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Jay Johnston

Kidney Cancer Survivor 

My story reflects a fortunate set of circumstances which probably saved my life.

While I was going through a routine physical at Fort Knox, Ky., I was advised by the doctor conducting the physical to schedule myself for a colonoscopy. He said to bring the results to him and he would complete my physical.

I had the procedure done on the morning of Friday, Jan. 28,  2011 at the hospital in Frankfort, Ky.. After the procedure I was released and went home. Later that day I started feeling feverish, nauseated and just generally bad. My fever worsened throughout the night and by Saturday morning it was obvious I needed to go to the ER.

On Saturday, Jan. 29, I went to the ER at the Georgetown Hospital. A CT scan of my abdomen revealed micro-perforations in my colon and I was readmitted to the hospital in Frankfort for an overnight stay and for IV antibiotics. The ER doctor who explained all of this to me also said the radiologist noticed a large mass on my left kidney. The doctor said I should see a urologist about the mass.  

When we got in the car to drive to Frankfort, I opened my medical records and read the radiologist’s notes myself. His notes indicated a large mass on my left kidney and that there was a 95% chance of the mass was a clear cell renal carcinoma. I knew then I had just been diagnosed with cancer.  

After speaking to a urologist in Frankfort, I decided to get a second opinion. I spoke to a family friend who had been a nurse in Lexington for 40 years about who I should see. She recommended the UK Urology Clinic and specifically Dr. Crispen. I was able to get an appointment in just a few days, and I was grateful that I did not have long because every day you have untreated cancer seems like an eternity.  

Dr. Crispen immediately put me at ease. He took his time and explained all of the issues to me and answered all of my questions. I knew seeing him was the right choice for me. After another CT scan, Dr. Crispen confirmed the previous diagnosis and I was scheduled for a nephrectomy the following week.  

On the day of my surgery, Feb. 8, I arrived at UK Hospital early in the morning. I was quickly taken back to be prepared for my procedure. The nursing staff did their best to make me feel comfortable. I was given something to help me relax and the next thing I remember is waking up in recovery. I had no pain and was administered medicine to help prevent any nausea. I was really concerned about being sick and the freshly closed wound on my stomach. I never felt sick in recovery and was taken to a regular room in the Markey Cancer Center.  

The level of nursing care I received while at Markey was the best I have ever experienced. My nurse was warm, friendly, helpful and very informative. She made a point to make sure I felt comfortable and genuinely cared for. I was still very worried about being sick, but I only remember becoming nauseated one time. When I told my nurse she immediately gave me medicine to control the nausea and the feeling quickly passed. The rest of my stay at the Markey Cancer Center was as pleasant as any hospital stay could be. I was given instructions by my nurse on what to do to ensure a timely release and I did my best to follow her instructions exactly. Following the plan worked well and I was released after just a few days.  

Dr. Crispen checked on me frequently the day after my surgery and throughout my stay at Markey. He had removed my left kidney because of a large malignant tumor, which was classified as a stage t1b clear cell tumor. Dr. Crispen explained that while it was a large tumor it had not progressed past the kidney capsule and, therefore, I would not need any further treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy.  

I knew then I had just been given a second birthday. My second birthday will forever be February 8, 2011. After celebrating the good news, I asked Dr. Crispen if I was going to be able to attend Bike Week in Daytona Beach that was just three weeks away. He assured me I would, and three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer I was enjoying a warm spring day with friends in Daytona and I was cancer-free!

My after care and follow ups have been just as good as all of my previous experiences with Dr. Crispen and the UK Urology Clinic, and I continue to enjoy good health to this day. I am an Army helicopter pilot and have even been cleared to fly again.

 Learn more about Dr. Crispen. 

Roland Lewis: An Unexpected Diagnosis 

Kidney Cancer Survivor 

When Roland Lewis came to the UK Chandler Emergency Department with stomach pain last August, he got a diagnosis he didn't expect.  

Lewis, 49, had just started server training for his new job at Chuy's restaurant in Lexington. As part of his training, he was required to taste a sample of everything on the menu so that he could offer personal opinions on the food to his customers. He went a little overboard, he admits.  

"Oh, I ate everything," he said with a laugh. 

He ended up in the UK Chandler Emergency Department later, complaining of severe stomach spasms. After several tests including an ultrasound and EKG, the doctors confirmed that he was suffering from acid reflux and gastritis. They were ready to treat and send him home.  

But before Lewis left, they decided to run just one more test to make sure they weren't missing something — a CAT scan.   

That scan showed early stage kidney cancer. Lewis, who says there's no history of cancer in his family, was shocked. He was referred to Dr. Paul Crispen, a urologic oncologist at the UK Markey Cancer Center.  

Dr. Crispen performed a robotic partial nephrectomy, the surgical removal of just part of the kidney. Lewis recovered at home for about six weeks before returning to work. He still receives checkups at regular intervals, but says that his most recent scans showed that his kidney function is perfect.  

His boisterous personality made him a hit with the Markey staff, and Lewis says that he comes to Markey to visit those who cared for him every few months, even when he doesn't have a checkup scheduled.  

"They are just phenomenal people," Lewis said. "They really worked with me through this process." 

 Learn more about Dr. Crispen. 

Michelle K. Brown

Kidney Cancer Survivor 

I am an RN and I work in an oncology office treating patients with chemotherapy. It was quite a surprise to me to find myself on the other side of this situation. After being diagnosed with stage 3 renal cell cancer, I was no longer the nurse in charge; now I was the patient.

Needing surgery, I was sent to a local urologist, and upon his examination he said he would not do this surgery. He said the tumor on my right kidney was approximately the size of a soccer ball, involved the adrenal gland and was invading my main blood vessels. He said I needed a special surgeon and recommended UK HealthCare.

I was anxious now, 130 miles from home, and going to a doctor I did not know in an unfamiliar hospital. I was so relieved after that first appointment. Dr. Paul Crispen answered all our questions and put us at ease. He discussed the surgery and recovery, and he recommended a clinical trial for treatment after surgery. Dr. Crispen was so compassionate. He made my family and I feel completely at ease, and that my case was important.

My surgery was quite remarkable. During my five-day hospitals stay, I received excellent care from all the staff at Markey Cancer Center. I returned to work just six weeks following surgery.

Dr. Crispen referred me to a new physician for my clinical trial. I was very apprehensive about this. He assured me he would continue to follow my case during the clinical trial. And he did. I cannot thank him enough for his excellent care.

I was scheduled for an appointment with Dr. John Rinehart for the clinical trial. Once again, I found myself in the hands of another outstanding UK physician. Dr. Rinehart was so understanding and so easy to talk to. He always made me feel he understood everything I was going through. He addressed all my problems right down to the smallest ones. He is such a kind and caring man, and when I had problems that I had to call in for, he called me at home to follow up on it. I received excellent care.

Clinical trial coordinator Cynthia Leedham is another outstanding member of this team. She became a good friend. She is so conscientious about her work; she always made sure everything was done correctly, at the right time, and the right way. She was always going over and beyond what was expected of her.

It has been two years since my diagnosis and I currently am cancer-free. I am still working full-time in an oncology office giving other patients their chemotherapy treatments. When asked about my own personal cancer experience, surgery and treatment, I am eager to recommend Dr. Paul Crispen and Dr. John Rinehart. They took such exceptional care of me, and all have become an important part of my life.

With a heart full of love and gratitude,
Michelle K. Brown

 Learn more about Dr. Crispen. 

Page last updated: 1/14/2014 1:02:42 PM