Hi. My name is Carol. I was diag. with bla.ca. 2003, invasive tumor removed. 13 BCG treatments, cancer returned Jan. 2006 while living with new partner in Southern CA. I returned to Northern CA to consult with my original urologist and after reviewing all data he strongly suggested that I have my bladder removed. I am 68, healthy and good spirit; we both agreed I could go through this surgery and come out with good changes for ridding myself of this cancer. He referred me to a doctor in Marin County, south of Sonoma County where I live. The guy really impressed me and said that he was going to give me the best new bladder he could possibly give me. I was checked throughly for any other cancer cells and found none, including all the biospied material from the surgery. No one in my county does this type of surgery and this doctor came highly recommend. When I checked into have tests done, all the admitting people would say, "Oh you have the "A Team". I felt stronger and stronger about proceeding. Scared? You betcha. But I was determined not to have to keep going through this worry for the rest of my time on the planet. I have good support systems and many whom I love and love me. It is the ingredient that got me through….the safety of love. I am a therapist and a "helper" type and a giver. Now it was my time for others to give to me and wow…did they. I am a changed person because this cancer came into my life…in so many ways.
On May 2nd I had a 7 hour surgery and stayed in the hospital 9 days. The doc came every day, morning and night to check on me and encourage me. I was extremely patient and at ease with what I had to do…stay calm and bring positive energy into my body. I wasn’t used to the absolute no control over energy and that took some doing for me. But I learned to relax and take it one minute at a time. After 3 days post surgery I was up walking the halls with catheter intact. I made friends and thanked everyone who helped me. The nurses were great and helped me every inch of the way at the hospital. I limited visits and did nothing to tire myself out needlessly. I came home which is a temporary home for me as my partner is still in S. CA., and cannot come here until her job is finished. She visits when she can and remains a loyal and great support to me. I have been slowly recovering and had the catheter I came home with removed 2 weeks ago. Yesterday, my doc told me that I was doing so well he couldn’t believe it. I am at voiding every 4 hours…pretty much where I will stay. It is almost as through I have my own bladder, works like a charm. No incontinence at all!
I am still struggling withe eating and gaining weight back. Bowels are loose in the am, but that will change as I get stronger and the bowel is completely healed as well. My doc told me yesterday that he has never had anyone do so well so early and that he would see me in 3 months. Hooray! I am proud of my grit, but then that quality is just part of me and whatever I do..thank goodness. I gave him a big kiss on the cheek and told him that he is my hero and bless him for all his skills.
I have absolutely no regrets and look forward to living a cancer free life. I will take part in the Relay for Life in a month and walk with the survivors because now I do feel like a true survivor. I know this was the best option for me and I am ready to go forward with my life and live in gratitude that I found the resources inner and out there to help me through this. I am sending all of you out there the best possible path for your own challenges and send many, many prayers.