I have stage four kidney cancer, I am slowly dying, this is the background story for any who are interested.
It all began the weekend of July 4, 2018. While happily walking around the LA Convention Center with my best friend John in what has become an annual tradition where we spend four days hanging around a hundred thousands other anime geeks at Anime Expo, I started having involuntary dry coughing. It was different from a sick cough, and happen when I walked. I fell extreme fatigue and at one point had to sit still for two hours to catch my breath. At this point, these seems to be regular sunstroke and heat exhaustion symptoms and I put them out of my mind.
Over the next month, my respiratory issues became more pronounced. A visit to Costco when the AC was turned low caused me to slowly blacked out and the same standing at the waiting line for food. I still thought maybe residual heatstroke or heat related issues. All while my breathing became harder and harder.
In early August the symptoms became bad enough I went to my family doctor (Dr. Chinh Huynh) and got an emergency inhaler. The first puff of the inhaler provided immediate relief, I stopped coughing for an entire night. It should be noted that around this time my breathing was so weak I could barely raise my arm when doing the chest X-Ray. The inhaler fixed all of that, for the first few weeks at least. At this point in time I could still do some heavy lifting with a lot of wheezing.
Gradually over the next several months my breathing became increasingly more difficult. The inhaler which had worked miracle became largely ineffective and I had a steady rate of rapid weight loss. My weight had been maintained at a steady 182–186lbs for over twenty years without fluctuations outside 180 or 190. In November 2017 I was 186, in May 2018 I was 176, by late October, I weighted in at a measly 145 pounds. I finally went to my family doctor and a blood test was ordered.
The blood test came back with a platelets level of 825, a normal level is 150–379. This is about a 11% indicator of cancer, any sign over 3% warrant referral to a oncologist. So I was referred by my family doctor to my hematologist/oncologist Dr. Vu Phan. My first visit to Dr. Phan’s office did not went well, after talking to me, he thought I was such in a bad shape that he ordered me to check into the E.R. Right away.
My first hospital stay was mostly uneventful, we ruled out a lot of things, but they found nodules in both of my lungs, a sign of cancer metastasis. Eventually, the very last abdominal CT scan done at 9PM on Sunday showed a giant 9.5CM tumor in my right kidney. I was officially given the diagnosis by my oncologist on Tuesday November 6, 2018. Stage 4 kidney cancer.