Grind to Glory

So here I am deciding finally to put things down in writing. Will anyone read this? Does anyone really want to know what I think or how I feel? Hard to say.

Where does my Grind to Glory story begin?

In the early Summer of 2012, I decided to look into the possibility of gastric bypass surgery. I knew very little about it and did not want to make any rash decisions. It seems that I am one who never makes a rash decision but at that time, I did not know that about myself.  So I went to some informational meetings and decided that I would attend the program with the intent of learning more while working toward the potential of surgery. The Doctor I was assigned to was excellent. I also had to meet with a nutritionist every month and start learning how to eat better. Attending support group meetings was mandatory. And I went to every one. I had some bumps along the early road with directly conflicting information from two nutritionists in the program. I was confused. I was frustrated. I was angry. But I stuck with it. I lost some weight but not enough. Is it ever enough? I exercised. I actually like exercise. I especially like walking. And I LOVE being in a pool doing aerobic exercise. I kept plugging away through the Fall and then at the end of the year, I made the decision to have the surgery. It was a big decision but one that I made only after extensive research and some really hard work. I was committed.

But then I began to tell family and friends. Some were supportive, some were flat out opposed to this. Others said they were supportive but really weren’t. I would not know this until the Spring of 2013 when it all went to hell in a hand basket. The surgery was scheduled for Tuesday March 5, 2013. In the week prior to the surgery, I had to undergo several pre-surgery tests. One of those tests was an abdominal CT scan. There was a mix-up with scheduling this test and I ended up going to the hospital on the day before the surgery for this “routine” test. It was FAR from routine.

I had this routine CT scan less than 24 hours prior to the surgery. I went in, had the test and went right back to work. I had loose ends to tie up at work before I would be gone for a month or so. I was not back in my office for more than an hour when the Doctor’s office called and said there was a problem. A big problem. The secretary told me they found a “mass” on my kidney. She never said what that meant and I did not know. She went on to tell me that the office had made an appointment for me for that afternoon to see a urologist to discuss this. My surgery was in jeopardy.

I was in a fog. What the hell was a “mass”? I wasn’t sick, how could anything be wrong? I went to the urologist and he sat there, nice and matter of fact and told me I had a tumor in my kidney, it was the size of a golfball, it was smack dab in the center of the kidney, it was CANCER and I would have to have my kidney removed. The whole thing. So I became very matter of fact and asked how he knew it was cancer without tests and biopsies and he told me that these kinds of tumors can not be biopsied. They are called “encapsulated” tumors and that piercing the encapsulation in any way would cause the cancer to spread. Kidney cancer is 100% fatal. Every time. Ok then. This was the bad news.

Was there good news? Yes. Fortunately we are born with two kidneys and we really only need one. Nice to have a spare organ when you need one. This cancer is also the type that once you remove the organ, you remove all of the cancer and there is no need for chemo or radiation. What????? Who has cancer and doesn’t need treatment? But it was true. As long as there was no breech of the tumor, there was no need for anything but the surgery. It would be like having a tooth pulled. The Doc told me how lucky I was. And although I heard him, I was not in any kind of place to believe him. I was devastated. Everything I had worked toward for 9 months was ripped away from me and now I had cancer. And I was losing a kidney. Not feeling so lucky.

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