Local man seeks record for large kidney
By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on October 27, 2010 2:01 PM
A Wayne County cancer survivor is seeking an unusual recognition in the Guinness World Records.
Eugene Tyner was at home in December 2007 when he felt a sharp pain in his side, the first and only warning the 28-year-old had that something was wrong with him.
The next thing that he knew, he was waking up in Wayne Memorial Hospital, where he and his family received the bad news: The doctors suspected that Tyner had kidney cancer.
At that time, just making it to his 29th birthday was his biggest worry, Tyner said.
"You don't know what's going on, you just know your kidney's bleeding. Then the doctors throw the big 'c' in front of you," he said.
When a surgeon tried to remove Tyner's left kidney through laparoscopic surgery, he quickly realized that the kidney was so swollen, it wouldn't fit through the incision. Most human kidneys weigh about 140 grams, but Tyner's weighed about 332 grams, and was about 16 centimeters long, according to a pathology report, which Tyner thinks could be a world record.
Doctors confirmed the cancer diagnosis, and revealed that the organ had grown to its unnatural size due to the hemorrhagic cyst and cancerous cells inside it. The kidney was so large that it had even pushed his other internal organs out of place, Tyner said.
Tyner was declared cancer-free after his kidney was removed, but ongoing health problems forced him to leave his job as a prison guard. Now 31 years old, he spends his time volunteering at Stepping Stone Stables, helping to care for the horses the stable uses for its therapeutic riding program, and telling his story as a survivor.
Tyner is also still a part of a 10-year experimental cancer fighting drug trial, which he hopes will help others facing a cancer battle, he said.
The Tyner family has had other loved ones affected by cancer, and Tyner is determined to do his part to help those who are suffering from the disease. Trying to get into the Guinness World Records is his way of spreading cancer awareness and encouraging others to pay attention to their health, Tyner said.
"All I can say is, get your exams done," he said.
His mother, Tammy Tyner, knows the value that others can take away from hearing a survivor's story. Before her son was diagnosed, a friend went through treatments and surgery for breast cancer. Now, Mrs. Tyner never takes chances with her own medical screenings.
"I go every year, like clockwork. I do not miss a year," she said.
It will take about a month for Tyner to find out if his entry qualifies for the Guinness World Records, and another six to eight months before they find out if his name will actually appear in an entry. But Tyner believes his was easily the largest kidney ever removed from a human.
Additionally, Tyner is planning a trail ride fundraiser, set for next spring at Stepping Stone Stables, to collect money for the American Cancer Society. He's also participated in the Relay for Life survivor's banquet, and is very grateful for the care he received from Wayne Urology, Wayne Memorial Hospital and the Southeastern Medical Oncology Center, and the support from Belfast Pentecostal Holiness and the Lord's Vineyard churches, he said.