My Cystoscopy Experience
Last updated: July 2022
A cystoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra). A hollow tube (cystoscope) equipped with a lens is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder. Now, that is the technical definition. Now, here is my experience.
Having a cystoscopy with local anesthetic
A cystoscopy is performed in a urologist’s office with a local anesthetic. There really is no preparation. Upon arrival, I was asked to give a urine sample. I do this at every visit to ensure there is no infection. Then I’m led into the procedure room.
You will remove all clothing from the waist down and will lay on a table with stirrups and will be covered up. A nurse will apply a local gel anesthetic to your urethra. As you lay there you will see a computer monitor somewhere near your head. This is where the images show up.
Stress affected my pain levels
The doctor came in and inserted the cystoscopy tube. I have had several and I can honestly say, some were simply uncomfortable and some were downright painful. I suspect, and this my own opinion, my stress level probably led to the difference in how I felt upon insertion.
Seeing my bladder on the screen
Look up at the monitor. You will immediately see your bladder. We could see the smooth lining, we could see urine coming from my kidneys through my ureters, and then finally, we found the tumor. (This is when I pulled out my cell phone and took a picture of the monitor screen – a difficult task while laying down with legs up in the air). The cystoscopy took less than 5 minutes. It is simply a tool to look inside your bladder. No treatments or procedures were done.
Needing a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis
At this point, my urologist told me that although he wouldn’t be sure until he took a biopsy, it looked cancerous to him. My feeling is, they must tell you they won’t know until they receive the biopsy results, but they’ve been doing it long enough they can generally tell by its appearance. So I asked, “What do you think?” His answer was, “I think it’s cancer.”
Once he was done, since I had a tumor, he told me he would perform a TURBT, remove the tumor and take various samples from other parts of my bladder.
Slight soreness that went away quickly
He said goodbye and that was it. It was a fairly simple procedure but of course, the thought of something being inserted where things should only come out still makes me a nervous wreck. I had a little soreness walking out of the office but by the time I got home, I was absolutely fine.
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on January 28, 2020, Jennifer Toth passed away. Jennifer was a passionate advocate for the bladder cancer community. She will be deeply missed.
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