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I Never Heard of Bladder Cancer Until...

The first week of May 2018, I had blood in my urine and went to the doctor and left a pretty pink specimen. Two days later I got a call from my doctor saying they had ruled out a UTI and he was sending me to get a CT Scan. I had that the next week and was told I would hear from my doctor "tomorrow". Three hours later I got a call from my doctor asking me to come in to see him. He told me the scan showed I had one large and two small tumors in my bladder. I asked him what were the chances they were cancer and he told me they probably were....most of them are. He was sending me to a urologist and they would call to make an appointment.

My imagination was running wild

A few days later they made the call but the appointment wasn't scheduled for another month. Up to this point everything had happened very fast but now I had a month for my imagination to run wild. I was sure the urologist would tell me they were cancer and he was sending me to an oncologist and that would take another month to get an appointment. They would take another month to decide how to treat me and then I would have chemo and radiation and lose my hair and be sick and we couldn't go on the cruise we had scheduled in the Fall.

Diagnosis then surgery

The day finally arrived and the urologist told me it was cancer, the non-invasive kind, he would take care of everything, and I would have surgery soon. It was such a relief. Three days later I had the surgery. I got along fine. I didn't even have to have a catheter. Next week, I had the post op appointment and found out the pathology report showed he had to repeat the surgery and go deeper. I was upset. For some reason I thought it would be over after the TURB.

Trying BCG

A few weeks later, I had the six week series of BCG. I didn't feel well, I had urgency problems and it was generally a hard six weeks. We went on the cruise and I had the scope after returning. The scope showed I had three new tumors. The BCG had failed. He said BCG had an 82% success rate but it didn't work on me. I had another TURB. He decided to not do a treatment and see what happened at the next scope in February. We were both shocked to see that I had 8 tumors. So I had another TURB.

Next, Gemcitabine

This time, he had me have a six week treatment of Gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug. This couldn't be done in his office like the BCG, I had to go to the Tumor Institute. Although the appointment took a lot longer, I got along a lot better with the Gemcitabine. I had another scope in June and it showed a tumor and three suspicious spots: another TURB. We discussed my options and since the two standard treatments had failed, we would try a Clinical Trial if I qualified, and he found I did qualify. I got an appointment with them.

Pressure is off?

However, the pathology report showed these tumors were benign. It was the first good news I had had in a year. I cancelled my appointment. I have another scope in October and if that is all right I will start the maintenance program with Gemcitabine. I feel like the pressure is off for a little while.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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