In late June, I got very ill from a viral disease (that may have been mononucleosis, but the doctors still aren't sure). In the course of my diagnosis, one of the tests revealed that I had a suspicious growth on the top of my right kidney. Long story short: the growth was cancerous, but small and contained. Surgery was scheduled for November 19.
The surgery went as planned. The surgeon was able to do the procedure
robotically, which allowed him to make four very small incisions instead
of one relatively large incision. And, he was able to just remove the
portion of the kidney that was diseased and
to save the remainder. There will be no need for chemo or radiation
follow-up. After the procedure, I asked the surgeon about the potential
for (1) regrowth of the tumor in situ and (2) appearance of a tumor on
the other kidney. He said he wanted to review the pathology reports before giving me a definitive answer, but said that typically the odds for both are about
I was discharged from the hospital at noon on Thursday, so I was in just
Tuesday (surgery day), Wednesday (one day of recovery), and Thursday
(another half-day of recovery). I had no ill effects from the surgery
or the anesthesia--no nausea, very little pain.
Though I'm taking an analgesic, I think it's mostly prophylactic because
I'm not really in pain; I just have a little discomfort at the incisions.
I have a drain (and a collecting bulb) exiting my abdomen. It's draining
blood and urine from the cut portion of the kidney. The volume of fluid
has declined remarkably over the last three days (like it is supposed to
do). If everything continues to go smoothly,
I will have the drain removed on December 2. The drain is probably the
biggest hassle, but even that is not really much of a bother.
Actually, the worst part of the whole experience may
have been my roommate, Jim. He was 71 and had had a partial liver
removal. Tuesday night he was disoriented and confused, slept very little, and kept urinating all
over the floor when he got up to use the urinal. Every two hours or so, half the
night staff invaded the room to clean up his messes. Wednesday night,
his confusion had vanished, but he still slept very little and
repeatedly told the nurses that he was going to call
his wife to pick him up - at 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m, etc. Plus, he and
his wife (who was in the room from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.) liked to watch
TV with the volume up loud. Actually, they were pleasant people and they said
that it was nice for Jim to have a "quiet, understanding" roommate, but needless to say, I didn't do much reading - or sleeping. I was nice to get back to my own bed.
Mononucleosis very well may have saved my life!
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