26 Year Old with Bladder Cancer

Starting in early October of 2022 I had a bout of hematuria which mostly presented itself as blood clots in my urine and orange pee at the end of my stream. I went to the urgent care, which told me that if the hematuria persists, to go to the ER or follow up with the urologist. The hematuria stopped that weekend and I thought it may have been related to me having a bad cold and using ibuprofen. I thought maybe since ibuprofen is a NSAID it could have thinned my blood and caused some blood in my urine. I was wrong.

Something didn't feel right

I followed up with the urologist in December because in the back of my head, something wasn't sitting right with me. I still had no clue why I had peed blood back in October. I knew one thing: I did not want to be the guy who can't get sick because he doesn't go to the doctor.

After my first visit with the urologist, she told me the routine follow-up for hematuria is a renal/bladder ultrasound and a cystoscopy. I first received a renal/bladder ultrasound and they discovered 2cm x 1cm mass in the posterior wall of my bladder. Next I had to receive a cystoscopy, and I was absolutely terrified.

A shocking discovery

The day of my cystoscopy I decided to read about other people's experiences with cystoscopies (big mistake). I read so much stuff saying how painful it was, and I almost canceled my appointment that day. If I canceled that appointment it would have been the biggest mistake I would ever make. I went to my cystoscopy appointment and my urologist was able to take pictures of the abnormal mass in my bladder. She showed me the images after the cystoscopy and told me "we don't know what this is, you're 26 years old so the chances it is cancer are low, but we need to get it out of you to find out what it is".

I was shocked, absolutely shook to the core. She told me I needed to receive a Transurethral resection of bladder tumor (TURBT). I had never had surgery in my life, and I was so scared. I am currently in my senior year at NIU and I was seriously wondering if I was going to graduate or die first. I was wondering if I was going to reach my life goal of becoming a dietitian or die first. It is very weird being faced with your own mortality at such a young age.

Fast forward to the 12th of Jan this month, and I had my TURBT. The urologist sent my tissue to the pathologist and on the 16th I met with my urologist to discuss the findings. It turns out I had low-grade (T-alpha) noninvasive urothelial carcinoma. All of it was surgically removed and I am now cancer free.

Looking towards the future

For the rest of my life I will need to get cystoscopies and you know what I DON'T CARE! I am not scared of cystoscopies at all! You know what's worse than getting cystoscopies forever? Being dead! I'd say it's worth the trade off. I just wanted to share my story here because this form and reading experiences during my time of not knowing really helped me. To everyone that reads this remember, cancer sucks, TOGETHER WE FIGHT!

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