Quarterly Cystoscopy Is Coming Up
For those of us who are lucky enough to still have our bladders, our fear with upcoming cystoscopies can certainly raise our stress levels to brand new highs.
How my bladder cancer was discovered
You see, my Bladder Cancer was found during a quarterly chest and abdomen scan to test for lung cancer progression. A spot was found in my bladder, and I was referred to a urologist. After seeing the urologist, it was determined a cystoscopy was needed. Then came the TURBT. Now, I continue to get quarterly cystoscopies to check for bladder cancer. Every three months, for as longer as there is any type of cancer in my body, I will continue to stress out just before each cystoscopy.
For 2 years, my Lung Cancer was Stage IIIB - I needed surgery, chemo, and radiation. Six months later, they found right lung tumors and cancer in the lymph nodes as well. I started immunotherapy, and since then, my scans have remained stable with my tumors; it is approaching 2 years!
Finding more tumors
The bladder cancer on the other hand made me nervous because three months after my TURBT, a second cystoscopy revealed more tumors than the first. How could this be? I was devastated. But I quickly picked myself up and knew in my heart that if I was still a survivor after having my entire left lung lobes removed, chemotherapy, radiation, and now immunotherapy - then I could survive anything.
Shooting for a clean cystoscopy
I have had one clean cystoscopy since this started, so we are shooting for two. I have met people who underwent a TURBT coupled with BCG and are still cancer-free 10 years later. I have also met others who have not been so lucky. But we are living in a time when research and demands for research funding are increasing, and the odds we have to make our lives much longer and filled with a spectacular way of daily life are higher than ever. Each day we are closer to finding the cure for all cancers. It's right there, so close they could grab it.
Anything is possible
So what does all that mean? It means be an advocate for Bladder Cancer - the forgotten cancer. Let your community know. Keep yourself busy, if you have free time, with volunteering. Here on BladderCancer.net, you will find many people who have all types and stages of Bladder Cancer. I was lucky enough not to need to have my bladder removed; however, I am not so naive that I don't think it could happen in the future. Anything is possible. Having it never come back is also a possibility, and of course, that is what I am wishing and hoping for.
Keep pushing as a community
I spread the word wherever and whenever I can. I truly believe this is the forgotten cancer, so we have to keep pushing as a community to make sure researchers and those who provide funding remembers us. Many people, especially women, think they may have a UTI (urinary tract infection) and try to treat it themselves, simply from lack of knowledge. Spreading knowledge and awareness can help those who may be diagnosed in the future, as well as their loved ones.
Have your views towards bladder removal changed since you were diagnosed?