Mark Baker

First post: Mar 2, 2016 Latest post: Jul 22, 2016
Weekend of the Super Bowl, I felt like I had the flu; achy, tired, upset stomach, everything associated with it but the chest cold. I guessed a kidney infection, you know, take some antibiotics for a week or so and it’s all better, right?

I went to my Primary Care Physician the following Monday, we took a urine sample and as I was about to drive home I got a call back from the doc (pretty unusual, usually it’s a nurse or somebody at the desk when I get a call back) telling me that it would be good if I came in and had some additional testing done, so I did. Turned out they liked the results of the second round of tests even less than they liked the first round.

Bottom line is, I have what was described to me as a “very large cancerous mass” attached to and surrounding my left kidney. Now, as I understand it, if you have to have a cancer, this is the one you want. In most cases the cancer is encapsulated by the kidney, that means once the kidney is removed, so should the cancer, meaning no chemo, radiation, etc. Given the size of the tumor and the difficulty of the operation, there will be a pretty significant recovery period from the surgery (A week or so in the hospital, 6 weeks at home).

A complication is that the cancer has migrated to one of my lungs.  It's a very small spot on the right lung and will be treated after recovery from the surgery.  It'll be chemo, but not the awful kind of chemo.  It'll be a pill that I take daily for 4 weeks, 2 weeks off, and 4 weeks on again, without many of the terrible side effects of traditional chemotherapy.

Please, don’t worry or feel sorry for me about this. I’ve been doing my best to find the positives, one thing I can say for sure is that I’ve had a pretty great life so far! I grabbed ahold of it early and have never stopped squeezing every bit I can out of the life I have--incredible adventure, wonderful people, beautiful things every day. If I get hit by a bus on the way to the doctor’s office, I have no complaints, I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of this ride…and it’s not even over yet! The kindness of people has been humbling and gratifying, too. I don't recommend it, but if you ever want to know how much you're loved, get cancer!  It's been unbelievably touching in so many ways.

If you have any questions or anything, drop me a note. As far as you doing something to help, it’s always nice to hear from friends, especially as I recover and will no doubt be bored half to death! Some of you believe in the power of prayer—if you wish, pray for all of us to take care of each of us, and for me to have the grace to get through this without permanently estranging everybody in my life. Love to you all!

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