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This is a guest post by Hector Perez, a KCA Ambassador.

It’s been 12 years since I was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (RCC). There are still several nodules; however, they are under control and to this day I continue to lead a normal life and work. Right now, I am on Cabometyx 20 mg, but it took a long time to get here.

In October 2006, I went to the urologist where I lived in Puerto Rico because I urinated blood. A sonogram showed a mass in the left kidney. I had surgery to remove my left kidney but it was a difficult operation and my pancreas and spleen were also affected and I was placed in intensive care due to internal bleeding.

I managed to recover and kept working to continue leading a normal life but in 2012, follow up scans showed some small spots that tested positive for RCC after a biopsy. The doctor referred me to an oncologist colleague who started me on the chemotherapy Sutent.

Hector Perez enjoying good times with family and friends.

In 2017, I moved from Puerto Rico to Florida and began to see another oncologist. My ongoing treatment was no longer effective and they started me on Yervoy and another medication that I don’t remember the name of. However, that stopped being effective within a year.

Within the Orlando Health facility, I was offered to enter a research program using the drug Cabometyx. I automatically said yes, I have always thought of these opportunities as having more time in my life to do the things I love. Although I had to discontinue it for a while due to infections and Covid, to this day I continue with Cabometyx 20 mg.

My biggest problem was managing side effects from the Sutent and we had to adjust the dose and schedule a few times because of upset stomach. It also made food taste like metal, which was frustrating. The Cabometyx was worse than the Sutent at first, so my doctor and I lowered the dose until we found the right one.

In the past 12 years I have learned to look forward and improve my quality of life beyond having my diagnosis.

By March 2022 I stopped drinking soda and started changing my eating style. That summer, I started a healthy eating program with my nutritionist Michelle Peiret that has helped me lower insulin levels, cleanse my body of metals, and lose weight. At the moment, I walk a minimum of four miles a day. As a hobby, I go to exhibitions, rallies, and sports events with my friends in my 2020 Corvette. I enjoy life very much and enjoy spending time with my family and friends drinking wine and eating good food. I have made several trips and among them I have visited several vineyards – unforgettable experiences.

I saw my life differently since I had my operation in 2007. When I had the RCC relapse in 2012, I said to myself: “This is another test that life is giving me.”

I decided to open my Facebook and Instagram pages with the intention that my family, my friends and people would see how I am struggling with my cancer condition. I publish all my life including medical visits, studies, and social life. Everyone started supporting me with their likes and positive comments.

As I say to everyone: we may have an accident, a fall or heart attack. I know what my condition is and how to handle it. Every day I wake up and open my eyes I thank God for another new day. For my birthday, which coincidentally happens to be in March, I am asking my friends for a donation on my Facebook page for the Kidney Cancer Association.

I also want to recognize Dr. Ricardo Sanchez Ortiz, urologist oncologist who performed the surgery back in Puerto Rico, Dr. José Lozada Costa oncologist in Puerto Rico, Dr. Julio Hajderberg, oncologist in Orlando, FL and Dr. Daniel Landau, current oncologist. Everyone has managed effectively my condition and that is why I am here.

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