Friends, this is a public service announcement based on close personal experience. Bladder cancer has few, if any, symptoms. My symptom was very clear, and I almost ignored it completely. Don’t do the same thing, please. If you’re not squeamish, keep reading. If you are, skip to the end.
In July, I saw blood in my urine. Just a little, making it somewhat like, perhaps, the color of a zinfandel. Scared me a little, but when I self-diagnosed using Google, there were lots of causes and bladder cancer was at the bottom of the list. One of the causes is heavy exercise. At the time, I had been running stairs quite a bit. Yes, that was what caused it. Had to be. In other words, I blew it off. About a month later, the last week in August, it happened again. This time was more like Cabernet or perhaps cranberry juice. Called the doctor. Turns out, I had just partially torn my calf muscle the previous day. VERY PAINFUL!! The doc said that it was very possible the two were related, in that the injury was worse than a bruise, causing some very minor internal bleeding and this was my body’s way of getting rid of that. At the end of September, it happened again. This time, “port.” Doc said get a CT Urogram and go to the urologist.
Urologist did what urologists do. He checked everything. The urogram showed what could be a tumor, but he had to check. When he checked, he said there is a tumor, and he believed it was cancer.
Next step: remove it, and do the pathology.
Prognosis for bladder cancer is below. For official info, see this link.
If it’s a “Ta” or “T1”, we’re just fine. Remove it, get an injection (again, in through the out door) every week for 9 weeks, and we’re all done. We prayed for THIS result. If it’s a T2 or higher, I get a 2012 model bladder, and a lot more medication. We prayed that we would NOT have this result.
Monday, November 5, 2012, the urologist removed a 1″ tumor from my bladder. Percocet. For. The. Win. The rest of Monday and most of Tuesday are a complete blur, but I’m told that both of our cars broke down. My wife’s had a cylinder misfire. My car’s starter died. Our garage door broke, which it tends to do when your wife drives your car into it. The sump pump in our basement (“the terrace level”) had burned out a few days earlier and was REALLY starting to stink, much to the kids’ chagrin, since that’s their “terrace level”. Oh, and then there was that election. Couldn’t get enough percocet to make that go away, could I? Good times.
Yesterday, Thursday, we learned that the biopsy had been completed. Supposed to take 10 days, but thank you God, it took three. So Angel and I went to the doc’s office today to find out (a) is it cancer and (b) is it aggressive, meaning “Ta” or “T1”. We got a hearty greeting from the doc: “I’ve got really good news!” Thank you, God.
It was cancer, but it was a “Ta”, meaning it had not infected the outer linings of my bladder. Booyah, thank you Jesus! Praise God! No more treatment. Just a check up every 3 months for a year, then once or twice a year after that.
The moral of this lesson is this: if you see blood in your urine, CALL THE DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.