For millions of Americans obesity is a daily struggle and losing the weight isn't always easy. When diets don't work, where do you turn? More and more people are opting for bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery. Meet Laura Kruse, a Marshfield woman who allowed our cameras to follow her this past year on her bariatric journey.More >>
by Cami Mountain
MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- The last time we sat down with Laura Kruse it was in February, 2009. She was scheduled for bariatric surgery in December 2008. That surgery was put on hold by an unexpected medical emergency.
It was during one of Laura Kruse's final medical tests before her scheduled bariatric surgery that her dreams of weight loss were nearly dashed.
"More people were coming in and looking, then a half hour scan was an hour and a half later." Kruse says, "I should have known something was up. But, I'm figuring whatever. Just go ahead and do it. They found a tumor in my kidney."
That tumor, found thanks to a student doctor who scanned more of Laura's abdomen than normal procedure. The scan is meant to rule out gall stones. Going over the kidney isn't necessary.
But her surgeon Dr. Bijaya Nirujogi says the extra scan potentially saved Laura.
The tumor was Renal Cell Cancer, found at just the right time.
"When we go in for doing this laparoscopic surgery we don't nearly ever look at the kidneys." Dr. Nirujogi says, "We would have definitely missed it at surgery."
The fact that Laura had no symptoms, no appetite or weight loss, surprised doctors.
Dr. Nirujogi says, "It was just by pure coincidence that we found this when we went in to look for gall stones."
That small coincidence leads to a full kidney removal. Taking out the kidney also took away the cancer.
But Laura's weight loss surgery was halted for about two months. It was a surgery she didn't want to put on the back burner.
"To be honest, at first I was really upset." Laura remember, "I was so ready for this surgery. That gall bladder scan was done I think a week before my surgery was going to occur. I was prepped, I was ready. I kept saying, 'No. No. This isn't right and she kept saying, 'Don't worry. We'll get the kidney then we'll move on.' I was more upset that this is something bugging me that I can't get my regular surgery done."
But with all said and done, Laura is grateful even more for bariatric surgery. She always knew it would save her life. She had no idea in just how many ways.
"I do think I had an angel on my shoulder." Laura says, "It was a combination of events that went together. If they had not found it, it would have been a couple of years down the way it would have spread outside the kidney and I would have been in not very good shape."
Laura is cancer free and is just on a monitoring basis with doctors.
Friday morning on Wake Up Wisconsin, in the last part of this special report, it's been one year since our first meeting with Laura and about six months since her surgery.