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Patient and doctor talking in an exam room, discussing medical options with doctor

My 8th Annual Urologist Follow-Up: Bladder Cancer Takes and Thoughts

The night before, my wife and I talked a little about my visit today. I told her this was the most humiliating of all my follow-ups, and I've had a bunch of follow-ups too! Prostate cancer, heart (heart failure, pacemaker and stents, PAD), bladder cancer.

Just saw the upper plumber - aka cardiologist - yesterday, and all good. I also recently saw the prostate cancer oncologist - all good. I've been on a roll.

But bladder cancer scares me. I know the potential, and as a moderator and speaker on cancer, I have heard the horror stories. So there's that.

Making my way downtown

I set the alarm for 7:00 am. The appointment is downtown at 9:15 am and there is lots of construction to navigate so at 8:05 am, I am headed out. I just had one coffee as I did not want to overfill. I remember the doctor exclaiming at the last visit, "Look, he's urinating," as he was in my bladder. This made his day but not mine.

Drove my lifted F150 with the big tires. Not the best vehicle to maneuver up to the 4th floor to park. I swear I'm going to hit the ceiling as my antenna keeps slapping the cement supports above me. It is always an adventure.

I take the elevator down to the 1st floor and walk the long hallway to get to the professional building. I hit the bathroom, thinking I had time to regenerate another urine sample when required. I brought a water bottle - pretty smart, right? I go up another elevator to the 2nd floor heading to suite 220 at the end of another long hall.

So happy I know my way around here now like a boss. But, oh yeah, they are moving soon.

Present!

I watched YouTube for a while and then heard, "Mr. Franke?"

"Yep," I said. A nice nurse says follow me. She's not a kid, nice enough. I don't know her. She took me for my weigh-in, pointed to the bathroom, and explained she needed a urine sample. I was confident I could step up. She said when you're done, exam room 4, please.

I got a sample, although not as much as I had anticipated. Good thing I drank some water. I washed up after and I even took a cleansing wipe to my privates. I didn't want to be nasty for the final recipient. All good.

Exam room 4

I walk into exam room 4, and she's there with an accomplice, a new girl who's learning. I'm ok with it - can't be embarrassed anymore. There's no shame left in this hospital veteran. I followed instructions and undressed from the waist down. I hopped on the exam table where there was a modesty cover for me. They got ready, and came back in. She said she needed to numb me now. I explained to the new nurse about iodine and numbing stuff.

The new nurse was from Florida and we made small talk about the South and accents. She was in Fort Meyers. A high-rent district, I exclaimed. I told her I lived in Mississippi for a while and it was really hot. Remember, I'm laying there with my goods on full display to both ladies. I figure they are laughing on the inside. I told her this was my least favorite visit of all my visits - humiliating. She said she got it. She did her thing, and off they went.

Fighting through it

Laying on the bed, covered with my modesty sheet, I decided to adjust my stuff to make it easy for them.

I put my arms over my head and thought it not really appropriate, and brought them back down. There was a knock on the door, and in came the nurses and my doctor, a very talented young guy. I like him. They referred to me as Mr. F once; it took a few visits not to feel somewhat offended. I did not feel like a Mr. F.

I thought of Dennis the Menace. Maybe I am old enough.

He talks about my recent scans and good results PSA [prostate-specific antigen] from prostate cancer. He says it's a miracle I'm doing so well. I agreed and told him about my wife and daughter getting breast cancer this year. They are fighting through it.

They put in the scope.  The nurse says it might feel like you're leaking as fluid runs down my crotch. The doctor says look how good that looks, all nice and pink. Even the prostate surgery has healed well and looks good.

See ya next year

I said it sounds like I'll see you next year. He said, yep, shook my hand, and off we went. He explained that I might want to urinate on the way out. I set up for another visit in a year. I told the clerk he said 14 months. Ha - got 'em.

The radio was playing Willie Nelson on the way home. It made me laugh as I remember a song called "She only loves me for my Willie," which seems appropriate. The next visit is the pacemaker dude, another oncologist, and can then tuck away doctors for a few months.

I get home, and my wife hollers to me through the bathroom door, "How did it go?" I say all good, and she's glad. The dog is prancing back and forth at the bathroom door because he missed the dog park this morning. I am blessed to be here.

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