Leigh’s Journey With Bladder Cancer


Once admitted into the hospital later that day I was given directions to my Urology ward and I was allocated into a room with four other beds. It was not long before they called my name and said that it was time.

The procedure was done by local anaesthetic by inserting a needle in my back and after 15 minutes I had no feeling from the waist down. The procedure was very quick just 30 minutes and very similar to the cystoscopy only this time with tools to scrape the growth and burn the wound closed.

On the ceiling of the operating room hung a large reflective mirror and I could see all the theatre staff at work. This was really weird and although with body and soul present for the event, in a way in my mind I was watching from afar.

It became uncomfortable during the procedure and I requested extra pain medication. I was given an injection and my next memories were waking up in the recovery room.

Shortly after I was taken back to the ward, I had no pain and was happy it was over. I had a catheter in my penis and was told that my bladder was filled with a chemotherapy rinse to kill any cancer cells that may have been scattered around during surgery. Nurses attending me were wearing protective clothing when checking the catheter bag. The full bags of bloody urine were placed into a special box next to my bed for chemical waste.

I could eat and drink anything although advised to drink as much as possible to flush out my system. I had a great night sleep until I was awoken at 06:00 to have my catheter removed. This really did not hurt at all…the thought of having my first pee was what I was worried about.

Of course it was not long before I had to pee and yes it was painful just like rubbing salt or lemon into a wound but it was bearable. It was just a very intense burning sensation that slowly diminished after I finished urinating. Once my urine was clear of blood which was around late morning I was allowed to go home.

It took two weeks for all the pain during urination to completely go away and occasionally I would pee out a small blood clot or scab from the healing wound. This apparently is very normal and part and parcel of the healing process.

CT scan:

A CT scan was scheduled in late June 2007 which was a series of scans to cover the pelvic and abdominal area. I had to drink x2 500ml bottles of contrast fluid before I came to the appointment. On arrival I had to drink one more bottle which nearly made me vomit. It just did not taste great…a kind of metal taste. They inserted an intravenous drip and put a tube up my bum both of which were fed more of the contrast fluid for the different kind of CT scans they needed. After the scan was completed which took roughly 30 minutes I had to visit the toilet to get rid of the fluid fed into my bum.

Scan and Pathology results:

Two days later I had an appointment with my Urologist for the results. I am so glad I was not alone. The CT scan and pathological reports confirmed invasive bladder cancer. The solution offered for type of cancer was for a radical cystectomy with neo bladder.

Second Opinion:

After a few days of information searching on the internet I came across the blc web cafe which I found to be very helpful. Just reading the experiences of others was enough to make me feel like I was no longer alone in my battle. I read a post on second opinions and decided this is what I should do also and took the steps needed to make that happen.

It took around two weeks to get an appointment with another Urologist in a larger medical centre. The diagnosis and treatment offered was exactly the same which I had expected. Of course I was hoping for a different outcome…it was a big mistake would have been great!! It did however confirm it more psychologically that this was the best option in my situation for a chance at a longer life.

The battle goes on….


Leigh Author