In February 2008, I had pain in my right flank area that lasted in the same spot all night. Thinking it could be a kidney stone, I went to the ER the next morning and they checked my urine and did a CT scan. No stone just a UTI, but they saw a shadow on my kidney, so the doctor ordered a MRI. The MRI showed a right kidney tumor which tested positive for cancer. I was sent to specialist to remove the tumor laparoscopically and save most of the kidney. So this is what I did.
The following month I went in to a New York hospital and had the surgery. The doctor saved 95% of my kidney with no chemo or radiation needed. They left a kidney stent in to be removed in 4 weeks as it healed. I was released from the hospital in 3 days with no restrictions. I could shower till sterile strips fell off. The doctor told me to go to my local urologist and have the stent removed in 4 weeks and make a follow up appointment to see him after. So I went home and rested. I asked to go visit my daughter in CA for a few days before I went back to work. I was told I could go.
A few weeks after the surgery, the left back of my shoulder was bothering me like I slept wrong on my muscle. I got to CA and in 2 days I got the chills and felt like I was getting the flu. My shoulder/neck was hurting with a temp of 102. Then I was getting worse and couldn’t pick my head off the pillow. My daughter called the ambulance and took me to a hospital in Southern California. They did a spinal tap, testing me for meningitis. It came back negative but I continued to get worse. They admitted me and my blood work showed an infection. Then my neck started to swell on the left side where my shoulder hurt. They wanted to do an MRI, but they were concerned if there was metal in the stent. It took 2 days for the New York doctor to get back to the doctors in CA as I continued to get worse. They finally did and it showed I had an abscess wrapped around my cervical spine at C-3 to C-5. I was rushed into surgery with no choice–it was MRSA and osteomyelitis. They took me to recovery room and I noticed I couldn’t move any of my limbs. They called in a neurosurgeon who took me back into surgery and he did a corpectomy, put a bridge and 4 screws and hoped I would move again. I was put in the ICU on a ventilator to breath. My doctor told my family it was touch and go with the infection in my blood.
About 5-6 days later I improved and got off the ventilator. I was transferred to rehab and had to learn to do everything all over again. At this time I had quadro paralysis and spent 1 1/2 months in rehab until I could be shipped home to another rehab in New York. All the doctors felt the stent was the source of infection. When I came home I continued to work hard on walking. Doctors said I was a miracle. Now, almost 2 years later, I lost my insurance and I’m still paying off 12 doctors and 4 MRIs. I can’t afford physical therapy anymore; the co-pay is too much and I need it at least 3 times a week. Now I’m falling again and in constant pain. I have found that being a patient you’re nothing but a number. I was a very healthy active 53-year-old. Now my husband takes care of me 24/7.