A person with an embarrassed expression uses a cloud to cover their lower body.

The Struggles: Embarrassing Moments and Bladder Cancer

Last updated: October 2022

"It can feel embarrassing." Yes, yes, it can. Bladder cancer is ripe with embarrassing moments and trials. Let us take a look at just a few.

A disclaimer before we venture on. Please accept this in its entirety as cheeky. My grandmum used to look at me, over her glasses and say. "Don't be cheeky with me, boy."

"To have cancer is bad, but to have it in the bladder is degrading, embarrassing, and distasteful. You lay on your back, legs wide open, while several people are staring at your private bits, trying to poke a tube into you. It is hateful."

Dropping my undies annually

I confess if I am being honest, that I might have chosen a cancer that did not require dropping my undies and being assaulted with a sewer auger every year for the rest of my life.

First and foremost is the nagging question, "How do I measure up with the other lads who come across this table?" This may seem silly and vain to the fairer sex, but to us men types, this question is ingrained and perpetuated from a very tender age. I have yet to hear a gasp or a giggle when the gown is lifted, so I take solace in being above the below and below the upper.

Next comes the discomfort of having foreign hands on my most treasured appendage, and the latex gloves are chilled. A brief moment to warm the hands seems in order. I have heard that when milking a cow, it is considered good form to warm the hands on cold mornings. We should warrant at least the consideration afforded a cow, I think. Perhaps nurses with more petite hands could be recruited as a means of bolstering the fragile male ego.

The "small tube"

Let us not forget to address the brutality of the exam itself. The "small tube" used to gain access to the bladder is no smaller than the Eurotunnel connecting the U.K. and France. Truth be told, the tunnel may be smaller, and I am sure there are fewer onlookers when the tunnel is in full use than there are in my exam room.

Moving on, we would be remiss if we did not speak about the urostomy bags or the colostomy bags. These may be a source of embarrassment but stop and consider this. Wouldn't we be more embarrassed if the world caught a glimpse of our browser history?

I would much rather explain the bag I use to collect waste post-cancer than my fascination with skateboarding dogs. Really, the bag is a medical device. My preoccupation with cats who have extra toes is weird, or the amount of time I spend watching lawn mowing videos.

Embarrassing moments for men with bladder cancer

I know how embarrassing bladder cancer can be. I am reminded of it every month when I walk up to the counter with my supply of adult diapers and wipes. I think about it whenever my bladder gives way, and I feel the warmth spread across my nether regions. But I know in my core that we can overcome all of the embarrassing moments if we will dedicate ourselves to finding the humor in our hardships.

The next time you are embarrassed, think of a humorous moment when the time comes for your exam, smile, and celebrate the opportunity to be in the exam room for another year. When the bags seem too much, rejoice at not having to sit on a shared commode seat.

Happiness is a choice. Choose wisely.

Does Mac's story ring true for you? Share your experience in the comments below, or share your story!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The BladderCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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