Monday, September 20, 2010

Why Me? Why Not Me? Part 9

By Alison

IX. Here We Go Again

So in the last episode, I had a nice clean bladder with maybe a little red spot on it. A brief day surgery afterwards showed that it was not cancer and in fact there was no cancer anywhere in my bladder or in my urine. I had a three-month vacation from doctor visits. I could tell people I had no discernible cancer, and some of my dear ones surprised me: one woman held me close and kept saying, “Thank you, Jesus.” I was very touched. We have worked together for a long time but I did not know she was so affectionate.

However. However. As you may know, it is not my style to “rest easy;” a couple husbands would probably still be with me (well, one or the other of them anyway, you know what I mean) if it were. I am…alert. I pay attention, good or bad. (I was visiting a friend recently and overheard her asking her partner something, and the partner said, “I’m fine, I’m fine!” I knew that voice, exasperated, impatient. And I knew my friend had seen or heard or sensed something and was paying attention and asking. *Sigh*)

So I started in on checking out other health matters that had been set aside. I started taking more blood pressure medicine so it would go lower. I had tests of my blood sugar, unfortunately so far positive; I seem to be cooking up a case of type II diabetes despite healthy eating. I must eat too much even of blueberries. I had my heart checked out and praise be, it is a wonderful healthy heart.

However, by mid-August I had a few signs. I had a tiny drop of blood. I had changes in urine. I had a low, deep pain that sometimes came and went in a flash. I was alert, I was paying attention, and I emailed my doc and my nurse and asked: Can I give you a urine sample to look at? Something is up. And please include cytology (i.e., checking for cancer).

So I went in and gave them a sample August 25. Not sure when the results came back, but they were positive. There were “atypical cells.” That is: the cancer came back. “We thought it was a goner, but the cat came back, ‘cause it wouldn’t stay away!”

Not many know this, though I did try to tell people: between 50 and 90% of people with bladder cancer get it treated and it comes back WITHIN ONE YEAR. You know, those are really short odds. People can say all they want about having the best attitude and eating the greatest food and etc., but the odds are short and they belong to the cancer, not to me. That’s my take on it anyway. I mean, this sucker didn’t even wait for my scheduled appointment in a mere three months!

I saw the doc for yet another cystoscopy and we could see cancer; not so much the seaweed and the flowers, but a big bulge and a bleedy spot and – just not OK. I had a vacation all planned so I went on it. I am back (and it was wonderful). In two days I have another surgery to remove the tumor(s) again.

As I was leaving my doc’s office I turned around and asked him: Is the next one [surgery] the big one? He said, yes, he thought it was. I was so glad he was honest with me, I ran over and shook his hand. He says I have failed two treatments (there it is again! – in fact, THEY failed ME), and “three strikes and you’re out.” That is, three times of having this cancer despite treatment means the cancer has to come out; lock, stock, and barrel. Or, in my case, bladder, uterus, and ovaries, and who knows what all else.

Thing is, I kind of had a feeling. From the beginning. It is good not to be shocked and horrified. It is good to think, Ah, so…it is as I thought. At least, I prefer it so.


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