MARSHALL, Mich — Trevor Young thought he hurt his back.
"Believe it or not, he was being stubborn and kind of not listening to his wife," said Trevor's identical twin brother, Kyle Young.
"His wife wanted him to wait and get some help to move a snow plow by himself in his barn and he hurt his back."
Afterward something wasn't quite right with Trevor, who is 40 and lives in Marshall.
In fact, something was very wrong.
"About a week later, I started experiencing symptoms of what I thought was a kidney stone," Trevor said. "From the stuff I looked up, I thought it would be 24 to 48 hours to be able to pass something like that."
Trevor, who has taught pre-calculus at Marshall High School since 2005, went to the doctor's the morning of Sept. 11 before his work day started. Doctors did a scan. Trevor went to work. They called him to come back in for another scan an hour later, this time with a dye contrast.
"I was thinking okay, maybe it's a larger kidney stone that will require some type of procedure," Trevor said.
Doctors found large masses on both of his kidneys.
"It was a long weekend to say the least," Trevor said.
"That was probably the worst shape I've seen him mentally," Kyle said.
The following Tuesday, they went to the emergency room at University Hospital in Ann Arbor. The diagnosis was chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, a rare type of kidney cancer that forms in the cells lining the small tubes in the kidney, according to Cancer.gov. Those tubes help filter waste from blood, making urine.
He found out about his cancer diagnosis with Melissa, his wife of 20 years.
"Our anniversary...Sept 16. So, it was the day after we found out I for sure had kidney cancer so our meal that we shared was at U of M in the cafeteria. It was great," Trevor said.
After his Oct. 9 surgery, doctors told him the left kidney was completely taken over by the masses and had to be removed.
"My first thoughts are my family," Trevor said. "Five young kids. I've got a two-year-old all the way up to a 13 year old. The possibility of leaving my wife with all of that. That was tough. We made the decision way back when we had our first child that she would stay home with the kids and I would work. Obviously, that would all change."
Trevor got in contact with a researcher in Boston for immunotherapy treatments for that specific type of cancer. She recommended additional surgery instead.
"I was preparing myself after surgery, I would have to have dialysis," Trevor said. "I have to be cancer free for two years to have a kidney transplant. That's my thought heading in."
"They were preparing me for dialysis. That's three to four hours at least four times a week. For me having no kidneys would have been an every day thing for me," Trevor said.
A surgery in January was able to save 30% of his kidney. The kidney is functioning at a low level but well enough for Trevor to avoid dialysis. Something that completely changed his life. With five children, coaching middle school basketball and teaching, it would have turned everything upside down.
"I'm blessed. No doubt," Trevor said.
Doctors have to continually monitor his remaining kidney. His recent tests for cancer came back negative. He will have to go back in May for another cancer check-up. Something that will persist for the next two years. He believes that he will eventually need a kidney transplant.
"It doesn't seem like it ever ends. But you know what, I'm in a better position than I thought it would be," Trevor said. "You know, I'm sitting in the doctor's office on Sept. 15 with my wife beside me and I just can't imagine being alone and getting that news."
Trevor and his twin brother, Kyle, have spent almost all of their lives together.
"I've always identified as a twin," Kyle said. "It's followed me everywhere I've gone. To my workplace. He lives right around the corner from me now. Everything I do is kind of directed with my family. God has given us a gift. But, boy it hurts. If it doesn't go the right way it sure hurts."
They were hired in at Marshall High School in 2005. Their rooms are one door apart. They have coached basketball together for 13 years, at both the freshmen and middle school level.
Thursday night Marshall High School's varsity team had senior night. They honored Trevor by wearing orange shirts with the hashtag #TeamTrevor. The support from the kids at school has been overwhelming.
"The kids were the ones who wanted to paint the rock and decorate the windows in schools. So, when he does come back stuff will be there for him. The support...I get emails from co-workers who have retired reaching out and calling. Asking how they can help," said Kyle.
Watch the full interview with Trevor
Trevor's message to others facing a similar battle: have hope. You're not alone.
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