During kidney cancer treatment, yoga instructor finds her Zen

Over the last 11 years, Katy Tucker has endured a nephrectomy, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery and six chemotherapy drugs. And though the 71-year-old’s kidney cancer treatment continues, she remains as upbeat as ever. “I’m blessed. I know I’m blessed,” she says. A stage IV kidney cancer diagnosis Katy was getting ready to run a half-marathon at age 60 when she woke up one morning in January 2006 with a sharp pain on her left side. “I called my doctor and he said, ‘Go to the ER because it sounds like kidney stones,’” she recalls. But a CT scan revealed a tumor larger than an orange on her left kidney. She had stage IV renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. “We were shocked. It was the furthest thing from my mind,” says the yoga and swim instructor who’d always kept up with her physicals and screenings.  “We came home and my dear husband went to the computer and printed everything about renal cell carcinoma. It wasn’t more than three minutes before he says, ‘I’m taking this away. We’re not going to read it,’” she says. “I put more weight on the positives and my husband does, too.” Stage IV kidney cancer treatment The following week, Katy and her husband met with Surena Matin, M.D., who determined her tumor was too big for laparoscopic surgery; so a few weeks later, on February 15, 2006, Louis Pisters, M.D., surgically removed Katy’s left kidney. She showed no evidence of disease for nine months, until a CT scan showed that the cancer had returned to the site of her surgery and...