We have a couple new additions to our Bladder Cancer "fraternity." Just over a week ago my parents called to let me know that my first cousin had undergone a TURBT surgery for bladder cancer the previous day. We were all concerned to hear the unwelcome news, and relieved to hear, preliminarily, that all had gone well. Of course my blog and contact information were provided by his mother, and he let me know that he has been reading miscellaneous ramblings here from the beginning. A quick glance at my blog post list tells me that will probably take him a while. Rick emailed me that, "All is looking good at this point with a lucky stage of T-0 and a non-aggressive pathology report." Our family history (no cancer whatsoever) is quite similar, as you would expect, and he was also taken by surprise. I do suspect that our diet and exercise patterns were also similar. One key difference: my cousin does have a 25 year history of pack-a-day plus cigarette smoking, which has now been discontinued. We look forward to catching up with each other on both the good and the bad in the future.
Ken from Kentucky went through 2 TURBTs and began BCG in late December. So we can wish Kentucky Ken a happy and cancer-free new year in 2011. Ken writes: "I'm a bit confused and overwhelmed at this point." I felt exactly the same way, and so does my cousin Rick. It really takes some time to come to grips with the news. Cancer will change your life. It is up to you whether that change will be a positive one.
I also heard from Brian in Atlanta, having just completed his initial six BCGs. His level of discomfort during the first two hours of holding period, and the burning thereafter, was much worse than mine. Perhaps he is more sensitive to the BCG, or more of his bladder tissue was affected by his TURBT. Brian writes: "I know what sleep deprivation feels like. After the 4th round, my wife timed me and I got up during the night every 7 minutes from 11:00PM until 5:00AM." He actually had to take two weeks between Round 5 and Round 6. He is up for his Judgment Day cystoscopy on March 2, the day before mine on March 3. And we can thank the "British Commonwealth Games" for providing Brian his "King of BCG" award graphic.
All of us appreciate your prayers and good thoughts as we go forward!
I am not a big believer in awareness campaigns or wearing ribbons. With the internet available to most, finding information has never been easier. And wearing ribbons can be supportive, I suppose. But the reality is that a kind word or a prayer would be more effective. I mention it because when I was harvesting the internet for some images to decorate today's blog post, I was amused to discover that the "awareness ribbon" for bladder cancer is the appropriate color. So take a look at the image below and don't be afraid to giggle out loud...