Daily Archives: November 7, 2008

Questions answered….

Quite a few people have asked why the surgery is so risky, and other questions so answering in blog posts vs. one on one is a bit easier.

First, the surgery is an open radical nephrectomy. Which means they do about a 20 inch incision, and open the fat, muscle, etc, wide open to get to the abdominal cavity and my kidney. Since I am fat, they have to have that large of an incision to retract everything enough to see it.

The radical part is the full kidney, adrenal gland, lymph nodes, and surrounding fat have to go. That is fairly traumatic to the body, even though the kidney really isn’t that hard on its own to remove as it is only a few attachments to the body.

There is a risk of blood loss, a huge risk of infection, a risk of them nicking another organ, entering the chest cavity (and collapsing a lung), and of breakdown of the incision. There is a risk or the incision ripping itself back open in a catastrophic manner. Or it just opening enough to allow a hernia, which could be dangerous as well.

The risk of death in an average person having a nephrectomy is 2%. I do not have a number for someone my size, as there aren’t that many supersize people having nephrectomies.

Following the surgery, I have to be able to get up and get moving. As most of y’all know I use a cane/walker/wheelchair to get around depending upon the day. I have bone and muscle issues that cause severe pain with walking (things that have nothing to do w/ my weight before anyone says that, although being thinner would make those issues easier to work around.) So, I have to walk. No matter how much the pain, I have to be up on my walker and moving to prevent wound breakdown, to prevent blood clots that go to my lungs, to prevent pneumonia.

Luckily, the fact that I quite smoking 2 years ago, and am not on the birth control pill lowers my risk of blood clots, but, my father did have pulmonary embolisms following surgery about 10.5 years ago, which makes a family history of it.

I am going to make it through this though. Complications or not, I will get out of that hospital as quickly as possible. I will be ok and will be home for Christmas morning.