Written and submitted by Monica Hart.
The passion that drives me to win this fight against renal cell carcinoma is the love of my family.
In 1995 at the young age of 38, with three little daughters and a wonderful husband we were very busy and on the go with our hockey schedules. I had been feeling tired a lot and couldn’t get rid of a cold. After an ultrasound a very large tumour was discovered on my right kidney. I had surgery and at that time the doctor said, “We got it all”. Four years later three nodules were found in each lung. I was told to go home and get my affairs in order. I then had 2 thoracotomies whereby my tumours were wedged out. I started a BCG vaccine to boost my immune system but less than a year later, mets appeared in my lungs again. I went on low dose Interferon for two years and felt horrible the entire time.
In 2004 I was scheduled for 2 more thoracotomies to remove 6 mets from each lung. These surgeries are very difficult but I was determined. Not long after this, a tumour came back in each lung . I had read about radio frequency ablation (RFC).After some research I found out it was available in Toronto.I had the RFC surgery but six months after this treatment, it seemed that the tumour on one lung had died but the other lung tumour was inflamed.Eight months after the RFA the CT scan showed that this tumor was growing back and was now 5 cm. I also had 2 lung bleeds at this time. In December 2005, I panicked at the size of the 5 cm tumor and contacted the oncologist. I started 50 mg of Sutent and now over three years later I am still on it. This same 5 cm tumour has decreased one to two cm. I have had all the side effects.
In the past 6 months this same tumor has continued to grow to 4.3 cm. I have just gotten home from the hospital in Toronto where I have had two lobes removed to take out the tumour. This was my fifth lung surgery and certainly the hardest.
Throughout my 14 year battle, I am more conscious of the importance of prayers, faith, nutrition, exercise and surrounding my self with love. I am 52 years of age now and will continue to seek new treatments and try to stay away from any more surgeries!
I am forever appreciative of everyone involved with the on line support groups.