My Dad has Kidney Cancer (신장암)

High Level:  My  dad has Kidney Cancer which has metastasized into the brain, and a little bit into the lungs. 

I have been keeping track of things as they happen, but I wanted to wait for more information before posting.  I will be updating my blog as treatment and consultations arise.  Please pray for a quick and simple treatment and recovery for my dad, as well as the rest of our family who is worried.

The Beginning

My dad bumped his head on the garage door the week of June 20th.

The week of the 27th, my mom noticed his right foot dragging a little.  They went to the doctor to make sure it wasn’t mini stroke related since this can lead to full out strokes.

June 30th Thursday they went to get an MRI pre request of family physician

July 1st Friday  the MRI results found there were two masses (tumors?) in his brain and therefore a CAT Scan was scheduled for today.

July 2nd to 4th Saturday to Monday = 4th of July Holiday Weekend, have to wait til after the holiday weekend

July 5th Tuesday  didn’t hear anything all day which isn’t helping with the anxiety and stress of everything

July 6th Wednesday Heard from the Family Physician in the evening.  Found out it is kidney cancer.  Hopefully with treatment this can be taken care of which would also take care of what is going on the brain.

My dad had called his sister, and found out an aunt or cousin had kidney cancer and it was treated and she lived or is living for 40 years+ more – they are distantly related though, but it is still in the family.

July 7th Thursday this morning, an appointment was made for tomorrow at 9am with the Oncologist where we will find out treatment and severity.

Trouble Walking

July 7 Thursday 2011 – Dinner visit with my parents and my friend Adrienne

Dad had a little trouble walking.  After getting up the stairs, he was in the doorway to the kitchen and swaying back and forth like his brain knew he should walk, but his leg wasn’t advancing.  It took a few minutes, but then he was able to walk and went to sit down to rest.  They had been running a lot of errands that day.

Visit to the Oncologist

July 8 Friday 2011

We met with the oncologist at REX in the morning.  We found that the MRI showed there are abnormalities/lesions in the brain and the swelling is affecting his balance.  They put him on a steroid prescription for the swelling in the brain and another prescription to take to prevent ulcers from the steroids.

The CAT Scan showed the Kidney Tumor (4cm) which is the largest one.  There are scattered tumors in the lungs which are very small.  She is presuming Kidney Cancer (which is a random mutation) and slow growing.  A biopsy is needed to determine exactly what stage it is in now.

Because it has spread, surgery only to take out the one kidney does not seem to be an option.  He will also need chemotherapy to also address the lungs and radiation for the brain.  The brain, being the most important organ is the first to be taken care of via radiation for brain lesions.  May be two or six weeks of treatment?  It will be based on treatment prescribed which is un-determined until we meet with the Radiology Oncologist.

Kidney Biopsy  will be scheduled for Monday (June 11th)

A prognosis will be based on lab work and reviewing MRI additionally.  Blood was taken today for lab review to check hemoglobin and calcium, etc.  results possibly this afternoon.

They will meet with a  dietician in a week or so.

Because he is a good weight, does not smoke or drink, and is in good health, there are more options available to him which is really good

My dad said “I feel like wall-e, just find the right parts and pop them in”

For now, what he is supposed to do is maintain his current weight and eat lean protein such as chicken and fish, and Do NOT Take Aspirin or Motrin, because he is more at risk for bleeding


July 11 Monday 2011

I woke up at 6am-ish to pick up my parents.  We got to the hospital around 7:30am since he was supposed to be there for 8am – the biopsy was scheduled for 9:30am.

We expected him back in an hour-ish, but it took about 2.  We found out they took 3 passes with the small needle and then they used a larger needle to get enough tissue samples of his kidney.  The procedure is to take a pass > send it to the lab > wait to hear back to see if they got enough tissue (takes about 10-15 minutes) keep doing this until they get a large enough sample.  He is awake for the whole process, they numb the area they are sticking the long needle into.

He got back to his cube/room around noon.  It took about an hour longer than expected, and he has to rest until 1:30 or 2:00pm to walk a bit and then we are going straight to see the Oncology Radiologist for his consultation and treatment.  They should have biopsy results in about 2 days.

Because the biopsy took longer than expected, our original appointment with the Radiology Oncologist had to be moved and they were working us in, so we waited until around 3:45pm and Met with met with the Nurse and then the Doctor


There will be 14 treatments of radiation that last about 10 minutes each to the brain will start tomorrow (12 July Tuesday 2011) with a 70-80% shrinkage rate.  Afterwards, he will likely go on a targeted agent chemo pill for several months.

At 4:30pm he got a head scan/simulation mask of head  for the radiation which is so the head will be completely still during radiation.  Side effects MAY be: loss of hair where radiation was done towards the end of the treatments (likely to grow back), and short term memory loss which would be later on, and there is only a 25-30% chance of that.

Change of Plans

July 12 Tuesday 2011

My dad was supposed to start his radiation treatment today, but this morning I got a call from the Radiology Oncologist.  There has been a change in plans.  We will need to go to UNC tomorrow to talk to another doctor who specializes in Cyber-Knife to discuss several options (radiation only, cyber knife/surgery, both?  treating the whole brain versus partial, etc,).

I need to get a copy of the disc with the MRI results today to bring with us tomorrow.  Picked up the disk around 1:30pm

Around 3:00pm got a call from UNC.  We will be meeting for consultations, a Neurosurgeon at 9:30am tomorrow and then the doctor who specializes in cyber knife at 1:00pm.  Another long day.

Thoughts and Prayers

As mentioned above, I will update my blog with details and such at some point since things change fairly often.  Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

4 thoughts on “My Dad has Kidney Cancer (신장암)

  1. Marion Shabatun says:

    Thank you Sue-Leigh for the latest updates on my brother’s medical condition. We all hope and pray for his recovery. Aunt Marion

  2. Emily says:

    I found your blog post while googling various forms of “kidney cancer” + “radiation”. My daddy is currently experiencing the same thing. Best of luck to you, him, and your family.


    • ~Sue-Leigh says:

      Thank you Emily,
      I wish you the best also. Let me know if you have any questions about what we are going through.

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