Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Now with a side of cancer

April 19, 2015 - had weird thing happen, blood in my urine! ER visit with a clean CT scan and no infection, and a referral to a urologist.

About 2 weeks later, met with the urologist. He set up an ultrasound.

Monday, June 8, I followed up with the urologist and he was smiling when he told me the ultrasound was clear. He proceeded to do a cystoscopy and when I saw this bouncing pink thing that looked like 100 jellyfish huddled together (sans tentacles), he said, "that's a tumor." Right about there, I sort of lost focus. I asked if he was going to snip it off and he said it had to be done in an OR. He talked about cancer, a chemotherapeutic agent that would be instilled, surgery, the possibility of recurrence, and that I was lucky that mine was the size of a grape as the gentleman before me had one the size of a Twinkie. Honestly, I don't want a tumor at all, dude. I did ask where you get these things and he said smoking. Okay, that's off the table.

They said the scheduler would call and we'd get this thing done this week or next. It's Wednesday at 6 p.m., and I haven't heard anything so far. I'm sure they'll get to it.

I sat on a bench outside the center and talked to Richard on the phone, cried a little bit, and then headed for Emily's doughnut shop. They were so worth it. I didn't sleep much Monday night, even after taking one of Richard's pills. I woke up apparently having nightmares and he came in and slept with me for the rest of the night.

Tuesday and today haven't been much better. I'm truly in a funk. I'm allowing myself till Friday morning to have my pity party and then I pick myself up, wipe off the dust, and get on with it. This is what I will be having:

Transurethral surgery

For early-stage or superficial (non-muscle invasive) bladder cancers, a transurethral resection (TUR), also known as a transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT), is the most common treatment. Most patients have superficial cancer when they are first diagnosed, so this is usually the first treatment they receive.
This surgery is done using an instrument passed up the urethra, so it does not require cutting into the abdomen. You will get either general anesthesia (where you are asleep) or regional anesthesia (where the lower part of your body is numbed).
For this operation, a type of rigid cystoscope called a resectoscope is placed into the bladder through the urethra. The resectoscope has a wire loop at its end to remove any abnormal tissues or tumors. The removed tissue is sent to a lab to be looked at by a pathologist.
After the tumor is removed, more steps may be taken to try to ensure that it has been destroyed completely. Any remaining cancer may be treated by fulguration (burning the base of the tumor) while looking at it with the cystoscope. Cancer can also be destroyed using a high-energy laser through the cystoscope.
The side effects of transurethral bladder surgery are generally mild and do not usually last long. You might have some bleeding and pain when you urinate after surgery. You can usually return home the same day or the next day and can resume your usual activities in less than 2 weeks.
Unfortunately, even with successful treatment, bladder cancer often recurs (comes back) in other parts of the bladder. If transurethral resection needs to be repeated many times, the bladder can become scarred and lose its capacity to hold much urine. Some people may have side effects such as frequent urination, or even incontinence (loss of control of urination).
In patients with a long history of recurrent, non-invasive low-grade tumors, the surgeon may sometimes just use fulguration to burn small tumors that are seen during cystoscopy (rather than removing them). This can often be done using local anesthesia (numbing medicine) in the doctor’s office. It is safe but can be mildly uncomfortable.

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