Mixed Emotions


Hi, please excuse what I can only describe as catharsis.

A Short History: 1999, I passed blood in my urine, went to hosptial, and had a urogram that revealled a poorly functioning right kindey (as I recall). I was diagnosed as having a kidney stone that had broken up in/near the kidney. Despite weeing through a sieve for a week I saw no stone (fragments). Followup urogram revealled a well functioning kidney. At no point do I remember the Urologist looking at my bladder.

In February 2010, following ambulatory monitoring for hypertension, I was referred by my Cardiologist for a urinary tract ultrasound, which revealed a possible transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). In April 2010 flexible cystoscopy revealledpapillary TCC of about 10mm diameter.  In May 2010 I underwent a TURBT followed by one round of intravesical mitomycin. Biopsy results came earlier this week and confirmed a well differentiated G1pTa grade papillary tumour.

Mixed Emotions: I'm 36 years old, recently married and proud father of my first child. Despite the ultrasound, my GP reassured me that the growth was likely to be a bladder polyp and shouldn't be much to worry about. So, I carried on with life as normal until flexible cystoscopy day.

During the cystoscopy I saw the seaweed-like tumour …. and felt numb, then focused on the discomfort and then, post procedure, was fed the C word. To be honest it didn't sit well with me, the clinic was rushed and patient leaflet a scant source of information. I was told referal for TURBT would be quick. Returning home that evening was strange……I felt winded as I tried to tell my wife what was inside me–it was like the verbal equivalent of running in a bad dream–I guess you know what I mean. We went for a walk in the woods to clear our heads, I had my daughter in the sling, the rest is a bit of a blur.

In the coming weeks, we decided not to tell (worry) our parents and siblings with the news; I  mean nothing would be definative until the ridge cystoscopy (TURBT) so why bother–we could cope. So, a mixture of head, sand and love and play was what we used to keep the dark thought clouds at bay.  I can't say much more than my wife has been amazing.

On TURBT day I remember being in theatre prep' and a nurse saying you've had two life-changing experiences this year (daughter and this). Doesn't sound like much out of context, but I'm there cheeks tingling about to go under and just wanting the tumour out and more than anything  to live. We're a young family, I've made little provision, I need them and they need me. The procedure was straight forward, the tumour and stalk removed, intravesical mitomycin and a very painful post catheterisation pee and I was discharged. I spent the next few weeks trying to distract myself.

So here we find ourselves in results week–makes all those school exam result nerves pale into insignificance, doesn't it. My wife and I were both tense in the car on the way to clinic–sometimes it's best not to talk under the circumstances. I had gone through weeks of hoping this was life's kick in the butt and that I'd get a chance to redeem myself. Not that I'm a bad person, I've just come to learn (quickly) how often I've taken life for granted. Meeting with the Urologist was rather surreal, no smiles this time, just a 'how have you been?' After what seemed like an eternity he explained the grading of the tumour and said 'this is likely to be more a nuisance to you than a serious threat to your future health'. The Urologist told me I would need follow-up cystoscopies for the rest of my life….that's all I'm to expect,I'm over the moon. It's a strange feeling to have turned to a Doctor who has just confirmed you've have cancer and thank him for the good news. I was expecting worse.


So, now I'll wait until my first follow-up cystoscopy in September  to see how the future looks. Right now I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a dense and dark wood and for now I've got my back to it. However, I know it will always be there, and I know I will never take tomorrow for granted.

That said, I'm left with just one concern (other than cancer recurrance). In the run up to my TURBT I began to feel a pain in my low back, left side (same side as my tumour). The pain radiates into my groin above my left testicle and also down the inside of my leg. I have told both  my General Practitioner and Urologist about this, but they have little to say on the matter. I have to say the pain is worse when I'm sitting–yet it's still an unresolved concern. My CT scan and biopsy show no metastises……yet the unknown cause of the pain I'm feeling–along with the fatigue I've felt for sometime–concern me.

Thank you for reading. I wish you well and if you're waiting for news I do hope it's good.

 Best wishes


Julian Author