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My Bladder Cancer Pregnancy

Prior to my diagnosis, I had been back and forth to the doctor a lot over the course of about a year with visible blood in my urine. I was always told it was a UTI and sent away with another round of antibiotics. I knew something wasn’t right, but I had never heard of Bladder Cancer before, and the doctors didn’t seem concerned so I tried to put it to the back of my mind and get on with my life.

Pregnancy celebrations cut short

In February 2017, I found out I was pregnant. Worryingly the blood continued to appear in my urine and I was sent to the hospital for an early 7 week viability scan.
It really was the most amazing feeling to see that tiny little heartbeat flashing away on the screen.

Unfortunately, our celebrations were short lived as a doctor explained to us that the sonographer had found a mass in my bladder during the scan. They couldn’t confirm cancer at this stage but they weren’t ruling it out either. Whatever it was they knew, it shouldn’t be there.

We left the hospital feeling totally shell shocked and headed home to try and makes sense of everything we had just heard.

The blur that lead to a bladder cancer diagnosis

The next few weeks were a blur of hospital appointments, scans and tests and I must confess quite a lot of google research. Everything I read suggested that bladder cancer only happened in older people, usually men and I felt very alone. I was diagnosed at 27. A cystoscopy when I was 10 weeks pregnant confirmed bladder cancer and I was told that surgery was the only option.

As terrifying as it was to be pregnant through all of this, I received the best possible care from so many doctors, nurses and midwives. Each one reassuring me in their own way that they were doing everything they could to ensure treatment would be as safe as possible for me and the baby.

Surgery and induced labor

The safest time to do the operation would be after the 12 week mark, which gave doctors a little while to prepare. A senior team was assembled and a special machine was brought in from another hospital. I had surgery, fully conscious with spinal anesthetic. We decided this would be the safest option for the baby and sure enough as soon as I was out of there and in recovery I was allowed to listen to his strong little heartbeat to let me know everything was okay. Surgery was a success, the surgeon managed to completely remove two tumours from my bladder.

Because one of my tumours was larger than 3cm and there was more than one I have been classified as intermediate risk. This meant I had to have another cystoscopy at 7 months pregnant and I was induced at 39 weeks so that I could have a couple of weeks recovering from labour before another TURBT operation.

This second surgery revealed only scar tissue but because I was still intermediate risk, I was put on a six week course of intravesical mitomiycin as a precaution.

Starting to get my head around life with bladder cancer

My third TURBT surgery, 6 weeks after my Chemotherapy finished showed some possible recurrences as well as some suspicious looking red patches. I’m just starting to get my head around life with Bladder Cancer and the constant risk or recurrences. But I have a very lively 6 month old to distract me and keep me on my toes.

Despite a rather rocky year, I feel incredibly lucky. Because of my pregnancy, my cancer was finally discovered and I was able to receive the correct treatment. If caught early, bladder cancer is really treatable and it’s given me a new found appreciation for life.

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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.