Cancer Does Not Have to Win

by blackspanielgallery

Cancer is a scary word, but I have had some success in winning the battle.

Over six years ago I went to the emergency room with a kidney stone, something I have had several times. Of course, the doctor wanted to verify the diagnosis, so he ordered a CT scan. That was the beginning of an unexpected series of events.

The CT scan verified the kidney stone, but the kidney on the other side showed a mass. I was told to see my urologist. So, I did. He suspected cancer, so it was back to the hospital for more testing.

Finding Out

My appointment with the urologist went in an unusual path.  He came in happy, and told me it was cancer, but we had found it in time.  At that time kidney cancer was often fatal, but that was because by the time the symptoms manifest themselves it usually has spread. 


He presented it was with the words, “You have a friend called God.”  He went on to say the kidney stone was the reason the cancer was detected early, and it could be removed surgically.  His view of the kidney stone was it was a gift from God.


Last Summer

Last July I went for a routine monitoring.  A lymph node was slightly enlarged.  My urologist consulted with a cancer specialist, and the latter decided the cancer had returned after six years, a long time for this to happen.  It was in a lymph node that was near the removed kidney.


Surgery was scheduled for August, then cancelled.  A second tumor appeared in a detailed scan and appeared to be in the lungs.  He feared many more tumors might become apparent, so he wanted to wait.



In the period of waiting I was given a new form of chemo, a drug that has less severe side effects.  I read the material that came with the drug and it indicated it had a reduction of at least thirty percent in just over half of the people taking it, after five and a half months. 


After three months the larger tumor shrunk from 20 millimeters to just six millimeters.  I realize that is a seventy percent reduction in one dimension, but if we consider equal shrinking in three dimensions it is about ninety-seven percent reduction. 


I did have some side effects.  Any injury, such as a scratch from my new puppy, took longer to heal.  And I developed callouses that made walking difficult.  A little tooth problem became a larger problem.  Yet, these are mild compared to what happens with other forms of chemo.

Prayer Works

My wife immediately activated a group she is friends with who pray for people.  And many of my friends at work, and others in my Knights of Columbus Council prayed.  Others also joined in.

Diet Is Important

After the diagnosis my wife began seeing to it that certain foods with cancer fighting abilities were added to my diet.  One thing was olive oil.  Olive oil became our cooking oil.  But there is so much more.


In January I had several lymph nodes in a chain of lymph nodes removed.  The result was just one other, the one closest to the area where the removed kidney once was, had a too small to be detected tumor.  This was much better than the doctors expected.


In February a second surgeon went after the tumor originally thought to be in the left lung.  Before the surgery he determined it to be in a node between the lung and the heart.  This was great because initially it was thought a partial lung removal would be needed.


I spent but one night in the hospital after the first surgery, and two nights after the second.  My second stay was almost extended because my heart rate went up during the second night.  It went back to a normal rhythm after two hours.  I was allowed to go home, but had to purchase a device that checks my heart rate and rhythm. 

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The April Scan

In early April I had a scan that showed nothing else of significance.  I will be scanned for life, but it is a tolerable thing.  I took the chemo for over four months, and the hope is that any small clusters of undetected cancer cells were reduced or eliminated. 

Did It Hurt?

Well, no.  If it were not for my doctors I would have never known until it would have been too late.  I felt nothing.  And the surgeries were not that bad, a little discomfort.  I had a bottle of pain medicine that I did not use.  I turned it in when the government collected old medicine in an effort to keep them from entering the sewerage system after flushing them down. 

The Future

Just as the chemo I took had just been made available, my doctor told me that there is no cure short of surgically removing kidney cancer, but there is something that will be coming available in the near future. 


So, if the cancer does come back we will make an early detection, and depending on the location will act accordingly. 


The Good

I did not teach this semester, so I was free to pursue other interests.  One of those interests was to be able to take a course.  I signed up for a Bible study course on the Book of Revelations.  It is intense, and well worth the effort.  I would have missed much of the meanings of things without someone to teach the course to me.  I would not have been free at the time it meets if I were teaching.


No matter what the illness, prayer is a great way to react.  And have hope in the research that is going on. 


I did remain upbeat throughout the process, and I believe that also helped. 


The four factors in winning can be summed up as include God with prayer, select cancer fighting foods, keep a positive attitude, and have great doctors.  Such a simple formula, but it worked well for me.


Those who normally read my articles might have noticed a decrease in my writing during the surgery period, and an increase thereafter since I am on sick leave.


This article was planned for quite some time, but I could not figure out how to write it.  And, until the April scan I had more uncertainty than I felt comfortable with for sharing.


This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The introduction images are my own.

A Successful Surgery

I had a robot assisted surgery, and the news was good.  The tumor was encapsulated, and it appeared the entire cancerous mass was removed.  I did lose a kidney, but that is minor compared to the alternative.


I was monitored every six months at first, then the time was lengthened.

Updated: 04/28/2019, blackspanielgallery
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Mira on 05/01/2019

I agree that diets are tricky in so many ways. I have several friends and family members who are suffering extra weight and health problems from following one of the diets high on protein and then returning to their regular regimens, only to find that the diet has upset their metabolism. Any strict diet is problematic because it may work better on some people than on others. It's probably better to eat balanced diets and make sure we include more healthy foods, as you say. That's my philosophy, too, and it works better with the mind, too, since you're looking forward to eating certain foods rather than feeling frustrated that you can't eat favorite dishes. That said, I think each of us should ultimately decide for ourselves what we're comfortable adopting as a diet and what foods we're comfortable giving up. If we're really partial to some foods, it may in fact be that they're good for us and, as we say here, that our body is asking for them.

blackspanielgallery on 05/01/2019

My friend is located in a nearby community with its doctors and hospitals, the care from which is maybe less of a quality. Yes, hes GP was slow to find the problem, and the specialist would not see him until he could prove the problem..He has now gotten better care.

One thing we must remember with diets from doctors is the diet may be in accordance with other considerations. My uncle, when he was alive, had a strict diet, probably too strict, because his doctor was of Arabian descent. I suspect if a food was not acceptable in his doctor's religion it was not allowed in the diet. In choosing a diet to fight a disease it often is necessary to consider inclusion of beneficial foods not just avoidance of unhealthy foods. Of course one follows one's own religion, and if there are dietary laws they are included, but not the dietary laws of the doctor's religion. There is so much to watch out for, and remember inclusion of foods can be of as much or more value as avoidance of other foods.

Mira on 05/01/2019

That's very sad. And it's probably worse in countries where you don't get to choose your specialist! But you're talking of his GP? My GP is a nice lady but when I asked her if I can do something to lower my cholesterol with food, she said it couldn't be done. Lo and behold, I found a book which helps you do just that. (I may have found it here on Wizzley, actually, posted first by Chef Keem. Here it is:

blackspanielgallery on 04/30/2019

When I was first diagnosed I emailed a friend. His reply was he had just become aware of a recurrence of his cancer, But he had problems and wasted valuable treatment time convincing his doctor to look into it. He ended up a lot worse off than I did.

Mira on 04/30/2019

I think we're lucky when we find good medical staff who can save us time and make better choices than we would. My experience has been that some doctors have forgotten to mention very important things, and I only found out about them incidentally, after years of reading on nutrition and medical issues (when time allowed).

blackspanielgallery on 04/30/2019

Which is why having the guidance of a good medical staff is important. Books can help, but always ask the cancer specialists.

Mira on 04/30/2019

Right, cancers are different. At the same time, I am discovering some foods are quite powerful for a large spectrum of conditions. But cancers may be different, indeed.

blackspanielgallery on 04/30/2019

One thing we must always remember with diet is certain foods help, but not on every kind of cancer. In fact, this is also true of chemo. The pills that worked well for me are for urinary cancer and melanoma. They would not be used on other kinds of cancer, The cautionary word here is to research what foods affect a particular type of cancer before thinking you have found a source of help. And do not rely on diet as a sole cure, but as a supplemental cancer fighter.

Quality of care is so important. I went to East Jefferson General Hospital in a suburb of New Orleans, and the hospital has an affiliation with M D Anderson,a leading research hospital for cancer. My doctors has access to the latest breakthroughs. I chemo developed in the last couple of years might have been unknown to doctors not so current.

frankbeswick on 04/30/2019

Both shiitake and maitake are anti-cancer mushrooms.

Mira on 04/30/2019

To return to something I said earlier, I spoke with my godmother today and she takes maitake mushrooms, not shiitake. Two pills three times a day.

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