Silence. Followed by,
“That’s not good.”
I suppose there are a lot of things a person can say when an innocuous trip to the bathroom turns into a toilet-full of blood. In my case, due to many years in the church, and a still-in-tact holy reverence for not wanting to piss-off God at a time of crisis by exclaiming things like,
“Ohhh, fuck no!”
I tend to go to that inward, generally understated place of expression. That place where I take into myself all the external control of an airline pilot who knows his plane is going down, but still believes that if he acts calmly and rationally, he and everyone sitting behind him aren’t going to die.
Yep, I’m THAT guy.
Even with THIS.
Although, I’d never had a THIS before.
So, about the blood. This was the first symptom. Turns out that there are only a few possibilities for what “blood in the urine” is a symptom of. But since I had not experienced extreme urethral pain during urination (possible kidney stones), or an extreme beating in the ring like Apollo Creed’s kid experienced at the hands of Ivan Drago’s kid in the movie Creed II, that left the only other high-percentage possibility for what “blood in the urine” is a symptom of. Renal Cell Carcinoma, or in plain language, kidney cancer.
This all began at 5:21 pm, on a Thursday in August. In the meantime, through all the exchanging of emails with my doctor, and appointments made for lab work to be done on Saturday, I spent the next 36 hours alone with my thoughts, and peeing blood. Then, on the morning I was to head for the lab, the blood in my urine stopped.
Just in time for the pain in my kidney to start.
Pain that got so bad so fast, I skipped the lab appointment altogether, and went straight to the ER. This was the second symptom.
Side note. Let me take a moment here to affirm that hospitals really do have the best drugs. Because by 10 am on Saturday, the pain that woke me up 5 hours earlier was all the way gone. By 11 am, all the blood and urine the lab was supposed to have helped itself to at 8 am was drawn into vials or drained into cups . By noon, I was being gurneyed into the imaging room for a CT scan. And before 1 pm, I was being told by the ER doc that the CT scan showed a mass on my right kidney that was troubling enough for him to schedule a second CT before I could even change out of the grippy socks on my feet and the hospital johnny, flap open around my ass.
Finally, as I was riding the gurney back through the halls from ER to imaging, that was when the third symptom hit.
The third symptom was fear.
(c) copyright 2020 William S. Friday