Heart Transplant Recipent & Bladder Cancer Survivor

I am a 51 year old male, who received a heart Transplant 10 years ago, due to viral Cardiac Myopathy. I could spend two hours telling you about that miracle, but this webpage is about Bladder Cancer and so I will tell you the rest of the miracle!!

May of 2007, I had a lot of blood in my urine. Because of my transplant I  immediatly went to ER Room. I was told that I had a kidney stone, but that I was to follow up with a urologist the next day. The urologist told me after looking at the cat scan that the bleed was not from a kidney stone. When I asked what would cause blood in my urine, she told me that she would "scope me" in a few weeks and find out.

Before I could get my breathe back after the insertion of the scope, she told me "I know where your bleeding is coming from. You have a gumball sized tumor in your bladder. I will have to go in (in a  few more weeks) and surgicaly remove this tumor".

After the tumor was removed and the pathology was finished, for some reason the physician did not want to give me the results. My opinon is that since she knew of my heart transplant she was reluctent to give me the bad news.  I called my Transplant Center Hospital and told them my problems. They told me they would call my urologist (at my local hospital). A short time later a PO with the urology department called and said "I'm sorry to inform you that you have a third stage cancerous tumor of the baldder" (Urthelia Carcenoma).

At this point I made the desicion to go to Hershey Medical Center (where my Heart Transplant occured) to have my cancer treatment. The dignosis was confirmed aftr reveiwing the Pathology slides. My Oncologist referred me to Doctor Reese Head of the urology Department. He did another surgery to remove the base of the tumor and did a chemotherapy wash to the lining of the bladder. The results showed that the tumor had made it into the muscle tissue of the bladder. Dr Reese told me I would need chemotherapy. I did chemo for three 3 week sessions. the first week was a combination treatment of Cisplatin and Gimbidocin, followed by treatments on the 2nd and 3rd weeks 0f gimbidocin. Dr Reese said the professional team decided that removal of my bladder and prostrate was needed and recommended that I have a neobladder reconstruction. He felt that because of the  risk of infection with other collection devices, a neobladder was my best option.

My surgery lasted 11 hours and was very successful. The recovery was tough, considering how fatiqued I was from Chemo. The first few weeks I needed my wife to help me with all my needs. The rinsing of the neobladder could be done by the patient, but it would be difficult (due to mucus production). She was my angel, for the 2nd time.

6 Months out, I can stay dry all day, but night is a roll of the dice. I can put things in my favor by limiting my fluids after  6 PM and by completley emptying the neo bladder before going to bed. I wear an attends and usally have to change it during the night and again empty my neobladder. I protect the bed with a pad.It becomes easier to figure this out as time goes on, and some nights I can stay dry!

I thank God for his healing in my life again. I'm cancer free at the moment and grateful to all my medical staff for their expertise and caring. This isn't an easy process, but in the end is another miracle in my life.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have by emailing me at reichjt@verizon.net

God Bless you and I will be praying for your recovery!




Joey L. Reich Author