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!

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