ALL CLEAR - two little words. So brief, so insignificant, and yet so meaningful. Trust me - I shall never tire of hearing that short phrase. This day now marks 15 months of being free from bladder cancer, and we all hope for many more to come. When I cross over 24 months, which should occur in June of 2010, I can begin using the term "remission." But not before then. It is dangerous to believe that this is all behind me. A lifetime of annual inspections such as the one I had today will serve well to remind me of that! In the meantime we shall take the good news as it comes. Our little "club" of bladder cancer folks has had a good few weeks. HK in Toronto had an all clear and just completed 3 very miserable weeks of BCG at 50% dose. Those Canadian doctors sure are conservative, at the expense of the patient's comfort! Then David F. in England went in for a full biopsy under general anesthesia and preliminary results are all clear, we hope the urine stream will be less rosy in the short future! It may be that David is done with treatments for a while - he figures the priority on his case must be low as the response has been a month already in coming. Today I have my all clear, and I look forward to 3 weekly BCG treatments at 1/3 dose starting next Thursday. Keith P. also came thru today with flying colors! On a side note, Robert S. had a mini scare with elevated PSA levels and got to experience a prostate biopsy, but he has lab results already and is also clear from prostate cancer.
The day was over early, if not quickly. The drive down took over an hour rather than the normal 45-50 minutes, due to the presence of road construction on nearly every road we used - a side product of the slow economy. No overtime or night work to speed up operations this year! So the road repairs are now going at a glacial pace. Arrived a few minutes early for a 9:15AM appointment and got to fill out new paperwork due to my insurance being eaten by a larger company necessitating new codes an numbers and whatnot. Gave the normal urine sample an had about a 30 minute wait before Dr. Hopkins came in. We exchanged pleasantries and the inspection was done quickly - less than 60 seconds. The familiar burn going in and out - the scope is flexible, but not so much as the rubber BCG tubes! Dr. Hopkins said, "You're fine - everything looks good!" and was quickly gone. After the usual cleanup, re-dressing, and voiding of the saline used for the inspection we checked at the front to ensure our appointments were still good for the upcoming BCGs, and I was treated to a Levaquin as a prophylactic measure against infection. This drug costs over $21 per pill, and it's good stuff. Effective in the target area and no side effects like the cheaper stuff, I was happy to have it.
So tonight we shall have lamb chops and a nice bottle of wine to celebrate. In the meantime I will do a few more emails and go back to bed. While the physical trauma of the cystoscopy is not so bad, there is always an emotional toll taken by these Judgment Days. As always, I hope you find these musings of mine useful, and I thank all of you for your support. Stay tuned for BCG updates (including blow by blow details for those with morbid tastes) starting next week!