Coming Face to Face With My Tumor
Hello, let me introduce myself: my name is Anita, and on the 1st of April, 2016, I saw my Bladder Tumor! Red, scaly and angry! I think to get to this part of my story, I will have to fill you in on the background…
I live with my husband Tim, our son Ashleigh, and our fur babies. Tim and I got married on the 8th of August, 2014. I felt incredibly lucky to have survived 2 bouts of sepsis and double pneumonia, and this was my “Happily Ever After.” Although I had some health issues, my life was wonderful.
A long history of UTIs
I had suffered with UTIs for over 24 years; some years they would be nearly every month, some years they were less regular. I did all the things we are meant to do to treat UTIs: I drank so much water that I could probably have sunk a ship, I tried a small dose of antibiotics daily for 6 months, I drank cranberry juice, made dandelion tea — you name it, I tried it. I had just accepted that I was prone to these infections.
Seeing blood in the toilet
In June 2015, I had a bladder washout because I had lots of small bladder stones, and by August I had noticed that sometimes when I pooped, there seemed to be blood in the toilet. I started to take photos to show my husband as I thought I was going slightly bonkers. I went to my GP, and he ordered a colonoscopy. This came back clear, and yet I still would “poop” blood up to 4 times a week. I began to wonder if it was a UTI; however, I thought the GP knew best.
I knew something wasn’t right
By January 2016, I was exhausted, beyond exhausted. I could barely speak in the afternoon without slurring my words. I slept, oh boy, did I sleep, at every opportunity. I went back to the GP; he thought that I had a bad UTI. After 5 rounds of antibiotics and numerous visits to the GP, I began to suspect that something wasn’t right. My urine was as red as claret, and no amount of water was diluting it. Then, I began to pee blood clots, and this frightened the living daylights out of me. I had peed blood lots of times before, but never had I peed clots.
An ultrasound and cystoscopy were next
I was sent for an ultrasound, and on the way out, the radiographer asked if I had an appointment with my GP afterwards and suggested that I make one. Luckily for me, my GP called me once I had gotten home. He had seen the scan and referred me for a cystoscopy (this is where they insert a camera into your bladder for a little look around). I had had one before, so I wasn’t that spooked. Little did I know that this would bring me face to face with my tumor!
How are you raising bladder cancer awareness this month?