Renal Cell Carcinoma (Part I)

I have been wanting to post about my cousin, Matt, for some time.  It is such a long story and I didn’t know where to begin. First things first: This is a story about my cousin Matt.  His two brothers are Dillon and Marshall-too cute huh?  They are the Gunsmoke Gang!This story will be told in parts since it covers a five year span.

Matt loves to play soccer.  He and his younger brother, Dillon, have played all of their lives.  When Matt was 14 years old (five years ago) he was playing indoor soccer.  He got slammed into a wall during the game.  He went to the restroom and was throwing up.  Some parents that were at the game that are also EMT’s told my aunt (Matt’s mother) she should take him to the hospital-something was wrong.  They live in Signal Mountain, TN which is near Chattanooga, TN.  They went to Erlanger in Chattanooga.

It was discovered that Matt had a tumor on his kidney.  The doctors removed one of Matt’s kidneys.  We-the family-thought this accident was a blessing in disguise: found out there was a tumor on his kidney and removed the kidney.  Of course the tumor ruptured-but the family never thought about that part at the time. His diagnosis was renal cell carcinoma~kidney cancer. This cancer is mostly common in males over age 40.  What is going on here? A 14 year old child?  So confusing!

I immediately began researching renal cell carcinoma, and at the time didn’t realize how serious this cancer was~since he had the kidney removed and for some reason I blocked out the part of the tumor bursting.  Anywho-Matt is a trooper and he is so strong!

To be continued…

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Last Lecture

I was watching the news a few weeks ago on a Saturday morning and they had a clip (similar short news clip above-3 min 47 sec long) about a special on a college professor Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, giving his “Last Lecture”.

This is a common title for talks on college campuses today.  Schools have created “Last Lecture Series,” in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be pondered is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch’s speech was more than just an academic discussion. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a joyous and captivating journey through the lessons of his life.

“He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living. If anyone expected him to be sad, he said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you.” He then dropped to the floor and did one-handed pushups.

Clicking through photos of himself as a boy, he talked about his childhood dreams: to win giant stuffed animals at carnivals, to walk in zero gravity, to design Disney rides, to write a World Book entry. By adulthood, he had achieved each goal. As proof, he had students carry out all the huge stuffed animals he’d won in his life, which he gave to audience members. After all, he doesn’t need them anymore.

He discussed his techie background. “I’ve experienced a deathbed conversion,” he said, smiling. “I just bought a Macintosh.” Randy displayed  his rejection letters and talked about setbacks in his career, repeating: “Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.” He encouraged us to be patient with others. “Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.” He shows pictures of his bedroom he had as a child.  He had drawn mathematical notations all over his walls. Then Randy says: “If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let ’em do it.”

While displaying photos of his bosses and students over the years, he said that helping others fulfill their dreams is even more fun than achieving your own. He talked of requiring his students to create videogames without sex and violence. “You’d be surprised how many 19-year-old boys run out of ideas when you take those possibilities away,” he said, but they all rose to the challenge.

He also saluted his parents, who let him make his childhood bedroom his domain, even if his wall etchings hurt the home’s resale value. He knew his mom was proud of him when he got his Ph.D, he said, despite how she’d introduce him: “This is my son. He’s a doctor, but not the kind who helps people.”

Dr. Pausch’s lecture, in the same way, became a call to his colleagues and students to go on without him and do great things. But he was also addressing those closer to his heart.

Near the end of his talk, he had a cake brought out for his wife, whose birthday was the day before. As she cried and they embraced on stage, the audience sang “Happy Birthday,” many wiping away their own tears.”

Dr. Pausch’s speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they’re older. His last words in his last lecture were simple: “This was for my kids.”

What an extraordinary individual! To be that positive in the face of death is something to admire.  He has such a loving family to carry on such a positive legacy.  His message is very powerful and heartwarming with so many lessons to give.  He is such an inspiration. The full lecture is long, but it is so worth  your time guys.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/front_im/pausch_9-18-07.wmv

 

Ask Dr. Stupid

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This post is formerly known as Boobie Massage

I am finally posting my story about my ultrasound on both of my breasts. This is the update to my Nervous post. I went to the hospital on Friday, September 21, 2007 to have my ultrasound. We were out of school for Fair day. My appointment was at 9:00 and they did not get to me until 10:00. This isn’t good for my nerves if you no me at all. I know, there is nothing to be nervous about…I just have this thing about waiting. I need to get me a laptop and I can just blog and wait-note to self.

So the ultrasound technician comes to get me and coincidentally I know her-this is a good thing. She asks me why I am having an ultrasound and not a diagnostic mammogram? Same questions that others have asked me too. I start to tell her the story about my screening mammogram and the whole confusion with my not so professional doctor-See Nervous Post. She continues to try to explain to me that I should have had the diagnostic mammagram first then an ultrasound if necessary. I explain to her what my letter said and that I just called my doctor and scheduled the ultrasound. In all reality the doctor should have looked at my files and read the letter from the Breast Center and realized that this is what it stated…not let me be the one to do the “referring”. The ultrasound technician showed me the letter in my file-which was the same as mine- and explained it to me again. We continued with the ultrasound since it had already been scheduled.

After my boobie massage, I had to go to my doctor’s office to have blood taken for bloodwork.

Dr. Stupid was there and asks, ” How are you”?

I replied, ” I’m ok. I’d be better if you would return my phone calls though”. (Kill them with sarastic kindness and catch them in front of people-teeheehee)

Dr. Stupid says, “Well, you need to leave me a message…”

I say, ” Uh-I did-three messages on Wednesday, and one on Thursday morning..” (IN YOUR FACE DR. STUPID!)

Anywho, Dr. Stupid immediately asks me what I needed. I told him that Miss Nurse took care of me but I did have a question now about my ultrasound….I think I was supposed to have a dianostic mammogram first, then an ultrasound. Dr. Stupid gets my file out and looks at it as I discuss the past events of my reading of the initial letter, my previous phone calls, my ultrasound, and my discussion with Miss Ultrasound Technician…along with “this was my day off and I could have done both today-yada-yada”.

Dr. Stupid picks up the phone to call Dr. Someone at the hospital and they discuss the situation. I am trying to tell him that I don’t want to go back that day for another test, but I can go the first week of October-I was very tired because I had already taken two anxiety pills. To make a long story shorter-hehe-We (Me and Miss Ultrasound Technician (thank you)) were right and Dr. Stupid was wrong-AGAIN! So he scheduled my diagnostic mammogram for Tuesday, October 2, 2007 at 9:40 a.m. – oh ya-that’s today-by the way.

I am off to get my boobie smooshed-really hard. Buh Bye!

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Nervous!

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Ok-here goes. I am getting nervous. Lets zoom back in time. On August 23, 2007 I went for a screening mammogram. I got the results back on Wednesday, August 29, 2007:

There is an area on your mammogram that requires further evaluation. I recommend that you return for special views of the left breast and an ultrasound examination of the left breast. An ultrasound is sometimes necessary in order to obtain a more diagnosis than that provided by standard imaging alone.

After reading this letter, I started into panic mode-panic attack. Breath…in deep…out slowly…in deep…out slowly…calm down…close eyes…go to happy place…light bulb goes on in my head. A couple of years ago I had been having pains in my left breast-MY LEFT BREAST. Hhhmmm. Any relation? I had had an ultrasound of my left breast back then and had discovered that I have fibrous cysts. Maybe this is all it is. Then I went from Panic to Mad mode.

I thought back to my yearly wellness exam and recalled the breast exam. My doctor only examined my left breast-if I recalled correctly. I wanted to talk to my doctor. I wanted to know if he scheduled a mammogram just for a routine check-up-I am only 35 years old, or did he schedule a mammogram because he had felt something-in my left breast. So the next day I called the doctor’s office and left a message for him to return my call. I called later on in the day and left another message for him to return my call. LATER in the evening, a lady from the doctor’s office called me and asked what I needed to talk to him about-I told her, “Like I have already said in my TWO previous messages, I would like to speak with him about my mammogram results and about my wellness/pap exam…”. She said, “Oh, Ok. Well, he usually returns calls at the end of the day after he has seen all of his patients. He will return your call after he is through seeing patients.”

OK-Three phone calls with the doctor’s office in one day. By the way-my doctor never returned my phone call. So here I go again back into PANIC mode-crap-breath-in deep and slowly…out…slowly…breath…in…and out…

The next day, I called the doctor’s office-again-and left a message for my doctor to return my call-again. A nurse returned my call. I went on and asked her the questions I had-I like her and I figured this is the only way I will find out quickly. So, I asked her if my doctor scheduled a mammogram for a routine check-up or because he had felt something. She told me that it was just a routine screening mammogram. She said that if he had felt something he would have told me and would have scheduled a diagnostic mammogram. Whew-I am feeling much better now-I think.

I asked the nurse if I could do an ultrasound on both breasts-If they’re gonna do one-they’re gonna do both. I hear that ultrasounds can be a better test that mammograms nowadays. She said that was fine-so we scheduled my ultrasound-This Friday, September 21, 8:30 a.m.

In the next few weeks, I talked to several people about mammograms and breast cancer. A doctor’s wife told me that the hospital I went to almost always has everyone come back for an ultrasound-then come back for a diagnostic mammogram. My aunt said she has been through this same procedure too. A good friend has been through this and had a biopsy too. I am beginning to feel better-like this is a normal routine procedure. I know my boyfriend’s mother is probably worried though. She lost her sister to breast cancer-and she is always in my mind during all of this too.

I began researching fibrous cysts on the internet. When I found out I had this a few years ago-I thought it was no big deal. I didn’t really research it much. Now I am reading that this can lead to breast cancer-Great-Panic Mode-Again.

I am getting nervous.

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