Let me first give you a little background information about myself. I am nearly 70 (24 Jan 2015) and am married with no children. Slightly overweight which I put down to a liking for wine of either colour. Throughout all of my working life I have been involved with chemicals of one sort or another, initially I worked as an analytical chemist firstly in the steel industry and then in Zambia on a copper mine. When I returned to the UK I worked at Cardiff University as a research chemist and lecturer until I retired in 2002.
My journey with cancer started in early April 2011. A group of us had been on a long walk along the banks of the River Wye and stopped for lunch at a riverside pub. I went to the toilet and passed what looked like a good red wine which went on and on for ages. I didn’t say anything when I returned to the group but waited to when we got home to tell my wife. I passed bloody urine several more times but then it stopped and everything went back to normal. I went to my GP by the Wednesday to tell her about it and she immediately referred me to the Urology Department at the Heath.
Very quickly I was given an appointment for an ultrasound scan to check my kidneys which were OK. By the last week in April I was in the short stay surgical unit having a flexible cystoscopy carried out by Mr Hughes. He found an area which was abnormal and said I would have to come back in for a rigid cystoscopy so that they could take biopsies. We had arranged to go to our godson’s wedding in Cuba the following week so I asked if that was going to be possible to be told emphatically “No”. This did not make me very popular with our travel insurance company as this cost them just over £4000 in reimbursements.
I had the rigid cystoscopy shortly after when Mr Hughes told me he had removed all of the suspect area but we would have to wait for a report from the biopsies but he wanted me to have an MRI scan as a precaution. This was done and the results were good there was no signs of anything untoward elsewhere.
Then it was a question of waiting and waiting for an appointment to see Mr Hughes again, which seemed as if it was never ending looking out for the postman for that all important letter.
Eventually the day arrived to be told yes it was cancer, to give it its proper name Early Superficial Bladder Cancer or carcinoma in situ. It can be very aggressive and can return in 7 out of 10 times.
this of course left us devastated. Mr Hughes told us he was going to transfer me to Prof Kynaston for treatment as it was in his area of expertise. As a result he proposed BCG as a course of treatment which would involve 27 treatments spread over the following three years. A journey which I started in the August of 2011 and I finish treatment on the 14th December 2014.
It has not been that bad, except after each session you do not want to be far from a toilet.
It is like having cystitis, which I am sure the ladies will understand. My wife has said that I’m like Lynford Christy as I sprint for the toilet, sometimes I’m sorry to say unsuccessfully. I drink a lot of Barley water after each session which seems to help, also for a few days I feel quite worn out and go to bed early, but it’s a small price to pay!
So thanks to the excellent care from my specialist nurses Caroline and Sharon I have come to the end of the treatments but have been told that every 6 months or more I will be back for flexible cystoscopies to ensure that I remain cancer free.