When I was first diagnosed with bladder cancer in 1999, I said to my doctor "don't make a big deal of it there is only a little blood." He did not listen and instead put me on the usual procedures of cystoscopes, scans, and chemotherapy. I found the best way to tolerate the cystoscopy's is to ask a nurse to hold your hand!
Several Years, Several Recurrences, One Ostomy
After several years of treatments and frustrations of the tumors returning every year I was put on a heavy regimen of chemotherapy. Cancer was gone but again reappeared after a couple of years. This time it was starting to break through the bladder wall. It was time to see a surgeon and plan on the removal of my bladder. As the date approached, I received a call from the surgeon's office telling me that he had fallen off his bicycle and broke his hand. Several months later, the surgeon was ready, but, I needed more heavy chemotherapy before the surgery could take place. Finally, on 10/30/08 the procedure was done, and I began my life with ostomy bags and supplies.
Another Tumor? How...
I continued with the scans and doctor visits and finally agreed to have my port removed last year. Three weeks later I was again diagnosed with bladder cancer in a lymph node. No bladder but still have bladder cancer 12 years after removal. Back to chemotherapy. Again I survived the process even though my doctor doesn't know why I am still alive! Now, I am going through immunotherapy, which is a two-year process that I hope will add years to my life.
My Word of Advice
Bladder cancer is a slow-growing disease that can pop up at any time. It is important to continue your scans and checkups forever.
It is a continuous process so keep a good attitude, be vigilant, and be your own advocate.
This is my story.
Have you shared your bladder cancer story?