- CASE FILE
44 year old husband and father with non-operable stage IV renal cancer, A-Fib heart condition, diabetes and a laundry list of complications.
ABOUT THIS CASE FILE
My 40th birthday was spent in the ER with elevated blood sugars and feeling of weakness, after eating a piece of birthday cake. My father is a diabetic and had a glucose monitor at his house. For laughs, my family and I all ate a piece of cake then measured our glucose levels afterwards. Mine has pushing 400. My father instantly said, "you're a diabetic". Having never had any medical issues in the past, I panicked. I began to feel weak and dizzy. Out of caution, my wife and I decided to be safe than sorry and went to the ER. After hours of waiting, the triage nurse confirmed my elevated numbers were likely caused by diabetes. So that next week, I was in my primary doctor's office getting a plan together. While there, my Dr was giving me a full check up and while checking my heartbeat with a stethoscope, he immediately ordered an EKG. Due to my irregular heartbeat, the doctor thought I was having a heart attack. After days of blood tests and additional testing, we find out I not only have type 2 diabetes, I also have Atrial Fibrillation, and have probably had it for sometime. I have been living with it "out" of rhythm for almost 4 years now. From then on, I was on pills for my diabetes and blood thinners for my heart. Fast forward 1 year, my family and I are moving and I start to feel a side ache, assuming it was from heavy lifting, I brushed it off. 2 weeks after moving into our new town, into a new home and starting a new job, I'm on a job site in a porta-potty, urinating blood. Having excruciating side pain, I called my wife (who was at her new job) and drove myself to the hospital. She met me there and at the triage, the nurse said more than likely this is a kidney stone. So my wife and I sighed and she went off to pick up our daughter from the sitter and would meet me at home later. After the cat scan came back, the ER doctor told me I was going to be admitted, because they found a mass on my kidney. I called my wife to drop our daughter back off at the sitter and come down to the hospital. It was a miracle and a fluke that I was taking blood thinners for my A-Fib heart, which caused me to urinate blood and realize there was a problem with my kidney. After 3 days of testing I was released with a scheduled surgery date the following week. My primary doctor was all over the results and had a plan of attack. It was going to be simple, get in, remove the kidney and get out. No need to see an oncologist until we know more. That next week while in surgery, my blood pressure went through the roof the anesthesiologist was unable to lower it. They had to quickly wake me up so I wouldn't flat line.They decided my heart couldn't handle the anesthesia and we had to go another route. But the surgeon was on vacation the next week, so I had to wait to find another surgeon who could operate the following week. The next week we were able to operate and all went well. For the next 2-3 weeks while recovering, I went and saw my surgeon for a follow up. They told me I had stage 3 cancer, they were able to get it all just in time. They said it didn't spread and I was very lucky. I followed with my primary who said the same. He said we would rescan my mid section every year and make sure it didn't come back. I was never referred to an oncologist. First year scan, clear. Second year scan, we get a report I have some "swollen lymph nodes" but it may just be from a virus. Dr said "we'll keep an eye on them". Third year scan, I have swollen lymphnodes all over my mid-section and lungs and am diagnosed with non-operable stage IV renal cancer. The kidney cancer did spread and was never caught. Now I am undergoing Immunotherapy treatment. In the last 3 months of treatment I have become full blown insulin dependent, have extreme fatigue, sleeplessness, muscle loss, weight loss, hot and cold sweats, diarrhea with oily stool, uncontrollable itching, uncontrollable gas, UTI, and most recently a 5.5CM cyst on my leg popped up out of nowhere and the doctor said "I've never seen a tumor below the groin, but you're a special case so we'll order a PET scan for that." I feel like there is no end in sight with my medical issues. I still work full time for my sanity and to provide for my family. I purchased a bigger home last year to move my parents in to help with their medical issues. After thousand's of dollars in renovations to accommodate my mom's wheelchair, she dies suddenly a week before they moved in. So my dad still moved in the next week and during our mourning and getting settled in the new home with my family and my dad, I find out I have advanced cancer. The stress of juggling between work, caring for my dad and his medical issues, providing for my wife and young daughter, and trying to manage treatment and endless doctors visits, I feel like the train is derailing. I'm trying to shield my family from the stress I'm under and I am starting to loose control. I am frustrated that the doctors and the insurance company aren't communicating with each other. I'm out of PTO and sick time through work, but I can't afford to take time off. I need help figuring out what's going on with me and what can be done about the cancer if the Immunotherapy doesn't work. Please Help!