PIKEVILLE, N.C. — The cancer growing in Eugene Tyner's side ached like a blow from a sledgehammer, and when doctors inspected, they found his kidney mutated into an 11-ounce, cantaloupe-size monster.
Tyner recalls waking up, groggy from surgery, to hear a nurse explain that the organ extracted from his middle was big enough to fill a bowl.
"A bowl?" Tyner asked.
"A bowl," the nurse repeated. "Like you feed your dog in."
Cancer-free at 31, Tyner can joke about his whopper of a tumor. But jokes aren't enough. Last month, Tyner applied to Guinness World Records, hoping to win recognition for the heaviest kidney ever removed.
If he makes the book, Tyner can humiliate the disease that nearly killed him. He can gloat over victory like a fisherman holding up a prize-winning marlin, smiling for the camera.
Flip through the pages of the Guinness book, and right between the man who performed 1,940 push-ups in an hour and the man who lifted 160 pounds with his ear, is where Eugene Tyner, tumor-riddled kidney survivor, hopes to be.
"I hate cancer," he said. "It's bad in my family. My Aunt Gladys, she had to have her whole bottom end taken out."
Tyner was a prison guard until three years ago, when he first felt the pain. He lived a nice life in Wayne County, not far from Goldsboro. It's horse country there, and if anything ever bothered him, he'd saddle up his steed Daisy.
For all he knows, the tumor had been growing in his kidney from childhood, waiting for a chance to knock him over.
He figured the pain for bad food, or maybe a kidney stone, until he learned he had a softball growing where a golf ball should be.
All it took to remove the beast in Tyner's belly was a four-hour surgery and a navel-to-chest incision. He still carries a copy of his tumor's vital statistics: 332 grams, more than twice a kidney's normal weight.
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