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A Slow Process

Dr. Zlotta came to see me in the recovery room after my TURBT a few minutes later, he was still in his scrubs. He had already spoken to my wife Melanie.

“The operation went well, it took about an hour, and we removed everything. You have a high grade T-1 carcinoma in situ. It’s a very aggressive strain, we have to treat it aggressively and be very careful.”

In situ means the tumor didn’t come from another part of my body, that was the good news. The bad news was that he was worried that it could spread if it wasn’t watched closely.

Staying in recovery

Because I have sleep apnea they kept me in recovery for four hours instead of the traditional two in case I developed any breathing problems. It gave me a chance to observe the other patients and what was going on. The bed to my left was occupied by a gentleman whose leg had been amputated below the knee, to my right another person who undergone some kind of major surgery. At one point while being helped by a nurse, he sneezed, there was a dish with blood in it on his belly. It went flying and covered Melanie and me. Not as very comfortable situation.

Dealing with any kind of cancer is a daunting task, but if you have support of your family it makes it a lot easier to handle. I was very lucky, my immediate family filled the waiting room, each dropping by individually to offer their best wishes. I can’t tell you what it meant to have them all there.

The epidural

When they gave me the epidural they said it would be a “couple” of hours before it wore off. In the meantime I had no feeling below the waist. I kept looking down to see if I was still there, and trying to move my toes. It’s a weird feeling to have a half dead body attached to you. I was still frozen when they moved me upstairs four hours later. The freezing started to work it’s way out, but it was a slow process. Later that evening, with my stepson in the room, I had to standup, I’d been on my back the entire day, it was driving me nuts. My legs weren’t 100% but I felt strong enough to get up. First mistake! I gingerly slid my legs over the side of the bed, tried standing and immediately started to fall. If Adam hadn’t been there I would have face planted on the floor. It was so frustrating. It took about seven hours for the freezing to completely leave my system.


I was comfortable the night following surgery, the catheter in my bladder took all the pressure off me and it drained without any problems.

Dr. Zlotta dropped by the next morning and I was discharged to go home and rest. It was Friday morning and the catheter would stay in until early the next week. I thought with four days rest over the weekend I’d be able to return to work. I was wrong…

Find the next part of Jim’s journey here.

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