superficial papillomas(2), low grade
This is Joe’s daughter, Marie; I’m writing his story as an encouragement to all, and am writing it myself ONLY because he is 97 years old, and his vision is not good due to macular degeneration. He is alive and well, seven years after his initial diagnosis!
In March of 1995, he had the classic hematuria symptom, and went to a urologist immediately for a consultation. Cystoscopy revealed two small papillomae, both cleanly excised. At the time, Joe was three months short of his 90th birthday. He stuck with the usual follow-up schedule of examinations…..every three months for the first year, every six months from years 2-5, and once a year after that. It was not until January 2002, almost 7 years later, that he had a recurrence. Once again he had surgery to remove two small papillomae. When he went back for a checkup in May, there were three new growths, so he had them removed again in June, two weeks before his 97th birthday.
Joe is now undergoing BCG therapy. He just completed his third treatment, and has had NO side effects at all….no cystitis, no pain, etc. The urologist has been extremely careful with the catheterizations because of his age. Consequently there has been no trauma, and he is tolerating the treatment very well.
At 97, in his eighth year of this condition, Joe still has lunch at the senior center three days a week, walks down to visit the neighbors every day, and his life has not changed in any way.
Well, Joe had his last BCG treatment today! The urologist gave him a week off between each of the last two treatments, because he had quite a few red blood cells in his urine sample. That is the ONLY side effect he has had during this entire treatment. He is feeling very well (took the neighbor’s garbage pails in for them today!!!) and will be checking back with the urologist in a month, to see how everything looks. The doctor said that he was a superb patient, and has high hopes that the treatment will drastically reduce
the need for any further TURs (he’s already had three).
We’ll keep you posted!
AWESOME news!! Joe went back for a “peek and poke” today, a month after his last BCG treatment. He was CLEAN, other than one tiny low-grade papilloma that the urologist just plans to observe. He actually thought there was a possibility that it was on its way out, rather than in! Just going to keep an eye on it for now, and Joe doesn’t have to go back until March. So he will have a wonderful 98th Christmas this year, and possibly a few more, from the looks of it. Keep the faith!
Update on Joe – 3/24/03
It’s been a rocky winter….Joe spent New Years Eve and 10 days afterwards in the hospital, with
pneumonia, septicemia, and ICU psychosis. Surely a 97-year-old man could not survive such a combination of illnesses. WRONG! He came home on January 10th, with a couple of extra medications plus a home health aide, and is doing very well. Today he ventured out for the first time since getting out of the hospital, for a follow-up visit to the urologist. Six and a half months since his last BCG treatment, five and a half months since his last “peek and poke,” and three months before his 98th birthday, he is CLEAN!!!! Now he’s talking about joining his friends at the Senior Center again, but adamantly refuses to go to the Persian Gulf, even if he is one of the oldest retired submariners in the country!
Update on Joe – 10-9-03
This story was formerly called, “Joe, age 97 and doing great!” I had to modify the title, because Joe is now 98! On Monday, he went for his six month checkup to the urologist. No new tumor activity, everything looks great. He is still looking forward to that 100th birthday party we’ve promised him….only one year eight months to go. So he’s passing the time by enjoying the Red Sox having a great end of season, and hoping this will be their year!
Update on Joe – 11/25/03
I am sad to inform you that on November 9th, Joe died peacefully in his sleep, at the age of 98 years and 5 months. He had a small stroke on the 19th of October, which impaired his ability to swallow. After only three days in the hospital, he was discharged to a rehab center, and was doing well. Then he started aspirating food, and developed bilateral pneumonia and pulmonary edema. He was just too tired to fight this off. After nine more days in the hospital, they sent him back to rehab, and two days later, at 1:15 in the morning, he slipped away. We miss him terribly, and really regret that he did not live to see his 100th birthday, or see the Red Sox win the World Series. But I hope it helps everyone on this list to know that he died over eight years after the initial diagnosis of bladder cancer, completely free of it, and of a completely unrelated cause. My love and prayers are with all of you as you journey to your recovery!