Learning From Another's Experience - July 5, 2008

The BCG Experience - compiled from a British guy's cancer blog. He lives in the historic county of Kent and remains anonymous, referring to himself as "A Dived Ref," which I'm guessing is an anagram of part or all of his real name. The county of Kent covers the southeast of the Isle of Britain and ranges from near London to the white chalk cliffs of Dover. ADR describes his location as "5 minutes from the country." It looks to be a nice place to grab a pint or two of "hydration" - see the photos. His blog is a different style than mine, often posting several times a day on a stream of consciousness level. I picked through his experiences to see what might be expected for me. He underwent two six-week BCG sessions, with a TURBT before and after each, which is slightly different from the American protocol. Still, it's working well for him. You can find his blog HERE.

He's had two sets of six BCG treatments, the first in Nov-Dec 2006 and the second in June-July 2007. His grading included Carcinoma in Situ (CIS), which apparently requires a more aggressive BCG treatment than mine. (Not sure about this, just interpolating between his experience and what my Doc said) He experienced similar but not identical side effects each time. As of this writing I have experienced NO side effects, so what we have is my interpretation of ADR's interpretation at this point. I'd be happy if it stays that way, but I imagine I'm in for my own set of lovely side effects coming soon...

ADR has some very encouraging words for the rest of us:

Anyone going through these - stick with it - it isn't pleasant but it is targeted directly where the cancer was or is and acts directly on it. The shocks to your system are manageable, you just mustn't think that you can carry on as normal straight afterwards - the best thing is to lie down and take it easy, drink plenty of liquids and take things steady.

If there was such a thing as a "good" cancer to get it may well be bladder cancer. It is treatable and generally (in men) you can tell pretty quickly whether you have got it. Most of the people going in with symptoms have the earlier presentation that can be surgically removed or can be treated. The response rates are good and so on. There are of course other issues but generally it is one that caught early can be treated and it appears you can have it recur for a long time and keep treating it.

It occurred to me that not all cancers are going to be like that. some of course are just cut out and that is it. Some are far more difficult to detect and by the time they are detected they may be advanced.

I was explaining that I felt I was very lucky to have bladder cancer and to be in a country where it is treatable. - A Dived Ref

My extraction from ADR's blog of the symptoms I might be looking forward to is placed on THIS BACKPAGE to protect our more sensitive readers. (It's about 5 out of 10 on the gross-out scale, or maybe a 7-8 if you are particularly good at visualizing from the verbal descriptions. Sorry - that's the fairest warning I can give for it!)


Anonymous said...

Steve, Dealing with BCG symptoms sounds like it might be rough, but you can definitely do it! I'm sure your relaxation techniques will continue to help a lot.

Steve Kelley said...

Thanks for the kind words. We'll see in a day or two if the relaxation works. Would be nice to have more than 7 days between "invasions!"