Muscle invasive multi-focal TCC of the bladder (grade III & IV), Nerve-sparing radical cystectomy with orthtopic neobladder
Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for this excellent web site. It has been a great resource since my diagnosis.
It has been four weeks since my surgery and my recovery is going very well. Not quite back to normal yet but I can definately see the light at the end of the tunnel.
All but one of my catheters is out and yesterday I began voiding through my uretha. It has went well so far, quite a bit of dribbling at first but I am gaining more control by the hour.
My surgery and recovery have been uneventful. Pain was well managed post-surgery and there have been no complications, my hospital stay was 8 days. The greatest source of aggravation during my inital recovery was the five catheters and drainage bags. Dealing with them was a daily challenge. Gas pains were a source of discomfort from time to time, in fact, my digestive system is just now getting back up to speed.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign of all is that I have been able to achieve several erections both at night and during the day. During the first couple of weeks after surgery, there was no sign of an erection and, to be honest, I was almost certain I had lost it. The second day home from the hospital I woke up in the middle of the night and, to put it quite mildly, was pleasently surprised. Of course, the Foley was still in which made it less pleasent phsyically than emotionally.
When I was first diagnosised, I could hardly bear the thought of undergoing a cystectomy. I postponed my surgery to explore other options before facing the inevitable. I underwent a PET scan which came back clean. Once I knew that the cancer was almost certainly confined to the bladder, I decided surgery was my only option. I have two young children so I had to go for the treatment that offered a potential cure. In the end it was a no-brainer. The pathology report after surgery showed no progression beyond the bladder itself.
My Doctors did a great job. Dr. Todd Fleming performed the surgery with assisstance and guidance from Dr. PK Reddy. Dr. Reddy was an early pioneer in orthotopic bladder replacement. The nurses were great as well.
I consider myself very fortunate. I would not have thought that two months ago. Before my diagonsis, I took everything a little too seriously. Now, I have found a new perspective on life. Of course, I still have a long road ahead and I do anticipate some bumps along the way but it appears the worst has past.
The last of the catheters came out today. The last one to go is the drain for the neobladder. I plugged the catheter last Thrusday and have voided exclusively through my uretha since.
I’m monitoring my urine output closely for the time being. Soon, I should fall into a routine regarding my fuild intake and urine output so that if there is a problem, I can quickly become aware of it.
The doctor wanted me to “cath” myself today but I was able to talk him out of it. I have everything I need to catheterize myself and will do it (or my wife will) if the need should ever arise.
During the day I am now almost 100% dry, I still wear a pad for extra confidence but I expect to discontiue that in a couple of weeks. At night, it is tougher. I tried a sheath catheter but it made me uncomfortable. Currently I am using a disposable pad that attaches with tape to the mattress cover. So far I have had two wet nights and two dry nights. The pad keeps the bed dry so even if I have a dribble or two it isn’t any inconvenience.
I will probably update two or three more times. I hope my experiences help someone out there. I clearly remember the “dark days” before my operation. I had so many doubts. Feel free to Email me. Take care.
Everything has gone as well as could be expected. I am 100% continent and I no longer need any form of protection day or night. Two weeks ago I had a post surgery CAT scan and everything was fine.
My energy level is back to normal and I’m on the treadmill everyday trying to lose the extra pounds I picked up during my first few weeks home.
Of course, I fear a return of the “monster”. I expect that there will be complications from my surgery sooner or later but a reoccurance of the cancer would be heart-breaking. For now, all indications are that the cancer is gone, I feel great and I have the great confidence in my doctors. I am a very fortunate man.
I decided to update my storyboard one last time. Almost seven months have passed since my surgery and I consider myself fully recovered. My last doctor appointment was on 3/12/01 for a chest X-ray and some blood tests. My next appointment is for a CAT scan in September.
My neobladder functions well. I am able to go 5 hours between voidings at night and 2 to 3 hours during the day. I drink a minimum of 2.5 liters of water per day to help keep my urine clear and I have not had to catherize myself.
I began taking Viagra a few months ago. While the Viagra definitely helps, I have had continous gradual improvement in the quality of my erections since my surgery.
I never expected that my quality of life would be so good after surgery. I still feel anxiety from time to time concerning a reoccurrence of the cancer. I suppose that fear will continue to linger for some time. Take care.