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Sure I’m going to have to have a pretty major surgery and be down for the count for several weeks - but I’m so ready to get this thing out of me and get on with my life!
My boys don’t know that I have cancer. We’ve decided to wait until the pathology reports come back after the surgery. They have too much other stuff to worry about right now ~ stuff like, “where did I put my other shoe and why do our parents always make us take baths in the middle of a video game?!” type of worries.
My husband has been amazing through this with me. He’s been my punching bag and my shoulder to cry on and a face to scream at and the reason that I’m honestly still standing. I have fallen soooo many times during our relationship and he always picks me up and dusts me off. I couldn’t do this without him, honestly. And even though my boys don’t know what I’m going through (other than that I have to have surgery on a kidney), their little faces are the other reason I’m not only standing, but smiling as well. When I feel weak, they are the strength that keeps me going. When my mind turns dark, they are the light that I need.

I believe in the power of prayer. So if you wouldn’t mind saying this little prayer for me, I’d SO appreciate it…

“Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.””

-Luke 8:50

If you have another prayer, feel free to share it!

And even if prayer isn’t your thing, your thoughts and virtual hugs are plenty!

Thank you to my faithful followers who have been here since day one. Thank you to my new followers who found me after my Fortnite post and realized we had stuff in common. Thank you for being my people.

It’s time to go kick Cancer’s ass!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fortnite Valentine's Day Cards - Free Printable Fortnite Valentines

All it took was a quick search for Fortnite Valentines Cards to see that there aren’t many (if any) out there.


Who doesn’t play Fortnite right now?!?  My husband and I were talking and we get a little annoyed when our kids want to spend their allowance on V-bucks and Fortnite skins and the Battle Pass, etc.  But I’m pretty sure Fortnite will go down as the new G.I. Joe and Barbie of our kid’s time. And lord knows we all spent every penny we had on clothes and accessories for those two things!

Obviously my boys wanted Fortnite Valentines this year and since my search didn’t pull up anything I liked, I decided to make my own. And then I decided to share the love (pun intended) and make some FREE Printable Fortnite Valentines cards for anyone else who wants them.

So here ya go! Let me know how they print! This is my first time doing a printable on my website so I may have to deal with a few hiccups until I get it just right.

As far as what I'm attaching to them, I haven't decided that yet. Maybe some pixie stix (because, pick axes) or war heads (battle) or skittles (y'know, because boogie bombs). Who knows! My kids are just excited about having Fornite Valentines for school! But if you have an idea of something I could attach, let me know in the comments below!

Happy {early} Valentine’s Day, friends!