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.

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.