Stronger Relationships with Family and Friends
I have always had a strong relationship with my family and friends. Being close to family has always been important to me, as well as having a group of friends that I can hang out with and trust.
The first person I called was my mom
When I was first hospitalized in February 2015 to find out what was going on with my bladder and why my creatine levels were so high, the first person I called was my mom. I was terrified of what was going to happen, and I wanted my mom with me for support and guidance. I remember a few of my close friends came to see me from time to time. My mom stayed with me until I was discharged from the hospital.
Leaning on loved ones
After my discharge, things went great; there was no cancer showing up, and I was moving forward with my life. I was even attending a few social functions with my friends, and of course, I talked to my mom every day. Then December 31, 2015 came along and that day would change my life and relationships forever.
On December 31st I was told I had stage IV bladder cancer and that I would have undergo chemotherapy treatment, and of course, my mom was with me at that appointment. It was a very emotional day for both of us. My mom immediately put her life on hold and came to stay with me to help me as I went through chemotherapy treatment.
Cutting ties with toxic friendships
During this time, I also had two very close friends who were a part of my life. Each of them had a very different perspective on my progress and if I would beat bladder cancer. The one friend was very negative, always saying, "I googled bladder cancer, and the statistics don't look good," or "I just hope and pray you make it through this." She never had anything positive or encouraging to say. So needless to say I had to end our friendship.
Knowing what I needed in my life
My other friend was and to this day is very supportive; she would come to treatments with me, she would check on me and spend time with me and would be positive and encouraging, and that's precisely what I needed in my life at that time.
My family even came together to hold fundraisers for me during the time I went through chemotherapy. My sister took charge of raising awareness and fundraising to help me during a tough financial time in my life. I was overwhelmed emotionally how my family and certain friends came together to support me.
My relationships have grown stronger
My mom, sister, nephew, and close friend of mine continue to go to treatments with me. The relationships have strengthened and become even stronger since my bladder cancer diagnosis. I also refer to my close friend now as my sister. I am getting ready to go through my 3rd round of battling bladder cancer, and I know I can count on my close family and friends to be there with me every step of the way.
Editor’s Note: With heavy hearts, we regret to inform readers that on February 27, 2021, Curtis passed away from stage IV bladder cancer. Curtis’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to impact many. He will be deeply missed.
How are you raising bladder cancer awareness this month?