Leigh’s Journey With Bladder Cancer


I spent 10 days at home with my two catheters and it was a very slow process building up my strength day by day. Walking around the living room or visiting the toilet was enough to feel exhausted.

During these 10 days at home I had a great support network to help me which is so important. Rest and relaxation was the order from the doctor and eating as much as possible to get my strength back. During my 22 day hospital stay I lost 14 kilo’s in weight and it took a good week before I noticed that I was filling out again and not so gaunt.

I truly believe that getting to your home environment really improves your physical wellbeing and I vastly improved in body and mind during this time at home.

Catheter removal:   

I was admitted back into hospital for the removal of the catheters and to be given instructions and advise on how to self catheter.

The first day the catheter in my penis was removed I was totally incontinent. I was told this would be the case for a few days and that I would slowly learn how to hold the urine myself. I spent this first day in a nappy until I had this under control.

The first time I self catheterized was very uncomfortable and I kind of got stuck half way and when the nurse tried she got stuck at the same point.

That day the nurses and Urologist tried 8 times to insert a catheter with no success. This did not give me a very good impression…and they expected me to do it alone at home twice a day. As you can imagine my urinary tract was pretty sore and I was not looking forward to any more attempts.

A cystoscopy was scheduled to see if I had a blockage; the cystoscopy went straight into the neo bladder with no problem. The Urologist turned the monitor to me so I could watch him do it again and follow the path of the urinary tract.

Later that day I tried again with a different catheter that turned up slightly at the end which helped me get around my bend. It is not a pleasant experience when I self catheterize although it has become a lot easier with time.

Luckily from day one of removal of the catheter I have been able to urinate in the regular way with ought the need to catheterize. Granted I had little control over the urine but by the second day the improvements were remarkable and I was a very happy to get out of the nappies.

If this continued I would only need to catheterize once a day to cleanse my new bladder which sounded great to me.

Day two and I had the regular catheter replaced back into my penis so that the other catheter could be removed from my navel which was connected to the top of my bladder. This had to heal for 24 hours before the regular catheter was removed once more. At this point I was free of all tubes for the first time in over a month.

Urinating every two hours was instilled in me by the nurses. I had lots of accidents in the beginning and mostly with standing up or coughing and sneezing. Sanitary towels came in handy and replaced regularly initially.

On day three I was packed off home with my new bladder and with my catheter pack and syringes and bottles of saline in tow. 

The battle goes on…


Leigh Author