In the beginning

My son was 23 and in Arizona, in their State Prison, serving a 4 month sentence for 1st offense DUI [whatever you do, don't drink and drive in Arizona] when he began having blood in his urine in the latter part of 2009.  To make a very very long story short, he had bladder cancer.  The tumor was very large, and after attempting to remove it via two TURBT procedures, one day apart, the surgeon opted to go in and perform an open resection to get the rest of the tumor out.  In all, over 100 grams of tumor was removed.  Because he was a guest of the state prison, he wasn't given any followup treatment at all – wasn't even taken to his routine followup with the urologist after surgery and was given no information whatsoever about any type of followup.  He figured that since they got the cancer out – he was done. [November 5, 2009]

He wasn't – and it's back, with a vengance .  The tumor viewed recently on CT scan [March 5, 2011] takes up the entire volume of his bladder and because it's so large, there is not an option of removing the tumor, or using drugs to retard it's growth.  His bladder, we're told, must come out.  The tumor is just too large to just take it out without risking tumor spillage into his abdomen or surrounding structures. 

He will have another cystoscopy on the 19th to blast some of the tumor out of the way so the urologic oncologist can get a better look at whatever it is he needs to see to determine what will be the best approach to urinary diversion for him after the radical cystectomy is performed.  We were told the RC would happen in 3-5 weeks, but it seems it will be longer than that since we are already passing the 4 week mark now and the cystoscopy isn't till next week.

 We are hoping for the neo-bladder partly because it seems the most "normal", but also because it seems that with that method he might retain other "functions" that might be quite important to a young, vibrant, single 25 year old man. 

His doctor is at UCSD Moore's Cancer Center here in San Diego, and I am told by the doctor giving us the second opinion that he knows what he's talking about and the suggested course is probably the best option my son has at this point.

I have been reading and reading till I am numb.  I am afraid for him, and for what the future holds.  He's soooooo young, and it's come back sooooo fast and soooo large.  I told him yesterday that I wouldn't freak out, that is not what he needs from me right now – he said, yeah, mom, that's your story and you are sticking to it!

I am terrified right now.