Leigh’s Journey With Bladder Cancer

Radical Cystectomy Part 2:

On the sixth day my intestines were still sleeping and then the central line came into action as they decided to feed me using this method. They used a special liquid food that absorbs into the blood and systems. This method continued for several more days as my intestines decided to take a holiday also and refused to come on line. Of course I received all important nutrients and vitamins to sustain life. This however did not stop my body weight melting away.

It was the little things that meant so much to me giving me a sign of hope that I would be going home soon. Every morning I would be eagerly waiting for news that a drain tube may be removed or the central line tube or something. And slowly but surely over the two weeks one by one the tubes were removed.

Pathology reports from the operation confirmed that two lymph nodes had cancer cells in them and chemotherapy was advised once I had recovered from the operation.

Finally on the 14th day after surgery my stomach and intestines started to work in harmony and I drank liquids for the first time in two weeks. The next day I could have yogurt and custard and in the evening I had a chicken sandwich which was very hard to swallow but dipped into warm tomato soup went down very well. The small little things that I took for granted I was so grateful for and I must have said thank you in my head a million times.

Things were going really well until I had a little set back when my abdomen became very swollen and painful. I had a CT scan and it was confirmed that I had fluid in my abdomen which was probably a leak from the neo bladder. That same day I had a new drain put in very low in my pelvic area and several bags of fluid were drained from my pelvic area.

The liquid draining off into the bags was a mixture of urine and wound liquid and I was observed very closely as my temperature hit the high zone on many occasions and antibiotics were used for fighting infection. It was very disheartening and my hospital stay had turned into a marathon. I was warned at the very beginning that if all goes well 10 days was the average hospital stay with no complications. At the end of the day I was happy to be alive and I could see a little progress daily.

On day 22 I was allowed to go home with two catheters in tow I was still weak and even the little things were exhausting but I had a great support network helping me. My home was a couple of hours away by car and the journey home was great although very painful as every bump in the road sent shock waves through my body. Finally home with my loved ones and I cried and cried and cried. All the emotions of the last few months came out and it felt so good. My neighbours hung balloons outside the house as a welcome home which added to the emotional tears of joy and pain and sadness.

The battle goes on:


Leigh Author