Martins Ferry (Hometown)
Kidney Cancer - Diagnosed fall 2012
My cancer story: Dodged the cancer bullet again! Two years ago, I had a complete hysterectomy because of an abnormal pap smear. In that process, doctors found one pre-cancer cell in my uterus. It would have likely gone undetected if not for early warning signs and routine tests. This past October 2012, routine blood work red flagged increased liver enzyme numbers. My family doctor felt it was time to investigate with a CT scan. It revealed a small renal cell tumor on my kidney - less than an inch and on the outer edge of my kidney. Laparoscopic robotic surgery at Cleveland Clinic easily removed the cancer threat before it progressed to a more serious condition. No chemo, no radiation, easy removal made me very grateful for my family doctor's actions in an early diagnosis. My special thanks to him.
Caregiver shout-out: Family will always be one of your greatest supports. Your church family as well. They will be there for you as you would be there for them. In my case, especially my three sisters, who are in different areas of the medical field, were there for me with their immediate access to resources and knowledgeable emotional support.
Lessons learned on your cancer journey: Everyone goes through a time of panic and fear. Get past that and be optimistic! You can always find someone in a worse situation than you. Do what you have to do to live your life to the fullest. Get on the internet, contact the American Cancer Society - find out everything there is to know about your cancer. Knowledge is power - -to know what to ask your doctors and knowing the facts and general procedures can quell some of your fear. You and your medical professionals are a team.
Message to newly diagnosed and patients in treatment: I cannot truly give a lot of advice since I have not had to endure the pain and suffering of chemo, etc. But I am not naive to what many have to go through. My mother has set a wonderful example of persevering through 25 years of treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. My oldest son at the age of 15 died of AML Leukemia. He endured so much but always stayed optimistic. His philosophy was that "his cup was half full, not half empty." Based on my family history, my time will likely come again to battle with cancer, but I am extremely grateful to be granted a reprieve for now.
Karen has volunteered on the Daffodil Days committee and serves on the registration committee for the Relay For Life GLOW 5K. If you would like to sign up as a survivor or get more information on Relay For Life, please visit www.relayforlife.org/belmontcounty or contact Chelsea at 888-227-6446 x3206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.