Things have been quiet on the blog for the past couple of months. This has been due to a momentous event in my life.
In early November 2013, I had a really bad stomach ache. I visited my local doctor, who suggested that I get a CT scan of my stomach just to double check if there was anything wrong. There was something wrong – a 3 cm white lump in my kidney. My doctor referred me to an urologist, who told my wife and I that there was a very high chance that the lump was cancerous. He gave me two options – keyhole surgery and total removal of one kidney, or being cut open and only the affected part being removed. I chose the latter, and went into surgery in mid-January 2014. The surgery was a total success, with 75% of the kidney being saved. I spent a week in hospital before coming home for 5-6 weeks of recovery. I was fortunate that I needed no chemotherapy after the surgery.
My wife had decided to take the first term off from school (she is a teacher) to look after me, but also because she needed a break. This lead to some financial stress – my income had dried up as I had not worked after November 2013. Luckily I had taken up 10 years ago trauma insurance as part of my life insurance policy, as with the tumour being cancerous, we were entitled to a full compensation payout. We were shocked by the payout – we now own our own home, and have money to spare!
This is something that is very hard to comprehend. You grow up expecting to spend the rest of your life paying off a mortgage, and to have that financial weight removed changes everything. We are going to be sensible, and speak to our financial planner about investing some of the money, so that it is still earning something.
However, we have decided that we are going to enjoy ourselves – we can now afford to go out on a regular basis and “live”. We are going to our first pop concert as a couple in a week’s time, and we have invited one of my wife’s teacher friends and her husband along as our guests.
One of the downsides of my recovery was being forced to sit at home and do nothing. Luckily I had arranged in late November 2013 for a couple of jobs to come through in late February, and I was able to start work. My laptop had died, and I used the payout to get a new Mac. I have enjoyed getting back to work – it has given me purpose, and I enjoy the intellectual stimulation!
My wife and I have also decided to give back to people who have helped us, especially in regard to the services that have been provided to our son Daniel. Daniel started kindergarten in a mainstream class, and this is due to the people who have helped us out, such as speech therapists, occupational therapists and early intervention. So we will make donations to all of these services, along with a donation to the NSW Cancer Council, when our urologist told us of the cancer rates in New South Wales.
In regard to my recovery, I will need to have regular scans to keep a track on whether or not the cancer will return. The urologist thinks the chance of a return is very minimal, but you never can tell!