Michelle M.

Kidney Cancer - Stage IV

michelle m kidney cancer patient
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The doctors and clinicians at CTCA worked with me to find treatments to help me fight the cancer, and even provided supportive care services to help me manage side effects. They provide nutritional ideas and naturopathic supplements to help me stay strong throughout treatment. It was the kind of whole-person support I was looking for.

I live in LaGrange, Georgia, with my husband and two children. In 2014, my mother, Brenda, was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was scared because we are so close, and I didn’t want anything to happen to her. My grandfather had cancer, and he was taken from us too soon. His passing was very hard for my family.

My mom’s treatment journey led her to Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). The hospital was an easy choice because it was so close to us both and we had always heard such great things about it. Throughout my mother’s treatment, I accompanied her to many appointments. I was always impressed with the hospital’s commitment to patient care. We felt so connected to her care team and other patients. Going there felt like home. My mom completed breast cancer treatment at CTCA® after scans found no evidence of cancer.

We were still celebrating my mother’s recovery when I started having pain on my left side that radiated to my groin. I visited my primary care doctor, but the source of the issue wasn’t discovered. Then I started coughing and struggled with breathing. I was referred to a pulmonologist, and we tried different inhalers and treatments, but it wasn’t getting any better. Finally, I got a CT scan of my abdomen and chest.

The doctor called me a few days later and asked me to come into the office that day. He told me I had stage IV renal cell carcinoma. The cancer had already spread to my lungs. It was a shock to me. He told me that he had set up an appointment for me with a medical oncologist. I told him I needed to digest everything, and I needed time to discuss what I wanted to do with my family.

I went out to the parking lot and sat in my car. When I tried calling and couldn’t get ahold of my husband, I called my mama. She immediately said to me that I should go to CTCA. So, I got on the phone and called them, while my mom prayed for me. I quickly got an appointment and met with my care team. I knew that I was where I needed to be for cancer treatment.

I started treatment at CTCA in October 2017. I was given a targeted drug. But after a year and a half, it stopped working. My medical oncologist acted quickly and started me on a new treatment that was only recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. I get an infusion every three weeks and take pills twice a day. My doctor is very positive about this new treatment, and that gives me hope.

Surrounded by support

The doctors and clinicians at CTCA worked with me to find treatments to help me fight the cancer, and even provided supportive care services to help me manage side effects. They provide nutritional ideas and naturopathic supplements to help me stay strong throughout treatment. It was the kind of whole-person support I was looking for.

What I appreciate most is how CTCA values and understands that time is so important to cancer patients. When scheduling appointments, I am able to get in to see my doctors and clinicians when I need to. Tests and lab results are turned around quickly, usually within a day or two. Office wait times are reduced as much as possible. There are schedulers who are really flexible and work with you if anything needs to be moved around or changed.

CTCA truly feels like home. Whenever I go to the hospital, I hug so many people. From nurses to custodians to patients, it feels like I am visiting family. My doctor walks in and hugs me first thing, before he even says anything. It’s comforting knowing that I am surrounded by love and support.

A blessing in my life

I would recommend CTCA to any family member or friend because at the hospital in Atlanta, everything is all in one place. You don’t have to drive across town, sit in traffic driving to different doctors or coordinate all the appointments on your own. This allows you to focus on fighting cancer and not feel overwhelmed.

My mom and I feel blessed that we found CTCA. The hospital is an answer to our prayers. I share my story with everyone I meet, and I can’t say enough great things about my experience.

I cherish the time I have with my friends and family. While I am still fighting my cancer, I have hope. I feel good. You wouldn’t believe how many people have said to me, “What? You have stage IV kidney cancer? No way!” I feel like I have CTCA to thank for that!

Diagnosed:
2017
Treatment at:
Care team