UTI or Bladder Cancer? Misdiagnosed Twice!
It was the fall of 2013, and I was having a great time with friends and family at Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio. It appeared that my only "attraction" was every available bathroom. I felt the need to urinate constantly, and it went on for weeks. I finally decided this could not be normal, but never did I think that it could be serious.
I thought that frequent urination was common and normal
It seems that everywhere we look, there are countless ads and information declaring that frequent urination and incontinence are common as we age. I was not worried at 62. I was blessed with good genes from a healthy family. Heck - my parents were in great shape and still active in their late 80s. My personal health history was excellent. On the rare occasion that I had a minor health issue, I could be diagnosed with a phone call and a prescription if needed.
Treated for a UTI
That was exactly what happened in January 2014, and again in March, when my excessive urination symptoms returned. I was told that it probably was just a UTI and so I picked up a prescription at the local pharmacy and went on with my life. Let me add that if I have ever had a UTI in my life, I do not recall it.
New symptoms: painful spasms
In late May, I began to have intense pains similar to childbirth contractions along with the frequent urination. These spasms were short but very intense, the type of pain that takes your breath away and then is gone. I called my doctor again but this time demanded a urine test be done. I received one the following day, and there were no signs of a UTI or other issue. My doctor suggested that I schedule an appointment with a well-known urologist. A cancellation allowed me to be seen almost immediately. After reviewing my tests, the urologist suggested that possibly my diet was causing issues. We agreed to take a moderate approach, and I started a strict diet with nothing acidic, no alcoholic beverages, and a low sugar intake.
I was suddenly without health insurance
My follow-up appointment was scheduled for 30 days later, but after 2 weeks, things were not improving at all. Unfortunately during this time, my company closed and I was informed that our insurance coverage had not been paid in 3 months. Unfortunately, job hunting and health insurance took precedence over my health issues.
On August 1st, my new and very expensive health coverage under Obamacare began. My symptoms worsened 4 days later, and I drove myself to the emergency room. As a hospital inpatient, I received numerous tests. 3 days later, the hospital attending doctor diagnosed me with hydronephrosis.
Blindsided by a cancer diagnosis
Fortunately, my urologist had been called in during my stay at the hospital and was not satisfied with that diagnosis. He scheduled me for an emergency cystoscopy. The results showed a large growth sitting at the bottom of my bladder and on top of my urethra. Immediately following these results, my first TURBT was administered and clearly showed cancer cells in my bladder. I was blindsided and shocked by the diagnosis. And so my journey with bladder cancer began...
Did you know that May is Bladder Cancer Awareness Month?