A doctor throwing a drowning man a life preserver

Bladder Cancer Saved My Life

6 years ago, I was told I had bladder cancer. Chemo and neobladder surgery followed.

Then, I started taking my health seriously.

See, I was your typical 50-year-old man. Invincible. Busy. Worried more about dropping dead from a heart attack than slowly wasting away from cancer.

I had a little blood in my urine...then a lot

But then, I experienced blood in my urine. A little at first. Which I ignored. (See above.) Then more blood. Then, the blood in my bladder formed a clot and blocked my urethra so I couldn’t go to the bathroom. So, I pushed very hard. And when I did, the blood clot came out and so did bright red blood. All over everything. The restroom I was in looked like a murder scene.

Okay. NOW you have my attention.

Trip to emergency room. Cystoscopy. Diagnosis. You know the rest.

Your list gets longer

When you have cancer, you get a lot of tests. You have a lot of meetings with doctors. You read a lot about causes, cures and unfortunately, crises. But that process also forces you to bring your overall health into focus. And that means you now pay attention to all of your little health signals you could blow off before.

High cholesterol is no longer a small thing – it needs to be addressed.

Blood pressure a bit high? Time to lose some weight.

Over 50 and haven’t done your colonoscopy yet? Get that scheduled.

In a weird way, cancer makes you focus on everything while still being laser-focused on your cancer. Cancer is your main concern but your health in general moves much higher up on the list. No one wants to go through cancer with chemo and surgery and then end up dying from something else completely treatable and manageable.

It may not have just been bladder cancer

My cancer journey also included a layover at colonoscopy town. I was 55 when I had my first colonoscopy.

I had polyps. The “pre-cancerous” kind. A lot of them. So many polyps the doctor said let’s do this again, same time next year. So I did. With similar results.

And another appointment the next year. Again – similar results.

And then 2 years later – similar results.

Back to next year again. Fingers crossed the results are better.

3 colonoscopies in 4 years

You are reading that right. 3 colonoscopies in 4 years. And another on the way. We’re so excited!

I don’t have colon cancer.

But with the results I’m having I believe if I hadn’t had bladder cancer – infinitely treatable and survivable – I would probably have colon cancer. And knowing me, I would have waited way too long to make it survivable.

So, in some ways, having a cancer that was treatable and OBVIOUS, saved my life.

I know. Us cancer survivors can find the silver lining anywhere.

PS: Go get your colonoscopy! It really isn’t that bad.

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