Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dad’s Surgery Update

People have asked me for updates on Dad’s surgery. I’ve given updates on Facebook, but not everyone is on there. Why is that? So, here’s the run-down for everyone else.

Dad was born with one kidney. This wasn’t discovered until he had surgery in the late 1980s. Everything was fine for most of his life and many people live long lives with one kidney.

A couple of years ago a doctor discovered a mass on his one kidney. They monitored it and then this year decided that something should be done. The mass was most likely a tumor. The tumor, in addition to rising creatine levels, made surgery necessary.

The typical surgery for a kidney tumor is partial or complete nephrectomy, or removal of the kidney. In this case, this was not an option given that he only has one. Kidney tumors are always treated as if they are malignant because they do not respond well to traditional cancer treatment like radiation and chemotherapy. Thankfully, they rarely metastasize. Dad, Mom and the doctors opted instead for a Laparoscopic Renal Cryoablation.

Cryoablation is essentially the freezing of the tumor, in place, until the tissue is dead. The surgery was on Tuesday, March 10th and Clarian North in Carmel. It involved the insertion of several needles and scopes into his side and a carefully controlled injection of -40 degree Celsius inert gas into the tumor. The surgery went well and as far as everyone can tell the tumor is completely dormant.

A couple of days after the surgery, the kidney shut down. He stopped producing urine and his creatine levels shot up. The doctors immediately ordered him to start dialysis. Fortunately, this was something he and Mom were prepared for. He was in the hospital longer than we would have liked, about a week, before he went home. After returning home he immediately started a dialysis routine in Lebanon.

The dialysis center in Lebanon has only been open a few years. Without it he would have had to drive to Indy 3 days a week. Mom opted to not return to work to care for Dad and get him back and forth to treatment. He was on dialysis for about a month when he got the surprising news from the doctors that they were going to take him off the treatment! Turns out that his kidney function has bounced back after the stress of the surgery. His kidney is still failing, but he is no longer in end stage failure. They’re going to monitor him every couple of week, but at least for now, no more dialysis!

So, that’s the update! Dad’s doing well we’ll hopefully see him, Mom, George and Dawnielle this weekend. Oh, and happy 76th birthday to Dad and happy Earth Day!


superwick said...

Thanks for posting this, Jim. I'm glad to hear he's recovering well. Happy birthday to him!

Top Toad said...

That sounds like good news - thanks for the update

Ryan said...

That's spectacular news. Glad to hear the kidney bounced back!