TURBTs, PET Scans, and the Day of Truth
After I found out I had bladder cancer, I was lucky enough to have private health insurance, so we arranged for me to go in and have a TURBT (have the tumor scooped out) and a biopsy on the following Wednesday. My Urologist, who had dealt with my kidneys stones and sepsis, also arranged for a CT scan. Upon arriving at the hospital, we were informed that they couldn’t take the tumor out because it had already spread through the bladder wall and into the muscle and fat. Devastated is not the word to describe how I felt…
They took me down to theater (operating room) to do a biopsy, and I have to say that I was so relieved that I would be going under the anesthetic so I wouldn’t have to think any more.
Breaking the awful news to my son
Our son and his girlfriend arrived to see me that evening, and it was the most awful thing I have ever had to say to him, that the tumor was bigger than they first thought, and that I may need chemotherapy. He made a joke abut me always saying that I didn’t want to grow old; we laughed, but I hoped that he understood the seriousness of what I had said.
The next few weeks
Things began to happen, and I received an appointment for a PET scan. This is where they inject you with radioactive material, and you have to then sit still for an hour, and then they can release you. The radioactive stuff turns into a sugary substance, and the cancer eats the sugar and then shows up on the scan as a “light” area. It can be scary, especially if you have a fear of small spaces. I laid there with my eyes closed tightly, and tried to imagine I was laying on a beach, ignoring the “itches” that I felt. It’s always the way when you are told not to move — you suddenly get an itchy leg or neck, and a minute seems like an hour.
Waiting for results from the PET scan
I survived my first PET scan, and now all that was left to do was to wait for the results. We were seeing a Consultant who we didn’t know, and I was very nervous.
Waiting, for anything, is frustrating; however, waiting for any cancer scan results is particularly harrowing. You try not to think about it, thinking that when you do get them, you can deal with them, get a treatment plan in place, and all will be well. I was very naïve; it hadn’t occurred to me that the cancer cells could be elsewhere within my body.
The day of truth came
The day of truth came, and we sat in a stranger’s office, preparing ourselves for the news that would shatter our world. The cancer had spread, much more than was first thought. It had already gone to my lymph nodes, my liver, my ileac crest, my ulna and humerus bones. I didn’t think it was possible to feel as completely broken as I did as he read out those words “bones”; it had spread to my bones.
I got up to leave, my husband Tim was still talking to him, and I could feel the tears running down my face. I knew my death warrant had been signed the minute he had said it had spread to my bones. This was the worse thing that had ever happened to me, so many questions, so many things I wanted to know, but I did not know this Consultant and didn’t want him to see me like this.
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