This update ranks up near the top, as far as my Top 10 LEAST favorite ones to send…
And yet I will preface this with, it’s also yet another time that God’s graciousness and mercy has been shown to us. So, there’s always that side of tribulation in this world to look forward to!
My mom and dad were able to come up and stay with Jonah while Tamara came with me to the appointment in Ann Arbor. Their presence was comforting, and they brought fresh tulips for Tamara from the gardens in Fort Wayne. My sister (also dealing with some injuries) sent flowers from her yard, as well. It’s just great to have family that loves you, you know?! This alleviated the stress of having a 4-year-old to worry about in a medical facility, which is not small. Jonah tried to keep up with Grampa and Grandma, but they won, and he took a good nap!
The day came preloaded with bittersweet memories of Maggie’s passing. Tamara’s mom died 4 years ago, and she is still dearly missed. A lot of heavy stuff to kick the day off with, but mom and dad’s arrival brought flowers and extra hugs, and we made it out the door on time. Now, the drive was a little extra ridiculous because 4/22/21 was apparently the day when they shut I-94 down to one lane (both ways!) AND they closed the bridge going OVER I-94 so we had to add an extra 5-mile detour to the trip. But, thanks to all my years as a lead footed teenage boy and pizza/auto parts/ pharmacy delivery driver, I was able to make up for lost time and arrive alive at the appointment on time. I do not think it helped my blood pressure reading, but we were there and checked in when they called us back.
Which brings us to ANOTHER bit of grace. Since it’s only 2021 and there are still a lot of people dealing with the realities of COVID, we were unsure if they’d let Tamara in with me. They initially said she’d have to wait in the car, but when they saw the purpose of the visit, the lady at the door passed a sympathetic fist bump through the plexiglass and said, “Just stay really close and don’t ask again. You just act like you’re supposed to be there with him.” So that’s what we did. I was super grateful that she was there, because cystic lesions in your kidney are kind of a big deal.
The doctor was clearly in high demand. He came in more than an hour after our appointment but was super apologetic and jumped right in to explaining what they could see from the scans and a probable plan of attack, in simple English, instead of “doctor-ese.” After that, he asked if we were interested in the “nitty -gritty details” and when we said yes, he jumped into that. Then we got into the actual MRI and CT scans and sagittal views of the kidney and longitudinal scans and transversely aligned kidneys and anucleate cysts and positive margins and possible likelihoods of renal failure and a lot of other “nitty gritty details” that further emphasize the fact that we could spend a whole lot of time talking about what we think this might look like, but until he gets “in there” and starts, it’s all theoretical. He seems very familiar with kidneys in general, and he’d spent time looking at mine, specifically. I feel confident that the 2-3 hours he’ll likely spend locating and then removing the cyst on my kidney will be beneficial to my long-term health. The follow-up treatment will most likely be very similar to what we’ve been doing since 2018; yearly scans and bloodwork to make sure that there is nothing extra growing where it shouldn’t be. These will be done concurrently with the scans for the previous cancer.
Again, and certainly not to downplay the seriousness of this surgical procedure, we really can’t be 100% confident that this WILL BE the complete and/or final medical conversation about cancer, or my kidneys. Family medical histories are very revealing, and the Mathew side of the family has a very strong history of having kidneys! Almost all of us were born with them, and a bunch of us have had issues with them. We’ve got a good collection of stone producers and in combination with essential hypertension, we have “kidney issues.”
So basically, what we know, until we learn more, is this:
- I need to have a partial nephrectomy.
- Dr. Weizer prefers robotic surgery, so this will most likely be robotic.
- We will have the surgery after Memorial Day.
- The surgery will likely take about 2-3 hours.
- Recovery could require 4 to 12 weeks.
- Our move date may need to be pushed back, due to the surgical timeline.
- We should have a surgery date within the next few days.