41. Whose down with RCC ?! Yeah you know me! Or... taking the “Triple Cancer Crown” with a renal cell carcinoma!
After waiting 18 days through the holidays, I finally emailed my oncologist to see if they could use find out what the hell the results were from my kidney biopsy. Apparently having a doctor want your results always puts a seeming rush on things, and about an hour after I emailed, I got a call from Dr G’s office wanting to make an appointment for the next day to “discuss” the results.
Now, when a doctor wants you to come to his office to discuss results, it’s not generally great news. I knew going in that it was REALLY likely that this tumor was not benign. The dad of one of my besties is a kidney specialist, and when they discovered the tumor, Dr Levy was AMAZE in taking a look at the CT results and being frank about what what he usually sees. In effect our convo was this:
Dr L: It’s not likely that it’s more breast cancer, ‘cause breast cancer doesn’t usually travel to the kidney. It could be the beginning of renal cancer, but we just won’t know until you biopsy it.
Me: So which one is better?
Dr L: Well neither are good, but if it’s renal cancer and it’s small they can cut it out. But again we won’t know until we know. But yeah, it doesn’t look great.
So yeah, that’s where I was; Hoping for the best, but knowing probably this was indeed another car on the cancer train.
I let it be, cause I mean Jesus, what’s the point in worrying until you know? It’s a waste of fucking time, and it will drive you crazy. Plus I am already spinning enough plates, and why add another dish unless I have to?
After the first call scheduling an appointment, I got another about an hour later telling me that rather than see my oncologist, I should actually be seeing my urologist , as he was the one who ordered the test and would the one ordering anything that pertained to the diagnoses. So they cancelled my appointment with Dr G. my medical oncologist, and said they had sent a note to Dr P’s people that I needed an appointment.
Here’s the problem: Dr P my urologist can’t just be scheduled through the normal schedulers, you have to get to one of his two personal assistants ‘cause he’s the head of the department. So the next five hours are spent calling various numbers and leaving messages attempting to just get a damn “yes” or “no”, on whether the biopsy came back malignant.
I basically “spun out”, which means I become super stressed, extremely quiet and introspective. My mind races and I try to focus it on a task, any task. In this case, the only thing I could manage to accomplish is doing laundry.
Finally at 7 pm that evening, a call.
“Stephanie , Dr P… How are you”
“Dr P, Hi, I have been anxiously awaiting your, or really anyone’s call.”
“Well, we got your biopsy results back and they were tested for a number of genomes and we’ve determined that its a very low grade chromophobe tumor, which we are classifying as a renal cell carcinoma”
“Okay, so what does that mean? Also say that again, please” (I wrote down exactly the diagnoses so I could confer with Beth’s dad.)
Dr P. repeated himself and I quickly took down notes, when he finished I asked:
“So what do we do now?”
“Well what we do for these is remove them surgically. I would have you come to the hospital in Santa Monica and we would remove it using a robot. It’s inside the kidney so hopefully it should only be part of your kidney. Also let me ask you, where are you with your other cancers? You’re doing hormone therapy?”
“Not yet, I have two more chemo sessions , then I have five weeks of radiation. Oh, but I have about a month off in-between so we could schedule it then maybe.”
“There’s no hurry. You wanna wait to make sure you are fully recovered from chemo before we do it.”
“Hmm” I said thinking about my treatments and considering TV Pilot season, “ I guess I could just do it on the anniversary of my thyroid surgery. “
“ Why don’t you the office when you are about a month out of radiation , it usually takes a month to schedule, then we get the surgery set up. “
“Great”, I said, “I’ll do that. Also this might be a strange question , but I don’t suppose I could get my implants placed at the same time.”
A brief pause…
After we hung hung up, it hit me: Third cancer in 12 months, all unrelated.
I am a veritable cancer farm!
On the upside, if the cancer was an animal it would be a sloth. Slow moving, not emergent, not life threatening. I mean, if you’re gonna get a tumor, this is the one for you.
So I mark my date book and go about my business of life, doing my treatments and more importantly flying to Atlanta for ten days to shoot a new TV show.
And although the famous film Georgian Scarlett O’hara wasn’t talking about medical stuff when she said it, her attitude kind of fits my approach to this new-found sloth cancer.
“I think about that tomorrow.”