Chris Lytle, 71, began having trouble walking to work in November 2021.
“I had to start taking the elevator instead of walking up one flight of stairs,” Chris explained.
“I thought I was in pretty good shape. I’ve been a marathoner and skied the American Birkebeiner in my lifetime.”
Several weeks later, Chris and a friend walked up a small incline on Chattanooga’s scenic lookout mountain.
“All of a sudden I was panting and holding onto my knees for support,” said Chris.
“I was in denial and blamed the altitude, but Lookout Mountain is only 2392 feet, so I was fooling myself.”
According to TNTtribune, Chris walked into a walk-in clinic in early December to get examined. After a medical examination, he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Eventually, he decided it was probably best to go to the emergency room after the medication got earlier only lasted for a few days. In Chattanooga, where he and his wife live, he visited CHI Memorial Hospital.
“I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and had a resting heart rate of 155,” said Chris. A normal resting heart rate for men is between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
After spending a week in the hospital, they informed him he would need to be transferred to Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West for additional care.
Chris was attended to by Dr. Don Chomsky, an expert in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology when he arrived at Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West on December 23rd.
“The plan was to receive an LVAD for my heart failure,” Chris explained.
“They had to run some additional tests and found that I had kidney cancer. The bad news was I couldn’t receive an LVAD but the good news was they could remove the kidney cancer. The team of doctors had to take a couple steps back and make this a priority. They provided me with a step by step of what was going to happen next. I always felt confident with my next plan. As a sales trainer and author, I know that healing is a process. I decided to work that process for all I was worth or as if my life depended on it.”
Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital West then transferred Chris to Adnan Dervishi, a urologist.
“Dr. Dervishi informed me that they found 2 problems,” Chris explained.
“I had stage 3 cancer on my right kidney and stage 2 cancer on my left.”
Dr. Dervishi discovered Chris had a duplex kidney on the right side and removed cancer only from the lower portion. Due to the relatively rare condition, Chris now has a fully functional right kidney.
On March 15th, doctors removed cancer on the left side and he is now cancer-free. He started cardiac rehab on January 25th and has been walking, exercising for 30 minutes a day, and working part-time since then.
Coming next in the following weeks, doctors will evaluate Chris’ cardiac plan to determine what next steps need to be taken.
“It’s really just one day at a time at this point,” Chris said.
“I have learned to really stay in the present moment, start working on getting better and listening to my doctors. If you start saying this shouldn’t be happening to you, you are automatically angry. You have to get in the mindset of what are you going to do next and move forward. I will continue to stay optimistic.”