Here's My Story

This is my second bout with cancer, I am currently 73 years old. Six years ago a routine CT scan (routine because my primary care MD knew I was a former smoker) showed that a nodule in one lung had increased in size and a PET scan confirmed lung cancer. Surgery removed part of my left lung and six years later there is no evidence that any cancer has returned or developed in the lung.

How the journey began...

About a year ago, I passed blood in my urine. The on-call MD said it was not a reason to go to the emergency room. Went to the office the next day, and was sent for a CT scan that showed a growth in the bladder and I was referred to a urologist. The urologist performed a cystoscopy and found a growth on the bladder wall. In May, I had a TURBT and the path report showed muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The urologist referred me to a Prisma Health urologist- surgeon-oncologist in Greenville, SC.

Treatment wasn't easy

After meeting with him he explained that a total cystectomy would be required (I had been hoping for a partial) because it was muscle-invasive T2b. I had the surgery to remove the bladder and create a neobladder in July. Everything went well including removal of the prostate which had a malignancy.

Complications haven't stopped me

The path report showed that no lymph nodes were involved and there was no evidence of spread to any other areas of the abdomen. However, complications developed when the suprapubic catheter was removed. I developed peritonitis which required two additional surgeries and sepsis so I was on an antibiotic drip for an additional week after discharge. Since then, there have been no issues. The CT scan in February showed no evidence of disease and the chest X-ray was clear.

Healthy and moving forward

Eight months post-op I am very happy with the results. I am able to resume every activity including gardening, golf and fly fishing. The only downside is getting up every 3-4 hours at night to empty the bladder. Despite the complications, which BTW are NOT common, I highly recommend that anyone consider this option. It may not be right for you but it was for me.

This is my story.

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