Linda Kelly

First post: Apr 18, 2023 Latest post: Sep 28, 2023
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If you’re ever jolted awake at the ungodly hour of 3:17am for no apparent reason, pay attention; it’s most likely the Godly hour.  Many decisions I’ve wrestled with over the years during daylight hours have been resolved in the middle of the night – 3:17 am to be exact – when that metaphorical light bulb goes on and suddenly, everything becomes very clear.


Almost nine years ago at 3:17am, one cold winter night, I was jolted awake by a clear and urgent inner voice telling me to go to the emergency room. I went. After being treated for the previous two years by my primary care physician for what she said was “just” heartburn and high blood pressure, attributable to “getting older”, it turned out to be much more serious.


Initially, CT scans indicated renal cell cancer limited to my left kidney. The doctors believed the kidney, along with the grapefruit-sized tumor attached to it, could be removed and result in a cancer-free me. For quite a while, it really looked as if I had “dodged the bullet,” but routine scans two years after the initial diagnosis, revealed that the cancer, originally termed a stage 1, had spread to several other organs making it, in fact, a stage 4.


Since there is no chemotherapy for stage 4 renal cell carcinoma, my treatment options were limited surgery to remove the kidney and tumor, ablations on liver tumors, and surgery to remove a thyroid tumor. There are some experimental drugs with horrific side effects, but those don’t seem to be an acceptable option for me. So, unfortunately, there is no way to treat the other tumors lurking in my remaining kidney, liver, pancreas other organs. The tumors in my pancreas have been the most numerous and the naughtiest, wreaking havoc with my digestive system. In January of this year, in the presence of widespread tumor growth, my oncologist told us there was nothing more to be done and that it might be time to consider hospice. He thought I might have six months before the end. And here I am 10 months later.


God blessed me with time to enjoy this summer with my family and friends and even a short trip up to Door County a few weeks ago for which I am very grateful. I can say with great honesty, humility, and gratitude, the entire journey has been a great gift!  To be graced with so much notice of one’s “departure date;” to be graced with almost nine additional years of an active, quality life; to be graced with an amazing group of dear friends and loving family for support – well, it really has all been a wonderful gift! I am truly blessed!


Thank you for all your prayers. They work!