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Another victim/survivor

YorkyMom
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2004

I never thought I'd find myself at a site such as this. I am a 38 yr. old female diagnosed with bladder cancer in Oct. of 2002. No signs/symptoms preceeded the diagnosis, other than my urine stream not being quite 'right' and having to force to empty the bladder completely. A urine sample proved to have traces of blood and from there, I was sent for an immediate IVP and ultrasound where the tumor was seen. It was about the size of a strawberry. I am a smoker since the age of 10 (yes, that isn't a typo and I'm ashamed to have to admit that to anyone)... I'm told this is the cause of my cancer. My tumor was superficial (T1) (thankfully) and didn't invade the deeper tissues of the bladder wall. I had one round of chemo at the time of excision just in case any cells went astray at the time of surgery with no other chemo or radiation needed since then. I have to go every 3 months for a cysto. This past one I was told that the excision site looks a little 'rough' (could this be squamous cells?) and that it wasn't cause for concern, but they will follow it by having me drop off three days of urine sample prior to my next cysto in 3 months to run some 'additional tests'. Does anyone know what these tests are and what it will tell the doctor? In the interim, I am trying desparately to quit smoking and got the patch today, after a week of trying to quit cold-turkey, with a few "slips". I was told that even if I quit smoking, although it will greatly reduce the risk of a reoccurence, that it doesn't diminish those odds to NO reoccurence. My doctor likened it to being like a skin cancer - which forms years later from the damage that was done many years before. This really scares me. I live alone and have moved away from my family. I don't like them to worry so I don't really talk about it much with them. After reading some of the stories of experiences of some of you here, I am very scared of what my fate will be. Can any of you offer any hope?

Thank you for any help... I hope to learn alot from this site and this board.

amyned
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2004

i just wanted to tell you to "hang in there" my thoughts and prayers are with you. my husband has bladder cancer. He is 53 and i am 33. his was a stage 4 very aggressive. your story scares me to death, as you're not that much older than me and i have been smoking for about 20 years. i better not start rambling....my whole story would be way too long to put in here, but keep your hopes up even tho i know it's very difficult. being a superficial tumor i've read and heard as i'm sure you have, that you have a very good chance at beating this. take care.

YorkyMom
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2004

Thank you for your kind response. I'm sure trying .... and will continue to try to quit.... but it's been difficult ..... Will also keep your husband in my good thoughts and prayers.... I never even knew there was such a thing as bladder cancer till I got it... much less did I know smoking could cause it. When I found this site I was SO scared to be reading all the things I read ..... I just don't know what to make of it all....
Thank you again, I sincerely appreciate you responding to me....

BillH
Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2004

I have just joined this site as a survivor. I was diagnosed 13 years ago with bladder cancer (stage 2 and nearly stage 3). Had 2 surgeries and 14 months of BCG. I am here today and will tell you that one of the most significant keys to my survival was to quit smoking "cold tukey". My doctor said to me--"I am confident that I can save your life but you are part of the equation. I can give you all the treatment in the world but what will make more of a difference than anything is that you must quit smoking. You can smoke or you can live--you decide." Well, I had to think that one over for a while but finally decided that I would give life one more chance. I threw away the cigarettes and began a journey to a new life. 13 years later I am still here, very happy and a true believer in miracles. Cigarettes today disgust me! Hardly what I would have said back then but that was a different life. Cancer is a relentless foe and the only way to beat is to be even more relentless. Throw away the butts and chose life. You will never regret the decision. There are no guarantees in life but in this battle you must gather every resource and strength you can call on. Do not allow yourself to be defeated.

YorkyMom
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi Bill, Thank you for writing. You sound like a strong willed person and I admire you for that. I, on the other hand, am having a terribly hard time of quitting, yet I know I really should. This isn't the first time I've tried to quit, and surely won't be the last. But as you know, it's just not that easy. I've always been in awe of those who could stop cold turkey and never look back. Please keep me in your good thoughts that I too, will muster up what I know I must to quit this bad habit ...
Thank you again for writing...and continued good health and successes to you.

silvergray's picture
silvergray
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2003

I was diagnosed with stage one cancer in 1998, blood in the urine took me into the Dr. where they did a biopsy, and scraped my bladder wall. The cancer was all removed at that time. In 2000 the cancer returned to the same place in my bladder, again after a cystoscope and another biopsy the cancer was all removed, I then had bcg treatments, 6 of them. I remained free of any cancer until sept. 2003 when a biopsy determined the cancer had at that time invaded the musscle wall of my bladder. On the 12th of Jan. 2004 my bladder was removed and now have an ostomy bag hanging on me. have had 1 chemo treatment and will have 3 more over the next 2 months.
What I`m saying is that I continued to smoke during the entire 5 yrs. of treatment and this is why I`m in the condition I`m in now. If you want NO chance of defeating this cancer, just keep on smoking, and you too will be carrying a bag on your side.. Good Luck.

YorkyMom
Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2004

I'm so sorry.... And I fear having things get to that point for me.... It sure is an eye opener. I appreciate you taking the time to write me and share your experience..... I wish you all the best as we all make our way down the path of this 'thing' in our own time, and in our own way ...

Military
Posts: 31
Joined: Mar 2004

I was just diagnosed with bladder cancer this last week. My doctor had removed a tumor last month only to have it return. He suggests that I have my bladder removed and gives me two options one of which uses an external bag and the other in which he is one of the leading experts involving the removal of a small section of the lower intestine and reconstructing a new bladder. I am at a loss as to which approach to take. Does the external bag limit your activity such as golf or traveling?

What is so discouraging is that in November I saw no less than five doctors who diagnosed me as having a kidney stone. They were so confident in there diagnosis that they circled the stone(s) on the X-rays. In fact, I had over fifty x-rays taken and reviewed by the doctors. It was the urologist who decided he needed a CT be taken and this along with other procedures confirmed the problem. I am 61 and retired from a major aerospace corporation and the Air Force. Any input you have would be appreciated. Thanks.

chrisbsc05
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2004

I too never thought I would be at a sight for cancer. I was diagnosed when I was four months pregnant with my son, no signs that something may be wrong until we went to have an ultrasound and the tumor was there, we went to a urologist and within an hour had to make the decision to have surgery. My son is now 4 this month and is very healthy, I was just about at my 5 year mark when I found out just last week that I have been diagnosed again with cancer and have to have the surgery again, although my cancer is superficial my doctor truly believes that because I quit smoking I was able to go this long without a recurrence. PLEASE put all you have to quit, be there to help others beat this type of cancer and you will be so glad you did. I am 42 now and have my surgery scheduled for 4/8, I have a great out look because I have been told I am more of a fighter and the cancer has no chance.

Please take care and grab and apple instead of a cig...

ChristineB
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2004

I just found out in August I have BC. Today was my first BCG. About a year and a half ago I decided to get healthy. Lost 35 lbs, finally quit smoking after 44 yrs, and started going to the gym. I'm telling you, quitting was just about the hardest thing to do. I still think about it. My Dr gave me Wellbutrin. It really helped, you might try it. Keep trying, I have to say it's worth it.

alicat6250
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2004

I am a 54 year old F dx with BC Stage One also, superficial, only inside the bladder wall and a big smoker. Started at 16 and had to quit last May and happily can state that I have been smoke free since 5/22/04 and hopefully this will last. Was the hardest thing I had to do but after about 4 months got easier. I cut straws to about cig. length and "smoked" them for the first 2-3 months and then slowly stopped them. Didn't use the patch or any drugs just stopped on fright alone. Had had cysto every 3 months and subsequent surgery every three months since the dx. I am almost done with the BCG therapy which is supposed to jumpstart the immunne system and I am praying this does the trick. Next cysto is 12/7 and I fully intend to be cancer-free. I stopped smoking after the 2nd surgery but my Doc basically said the same thing as yours about the damage being done but I do believe you would be better off stopping as it improves your chances. I have had a really difficult time trying to find women with the same condition in the same stage as ours so I have not gotten any great info but if I do I will send it on to you. I too have only read horror stories and I hope that is not the case for us. Keep your chin up and write me if you want. Would love to hear how things are going for you and I bet you have a Yorkie, Huh? Was my first dog. Love em.

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