A woman's head and shoulders are overlapped by a giant dark speech bubble bearing bad news.

My Journey and How it All Started

Hello, my name is Lelee. I am a bladder cancer fighter; I use the word fighter because this cancer keeps coming back so I feel like the fight keeps going.

Recently a young lady contacted me about an opportunity to become an advocate for bladder cancer. Overwhelmed that someone noticed me.  I decided to take this journey. I am praying that my words help someone that is dealing with bladder cancer.

From the beginning

My fight began in 2015 - 2016, I started having small blood clots in my urine. So, I did what most folks do - I went to Google, a urinary tract infection is what I diagnosed myself with. Yes, I know it sounds silly but doctor Google is the new normal. Walmart was my next stop I had a list of everything I needed to cure myself. Well... Let’s just say after four days I was not any better, I had a blood clot so big it hurt like a you-know-what. This made me go see a doctor.

Beginning my journey

After all the urine and blood work was done the doctor said, "Yes, it is a urinary tract infection." The doctor gave me a prescription for some antibiotics and sent me on my way.

Due diligence

Needless to say, I got better, about a week later the doctor called me. She said, "You have been on my mind, I want you to get a CAT scan. It’s probably nothing but just in case. Let's do the scan." So, I went to the local city hospital and had the scan. I did not get the results until two weeks later at the urology clinic. When I went to this appointment, I still did not know what was in store for me. So, I did it again - went to doctor Google and he said that bladder cancer was for older people 55 and above, and men were at the highest risk of getting this kind of cancer. At this point, I had ruled bladder cancer out. Well, I was wrong.

Getting the news...

The doctor came in and told me I had cancer. She stated she had worked at the clinic a long time and had never had a patient as young as me with bladder cancer. I was in shock, the only thing going through my mind is death. "You are going to die for sure. You have cancer." The doctor gave me a minute to process the information because the next step was surgery. They needed to remove the tumor as soon as possible. The choice of removing my bladder was also put on the table. Which meant removing more than just my bladder and I would have an ostomy bag for the rest of my life.

Blame and rage set in

I was livid. I was just 36 years old how could I possibly live like that. In truth, I had been smoking since I was 18 years old. I knew it was all my fault this was happening. I can remember calling my job crying I told my supervisor I had cancer and would be out to have surgery. Oh yeah, there was no empathy for me from my supervisor, this made me feel even worse. Needless to say, I had the surgery, and I have had the same surgery two other times.

It has been a journey, to say the least.

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