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It's back, it's terminal

January 4th, 2018 at 08:52 am

I had a kidney removed in June, because the doctor discovered I had stage 1 kidney cancer when I went to the ER for a kidney stone.

So, I've been bopping along, recovering from surgery, and happy to be back to normal.

Then...The week before thanksgiving I felt like I was about to get sick-- like I was getting a flu or virus. Feeling tired, got a cough. Wasn't hungry. So I started popping vitamin C and went on with my life, waiting to kick it. I couldn't kick it, so I went to the doctor and she told me I had anemia. So I started taking iron. That didn't fix it.

Then a friend, who is also a nurse, came over and made me go to the ER. She said I looked terrible, I wasn't getting better. I'd lost weight, and I needed answers right away.

I got my answer. The kidney cancer has returned. It grew back in the space where my kidney used to be. And it's in my liver. I'm stage 4. There is no cure for kidney cancer. They can treat me, but the goal is life extension.

The five year survival rate is 8 percent.

So this is it then. I'm 42. I have two kids under 10. I've been the picture of health my entire life. Slim, active, nonsmoker. And my first health problem in my entire life is an incurable cancer.

I'm angry. For the lost years of my life, for my lost plans, but mostly because some dickhead clump of cells is going to cause my children, friends, and family massive, life-altering pain. Because these cells mean I won't be here to help my children grow up.

So now, I guess, the way forward is to prepare for my death.

Make sure my beneficiaries on all of my accounts are up to date. All the passwords and accounts are written down for hubby to take care of when I am gone. And pray for some sort of medical miracle.

56 Responses to “It's back, it's terminal”

  1. Trying to get ahead Says:

    I'm in tears reading this. I have followed your journey but never commented before. I'm so sorry about your heartbreaking news about your health. I will keep you and your family in my prayers and I pray for a miracle for you.

  2. Wink Says:

    This is heartbreaking. I am so sorry. My prayers to you and your family.

  3. starfishy Says:

    i am so sorry and so sad to read your devastating news. my heart breaks for you and your young family and you are all in my thoughts and prayers. thank you for sharing this with the SA community.

  4. Stephanie Says:

    I am in tears and all I can say and do is that I will pray for you to have time, love, laughter, support, strength, peace and a miracle. It breaks my heart.

  5. jokeabee Says:

    My heart is breaking for you, for your children and family. I am sending all my good thoughts your way.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Oh my god. This is the worst thing I've ever read on this blog. Every person I've lost to cancer has been a healthy person doing everything right. It's so goddamn unfair.

    I don't know what else to say. My heart hurts.

  7. ThriftoRama Says:

    I'm kinda thinking I maybe should have been smoking, partying, and being a little less responsible all of this time. Wink

  8. Dido Says:

    No words will do. I am so sorry, and teary-eyed reading this. My heart hurts for you.

  9. scottish girl Says:

    I'm so sorry. This is so unfair.

  10. NJDebbie Says:

    I am so angry that you are going through this. My heart aches for you and your love ones; please know that I am thinking of you.

  11. Michele Says:

    I am so so sorry. I will keep you and yours in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Laura Says:

    Life sucks. I’m angry at God and the world. I am heart broken for you and yours. Praying for all of us.

  13. CB in the City Says:

    I am angry, too. Angry, angry, angry. I just lost a friend to a cancer like this, and now it's happening to you. All I can say is, get all the life-extension drugs you can, live fully with your loved ones, and do not hesitate ever, once, to ask for help from your friends and family, because I can guarantee you, they are desperate to help you in any way they can, no matter how small. I wish I could hold your hand right now, but know that every step of the way, in my thoughts, I will be holding your hand. I think we all will.

  14. My English Castle Says:

    Oh Thrift, I'm so so sorry. I want you in the 8 percent. Praying for you and your family.

  15. Laura S. Says:

    I too am shocked and teary reading this. I also root for you to be in the 8 percent.

  16. Beawealthywarrior Says:

    God is the healer of all and that I pray he covers you and your family in his healing power. Amen!

  17. Out of the Dark Says:

    May God bring peace to your heart and family. I am sickened by this post. I am so sorry. So sorry.

  18. MonkeyMama Says:

    I am in the "no words" camp. I am so sad to read this.

  19. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Oh no, I am so sad and so very sorry to learn of this.. I completely understand your anger and pray for you and your family. I hope you can try and make some wonderful memories with your family and friends but am so sorry that you have to go through this. Totally heartbroken for you.. May you have the strength to persevere for as long as possible Frown .

  20. Bluebird Says:

    Thrift, I'm so terribly sorry. Praying for you and your family. I will never give up hope for a miracle for you {{hugs}}

  21. Thrifty Ray Says:

    I am heartbroken to learn this news and so, so sorry you are facing this again after all you've been through already. My heart aches for you friend. I think we will all be hoping and praying for that medical miracle- and at the very least, the 8%. {{hugs}} Frown

  22. creditcardfree Says:

    I am so so sad to hear this. I will be praying very hard for your miracle.

  23. snafu Says:

    I'm sad, angry and puzzled. We're all here wanting to offer support, feel free to vent whatever you feel, whenever you wish. Those near you wait, wanting to be helpful. Sending much lve and wishes.

  24. Shiela Says:

    This is awful, I'm so sorry.

  25. alliecat79 Says:

    I am so sorry. Hugs and love to you. Wishing you peace in your journey and definitely believe in miracles! There are lots of trials out there that help people. Are you close to any big university health systems or big cities?

  26. creditcardfree Says:

    Here's a link for inspiration give you inspiration. People have cured their cancer even when they were told it was terminal.

  27. Carol Says:

    Oh, I am so sorry. Praying for you and your family. Hugs and hope for many more years of good days.

  28. Bluebird Says:

    I know you're not too far from Cleveland Clinic (2 1/2 hrs at most) and that hospital is awesome. I hope you will pursue every specialist you can.

  29. Bluebird Says:

    Thrift, let me know if I can send you an email.

  30. AndreaF Says:

    I'm just shocked reading this news. I'm so sorry to hear it. Sending hugs to you and your family.

  31. LuckyRobin Says:

    Oh, honey, no. I am just in tears. This is not fair. I hate cancer. I hate it so much. It took my FIL just a few months ago and I wanted to kick and scream and shout. But at least he had lived a full life. I am so sorry that you will not get to see your kids grow up and that you will not get to grow old with your husband. It makes me furious that this stupid disease is hurting you and killing you. I will pray for you and your family. This sucks. You should have your dreams.

  32. PatientSaver Says:

    This is just shocking. Thrift...I wish I had words to express myself adequately. Did doc say surgery is an option? Did he talk about embolization? Sometimes they can block blood flow to the cancer cells. I have a friend with advanced prostate cancer who is in similar circumstances, though he is single and older. Please know you are in my prayers

  33. Turtle Lover Says:

    ((hugs))

  34. Dido Says:

    I've been thinking of you all day since reading your post yesterday during my lunch break. Just reaching out to send a virtual hug and FWIW my thoughts and prayers and ~~~~~~~~~~a virtual snuggly blanket~~~~~~~~~~~.

  35. klarose Says:

    I am heartbroken for you and your family. :'( Praying for peace, comfort, and a miracle!

  36. ThriftoRama Says:

    I'm meeting with the kidney cancer group at the James Cancer hospital at Ohio State University. Maybe they can offer me a brighter outlook than the oncologist I've already seen.

  37. Bluebird Says:

    That's great! Sending good vibes and prayers your way.

  38. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm glad you are getting more advice. If I'm ever diagnosed with cancer my plan is to seek alternative treatment possibilities, likely in Germany. Other countries are allowed to use other treatments that are not allowed in the United States. And some of them actually work very well! If you are interested start researching it, the costs can be relatively inexpensive even out of pocket. Look into Truth About Cancer (videos on YouTube and a website) there really are other time tested treatments that conventional doctor's seem oblivious to. Also know that you can often combine conventional and alternative treatments.

  39. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I am so saddened reading this and in tears. My thoughts and prayers are with you and family and I am hoping for a miracle. Please keep us updated.

  40. laura Says:


    I agree with getting additional opinions - even third/forth - and hope that the Ohio State University team can get you additional information. My friend benefitted from a teaching hospital and had state of the art care, even better than at the NIH.

    And I think Creditcardfree's advice about seeking possible alternative treatments is an excellent idea. I am lifting you and yours in prayer. (hugs)

  41. lirpalynn Says:

    That is horrible news. But never give up!

  42. alliecat79 Says:

    Thrift, I have been thinking about you non-stop. I know this is a very personal experience so if my sharing this hurts, just stop reading. Both of my parents were given death sentences with their cancer. My father has had Melanoma for over twenty years. My mother has had ovarian cancer for about ten years. They are both still alive. Any experimental treatment that came their way, they tried it. They have maintained an aggressive, progressive approach to treating their cancers. The suggestion to go over seas for treatment is not a bad suggestion at all. There are so many amazing treatments out there now.

    I am also going to recommend you continue exercising to the greatest extent you are physically able to. My father's oncologist did a study on him as he has outlived two cancer groups. When he completed treatments, he did not go home and rest. He would work out. To this day, my father lifts weights daily. Continue all of those amazing healthful practices you have done. They will help the treatment and help you.

    Again, my apologies if my sharing is too intrusive. Hugs and love to you. I think I'll be thinking about you forever. I so look up to you as a model for handling finances. You were one of the first blogs I followed regularly on this site.

  43. creditcardfree Says:

    Regardless of what Thrift decides for her own body, I do appreciate those of you who have backed up my suggestion to seek other avenues. I debated about even brining it up because so many people shy away from alternative treatments (including our own government) for all sorts of reasons, but often because they think the United States and medical doctor's here are more advanced and must know everything, or even that treatments are safe! Blind trust in doctor's hasn't worked out well for me and I will probably always have regrets about one decision I made. I'm not sure whether I can even call it a decision because I didn't even think to question it or look at risks and benefits.

    Praying everyday for you Thrift.

  44. Petunia 100 Says:

    I am stunned at this news, Thrift. I'm so sorry. I sincerely hope you will be an outlier, beating the averages and living far beyond this estimate you have just been given. {{Hugs}}

  45. terri77 Says:

    I'm so, so sorry. I can't even imagine what you are feeling. You are in my prayers.

  46. Laura Says:

    Still praying and thinking about you today.

  47. rob62521 Says:

    I am praying for you. I am so sorry.

  48. Petunia in a Flower Garden Says:

    I'll join the "stunned by this news" crowd. Thrift, I'm so sorry to hear that you are in this situation. I will join you & others in praying for a miracle.

  49. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Curses and bad words! I'm so sorry to hear this Thrift.

    Along with whatever your doctors suggest, maybe take a look at nutritionfacts.org about kidney disease to see if there's anything that speaks to you.

  50. Tabs Says:

    This is so terrible. I don't know why to say, except that we are here for you if you need anything.

  51. kashi Says:

    Oh my god. I am so sorry. I can't even imagine how you and your family must be feeling. Know that you have a support system here of people who would do whatever possible to help you.

  52. GoodLiving Says:

    No words to say about this, I hope things change and this isn't the real outcome. May you and your family find peace.

  53. rachael c resk Says:

    Stunned by the news and offering virtual hugs too ((hugs)). I second and third the suggestion to look at alternative treatments, out of the US, everthing you can. Praying and I am sure we are all waiting for the next update. We are definately here, supportive and interested!!

  54. Dido Says:

    Still thinking of you. Hugs.

  55. tripods68 Says:

    I am lost for words...sadden to hear this. All I can think is immediate treatment like immunotherapy. is that possible for you?

  56. Thrifty Ray Says:

    You are in my thoughts...{{hugs}}

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