We are honored to work with Jonathan to share the story of his bladder cancer diagnosis. Through months of cystectomies, surgeries and finally, BCG treatments, Jonathan decided to capture the ups and downs of his cancer journey and through his writing and photography, patients and others in his life could get a glimpse into his experiences from his perspective.
Jonathan’s story is his own personal experience and may not reflect your own diagnosis and treatments. As always, remember that stories shared on Jonathan’s site, the Bladder Cancer Canada blog, podcast or elsewhere are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. The content on Jonathan’s site are the personal views of the writer and is for information only. Always consult your physician and do not rely on information you find on the internet when making decisions about your health.
Surgery marks a new chapter in Jonathan’s journey
In this latest segment in the Jonathan series, he has gone from being injured by a random do-it-yourself foot injury and having blood clots, to now possibly having bladder cancer.
With the first cystoscopy complete and showing a tumour growing within his bladder, his doctors needed to perform resection surgery. A transurethral resection of a bladder tumour, (TURBT), is done to remove as much of the bladder tumour as possible, before starting other forms of treatment. TURBTs may be repeated as treatment progresses to remove any additional tumours that have grown. These tumours are identified using cystoscopies, the process of inserting a tube through the urethra and using a small camera to see inside the bladder. Jonathan shares his experience with cystoscopies here.
Jonathan had a difficult time during his first cystoscopy with the needles and IV. On the day of his resection, the staff had a much easier time getting his IV in than in previous times. Once his IV was in place, Jonathan walked into the OR and hopped up on the table. They positioned him and shortly after, administered the anesthesia that would put him under. Within minutes, he was asleep.
When Jonathan woke up, he was stunned by the amount of pain he was in. The nurses tried giving him various pain medications but nothing seemed to work. Jonathan resigned himself to managing without relief. He was also surprised to discover that a catheter had been inserted, which hadn’t been part of the plan. The doctor explained that due to his age and overall health that it was safer to cut deeper than had been originally discussed. This deeper cut resulted in more bleeding, which explained the catheter. “Apparently the bad thing about being young and healthy is that your bladder doesn’t take to being cut and carved very well,” says Jonathan
The doctor confirmed that he suspected the tumour was cancerous but reminded Jonathan and Mandy, his wife, that there were different grades, and they would know more soon. “At least it was out and gone,” adds Jonathan.
Jonathan was sent home later that day, and Mandy got him into bed, and he started to drink as much water as possible to flush his system. He anticipated the healing from his first resection surgery to be slow and painful.
Up next: Jonathan Receives His Results
Can’t wait? Read the full story on Jonathan’s site here.
If you See Red, See Your Doctor
Early detection of bladder cancer is critical to preserving the bladder and protecting the quality of life for bladder cancer patients. The most common symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, and unfortunately, this symptom is not always taken seriously. Medical attention is not always sought – particularly for women, who think that this blood could be related to their menstrual cycle. Other symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- The need to urinate often
- An intense need to urinate
- Trouble urinating
- A burning sensation or pain during urination
- Back, pelvic or groin pain
Waiting for and receiving a cancer diagnosis can be an extremely frightening and isolating experience. Many people share how alone they feel during this time, because others around them can’t relate at the same level. Support services are extremely critical during this time and BCC offers several free services through our website including a discussion forum, a peer support program (where patients talk one on one with other patients), online support groups, educational webinars, downloadable patient guidebooks and more.
All of these services are available for free at www.bladdercancercanada.org.
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