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Nebraska grandma doesn't dwell on cancer diagnosis

Posted at 7:57 AM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 08:57:41-04

You may have noticed the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center lit up orange.  It is to bring awareness to Kidney Cancer, the cancer that took the life of Fred Buffett in 1997. Since then, there have been many medical advancements.

Kim Byrd of North Bend, Nebraska, loves being a grandma.  But, recently she hasn't been able to be as active with her eight-month-old granddaughter.  Byrd is recovering from having her left kidney removed. 

"Every day was an improvement.  I feel like I've bounced back pretty quickly," said Byrd. 

In early February, the mother of four noticed blood in her urine and had discomfort in her side.  She went to the doctor and was diagnosed with a UTI.  But, the side effects didn't go away.  A month later she insisted on getting a CT Scan at Nebraska Medicine. 

"After getting some scans, it looked like she had some kidney cancer and it had spread to her lungs," said Dr. Chad Lagrange, a urologist at Nebraska Medicine. 

"I definitely asked is it something I ate or drank or did? I was blaming coffee," Byrd. 

Dr. LaGrange says her lifestyle didn't cause the cancer.  Even though it has spread to her lungs and isn't curable, it is controllable through medical therapy. LaGrange says Byrd is lucky to she took the warning signs like blood in her urine and pain in her kidney area seriously. 

"Some of the most prognostic signs for kidney cancer are your overall health and hell well you are functioning and she in great shape and very active so I think she is going to do well," he said. 

Byrd says she won't know the next step in her treatment until her appointment at the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in a few weeks. 

"Life goes on," she said, "it doesn't stop just because something happened to you." 

For now, she isn't dwelling on the diagnosis. She has faith, family and another grandbaby on the way to keep her positive. 

"I don't have a bucket list," Byrd said, "it is just as important to be with people and friends and family."