Friday I had the procedure which is in essence a bladder house cleaning.   Any junk that remained from the original mass was taken out is taken care of and a new specimen is sent to pathology.  This is done under general anesthesia with a cast of thousands looking on.  That is an exaggeration, of course, but it really felt that way – surgical assistant, surgical nurse, anesthesia nurse and other unidentified medical personnel (I think).  I’m extremely glad to have been in a comatose state or I would have been embarrassed.  Gurney to operating table, positioned properly – THE END.

The patient (better known as ME) can’t get discharged until 200ml of urine is discharged, translated, pissed.  I can’t tell you how many cups of ice water I had to consume, but finally I got to go home.  Because of the anesthesia, I had to have someone pick me up instead of using the Mobility bus.  My dear friend, Polly, and her granddaughter collected me.  Granddaughter just got her CNA so it was practice for her, not to mention that Polly and her GPS are mortal enemies. I have to admit I was very shaky which I didn’t expect so I was very glad the hospital was insistent on making me have a “chauffeur.”

I got home and with a little help made it up the stairs and into my apartment.  I was told to rest – no instructions needed.  When I got inside and put my “stuff” down, I laid down and immediately fell asleep for 4 hours.  I am not someone who can “nap,” especially when the sun is up.  Well, bathroom called, pain was piercing and I was still light-headed.  I had some tea and went right back to sleep until Saturday morning.  I got up and felt like I had been on a long bender – miserable hangover without alcohol!  Felt bloated, foggy and was nodding off.  Went back to bed – slept until Sunday morning.  Felt like shit but looked well-rested even with no make-up.  Vanity helps.  HA!

This is the second time I had the TURBT and the recovery was very different for both as were the recovery protocols and THE PAIN.  I have a follow-up with my surgeon next week and going to quiz him.

I also have another question – did he really do the surgery both times or did a resident or fellow?  It is a teaching hospital after all.  I would never know since I was out to the world.

Now a bit of funny (you must have a perverted sense of humor to face this).  I was talking to the anesthesiologist and said “So you are going to put me to sleep?”  Her response:  “No, I’m not a vet!”  Chuckle.


Journey through Radiation

After a few months having to make major decision regarding healthcare choices, my journey has begun.  I am starting this blog to share my experiences and possibly help someone who might benefit from what to expect in a similar situation.

I’ll fill in the background as we go along, but for right now, here’s bit of info.  I am a 67 year old widow who was diagnosed with bladder cancer in late 2016. Apparently the first choice of US physicians is surgery to remove the bladder. Well, after experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions I decided to cancel the scheduled surgery and pursue other options.

My attending  oncological urological surgeon (a mouthful!) then referred me to the Director of Bladder Cancer Oncology who then sent me to the radiation oncologist, Dr. Daniel Song. Dr. Song’s research interests include the development and refinement of new imaging methods to improve radiation targeting, as well as innovative means of reducing potential side effects of radiation treatment. His research efforts have been sponsored and funded by competitive grants from organizations such as the Department of Defense, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Song explained that most papers published on treatment with radiology are published in the UK, there there has been much research and various degrees of success.

The complete treatment plan is still in the works, but we are beginning with a second TURBT tomorrow.

Trans-Urethral Resection of a Bladder Tumor is a surgical procedure that is used both to diagnose bladder cancer and to remove cancerous tissue from the bladder.  This will be under general anesthesia, so while a cast of thousands is doing their job in the OR, I’ll be sound asleep.

 According to the American Cancer Society, “Even if the cancer is found to be low grade, a second TURBT is often recommended several weeks later…If the cancer is high grade, if many tumors are present, or if the tumor is very large when it is first found, radical cystectomy may be recommended…Radiation therapy (often along with chemo) might be an option for treatment, although the chances for cure might not be as good.”

I’m lucky to have some of the best medical facilities in the nation.  All of these procedures will be at one of the Johns Hopkins centers; tomorrow is at the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/johns_hopkins_bayview/

I’ll try to post photos, emotions and facts along the way.  If you would like to receive updates via email notifications, please submit the contact form.