Dear Forum Members,
My story started in the spring of 2007.
I am a 38 year old English guy living in the Netherlands.
The initial symptoms that I noticed was that my need to urinate increased and the flow of my urine became intermittent instead of the usual constant flow. The last few drops of my urine were also pink in colour.
I assumed I had a urinary infection and made an appointment at my doctor. The doctor was not concerned by the changes in urination I had mentioned. I gave a sample of my urine for testing and it came back negative for infection and blood.
The symptoms continued for another month and the blood in my urine was still present. I was jumping to all sorts of conclusions and it was playing on my mind so I made another appointment at my doctor.
This time the test was positive for infection and blood and my doctor prescribed a one month course of antibiotics. This did help to clear up my symptoms initially until the last week of my antibiotic course the problems of urination and blood returned.
I returned to my doctor and explained to him that the medication was not working. I was thinking of the worse case scenario in my head, that I may have cancer of the bladder. I was at a higher risk because of cancer deaths in my family although none of them by bladder cancer. When I mentioned this he brushed my worries aside and said it was impossible I was too young to get bladder cancer. He recommended continuing with the medication as bladder infections sometimes need weeks of antibiotics.
The one month antibiotic course had finished and symptoms remained and I decided to press on the issue at my next doctor’s visit and demanded to see a specialist.
Two weeks later I was lying on bed in a Urology department having my prostate checked by the Urologist with an internal echo scan. He said that he saw nothing unusual on the prostate except that it was enlarged. He asked me to come back the following week for a cystoscopy to check my bladder.
The thought of having a flexible tube inserted into my penis and pushed through into my bladder kind of freaked me out the whole week. The information they gave me to read and the info I found online did not help either. It was obviously going to be uncomfortable and I would have to grin and bare it.
It was not a pleasant experience; I was lead into the room and asked to take off my trousers and underwear. Then led into the next room with the cystoscopy equipment and asked to sit in a chair and put my legs into the side straps to hold my legs open. The nurse cleaned the head of my penis with something cold and watery and then inserted some lubricating jelly into my penis. A clip was then put on the end of my penis to stop the jelly coming out.
The Urologist then entered the room and started the procedure which went well up until the point that he reached my prostate and I then clenched down on the scope because of the very strange feeling and tried to grab his hands to pull it out. He told me to take a few deep breaths place my bum back on the chair and with that distraction he pushed on through into my bladder. It literally took him 30 seconds and he said ok we are done and started to retract the scope…retraction was the easy part. He asked me to get dressed and meet him in his office.
He was very direct and honest and said I am sorry to tell you that you have a malignant cancer growth of about 2cm in your bladder and it looked like the shape of a tiny cauliflower. At this point I just stepped into another dimension and my life has never been the same since.
He recommended a TURB operation to remove the cancer growth. He could schedule me in a couple of weeks which freaked me out as I wanted the cancer out and now!!
I begged him to see me straight away and luckily for me he made a few calls and a bed was available. I was scheduled the same day later that afternoon once he had finished his patient list schedule that day.
This cancer growth had probably been growing inside me for a few years already. Waiting two weeks for the operation would not have been a problem. Although a nightmare for me as I would just worry that the cancer was spreading around my body even more.
I walked out of the hospital and walked to the car park and sat in my car and just gathered my thoughts for a while. I made a few phone calls to deliver the news to loved ones. Needless to say the short drive home was in automatic mode as my mind wondered into deep dark places. I even arranged my funeral in my mind on the short drive home. Picking out music that could be played and wondering how family would get over from the UK to Holland for the funeral.
The battle goes on…