Four years ago today, Drs. D. Smiley and C. Spencer carved my right kidney out of my body. The surgery was a success, and the subsequent biopsy revealed a few malignant tumors, the largest of which was a scant 2.3 cm by 4 cm. There was no metastasis and no lymph node involvement. My diagnosis was stage-1 clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
Thank goodness for Drs. Smiley and Spencer and for my awesome primary care physician, M. LaMantia. They, along with a supporting cast of about fifty MRI and ultrasound techs, nurses, hematologists, and (oh yes, the) anesthesiologists saved my life and put an end to my nagging pain.
Susan A. coordinated fresh, home-cooked meals for me, Eric, and my family for 28 days after I went home, with excellent help from Susan G., Cass, Nolan, Tiana, Diana & Ophira, Diana L., Paul and Becki, Marta, Vanessa, Betsy D., Jeremiah and Karen, Georgia, Anne H., Maire and Bob, Lana and Rog, Ruth S., Jim and Dave, Sydney, Rick V., Jennifer B., Holly C., Harrison, Fred, Barb C., and Maureen H. Their food, visits, cards, flowers, and well-wishes propelled me on a path to health that I'm still traveling today.
Having cancer was the Krakatoa of my life. And there have been a few other crises along the way, most notably, my divorce and another cancer scare. But there's also been more joy, more adventures, and more passion in the last four years than in the entire 28 years before.
While I'm thrilled that it's only 365 days until I'm officially "cured," my thoughts today go out to Nancy and Steven, who are fighting bigger battles against uglier foes than I did. Stay strong and know that you are loved and very much on my mind. I plan to take each of you out for a celebratory glass of wine when you reach your four-years cancer-free milestones.