Greetings from a BRAND-NEW member in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

Having always been a strong believer in the notion that sharing one's experiences & getting support from others can really help one get through a trying time, I've been blessed in finding this wonderful web-site & hope to get some insights & suggestions from other BC sufferers.  I'm a 60-year old fellow who's feeling quite healthy & although admittedly not in the best of shape, was totally unprepared to find out that I had a tumor in my bladder a few months ago.  Having had a dime-sized piece of skin cancer removed from the upper part of my right foot about 10 years ago, I wasn't devastated when I heard my name & the "C" word in the same sentence, but of course having a tumor in one's BLADDER is a whole different world from having a surface-cell carcinoma on one's foot.  That one was removed by Moh's surgery about 10 years ago & thank GOD has not returned.  This is however a whole different world & a LOT scarier one!  A routine urinalysis led to my getting an ultrasound of my kidneys & bladder back in December which was what led to the discovery of an abnormal growth & led to the next fun-filled step, a cystoscopy which confirmed its presence back in early January.  I underwent a TURB on the 13th of January & the tumor was removed & went to the pathology lab.  There it was discovered that it was a "Type T2" & the urologist recommended that I undergo a radical cystectomy, removing my bladder AND prostate.  My GP doctor who had NOT seen the pathology report concurred but I'm trying as hard as I can to get 2nd & 3rd opinions to see if perhaps radilogical or chemotherapy might not be acceptable intermediate steps to keep me alive AND to keep my much-loved bladder & prostate—after 60+ years, I admit that I like them RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE!  Since the TURB I did have a CT scan AND a bone scan which indicated NO metastasis of the cancerous tissue outside of my bladder & I will be getting a PET scan at very soon on the advice of an oncologist whom my wife & I met with on Tuesday (the 3rd of March, 2 days ago).  He seems to think that I might be able to benefit from the work of a nice lady oncologist at Medical College of Wisconsin & I'm certainly hopeful that he's correct & my bladder OR at least MOST of it can be left intact.  I don't expect a miracle cure & am prepared to live with some cancer in me as long as the darn stuff doesn't spread like a patch of dandelions!  I read the BLOG from "LasVegasSteve" about "BYEBYEBLADDER" on this web-site & it made me that much more wary & uncomfortable with the notion of having to live without a vital part of my anatomy.  I'm wondering if there are any other gents or ladies in the same boat as I am & what your experiences have been.  I'm hoping that an acceptable alternative can be found to avoid being carved up—I did fine after my quadruple by-pass back in August of 2002, but this RC stuff & the rather nonchalant way the docs seem to lean toward it really has me spooked!  I welcome any comments & suggestions you nice folks have & would find it helpful to hear of your experiences.  THANKS from the BLADDER-BOY of MKE, WIS!

Mark Smith Author