Katy Tucker is wife and mother of three from Willis, Texas, who enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren and practicing yoga. She is also living with kidney cancer and is an inspiration to others with this disease. Now 64, Katy was diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer in 2006. She has been living with and fighting kidney cancer for the past four years undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, and taking Sutent, an oral therapy approved for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer.
A warrior for the fight against kidney cancer, Katy participated in a golf tournament to raise money for cancer research last April.
Here’s Katy’s personal story as told to Denene Brox
I was diagnosed on January 12, 2006. It was a Thursday and my husband and I were all ready to run in a marathon to celebrate us turning 60. I woke up at about three in the morning and had to go to the restroom. At about four I was up again. As the time progressed I started feeling nauseous. I was thinking, I don’t have time for this; I’m doing the Houston Marathon. I don’t have time to be feeling bad; maybe it’s just nerves. And then at about 5:30 a.m., I was freezing cold. I felt like someone had put me in a cooler and walked away and left me in it. I couldn’t get warm and I was still feeling nauseous. I was thinking to myself, I’m not pregnant -- I’m too old. I was going through all the little things thinking, it can’t be that, it can’t be this, don’t have time for this. I workout. I’m in great shape and ready to go.
And then the severe pain started in and I describe it as like child birth. I would get onto the floor and breath and do stretching here and there. I woke up my husband and told him I was freezing and told him about pain. By 7:30 a.m., I realized that I needed to call the doctor. I called my doctor and he said that I needed to go to the hospital or to urgent care right away. We decided to go to the hospital, thank goodness. I told them all of my symptoms. They said I had the same symptoms as kidney stones. They gave me something for the pain and I had a CAT scan.
I was never in pain again, like that pain. After my doctor saw the CAT scan he wanted to admit me.
I don’t think I had any symptoms leading up to that night. But when I look back, the one thing that sticks in my mind more than anything else is when I was in San Diego visiting my daughter and son-in-law. My grandson caught the flu and we all got it, but I got it longer. That’s the only thing that I could think of.
I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The tumor was 15 centimeters, stage four. I had my surgery February 15.
I recovered and six weeks later I was back teaching yoga. I felt good. And then in November of 2006, they found that it had spread to my lymph nodes and lungs. I also had a tumor in the back of my head. They put me on Nexafar starting on December 14 of 2006 and they took me off of it in May of 2007.
My advice to others with kidney cancer: Get up, get walking, and get living life. Treat is as your part-time job. Follow your doctor’s instructions. I have side effects, yes, from the chemo I’m on now. Get your body moving. Use your mind. Don’t dwell on it, work on it. Was I scared before the surgery? Yes, I was scared. But, I was not worried. I felt I was at the best place with the best doctors. And the doctor’s said, you live life and we’ll treat your cancer.