Saturday, July 02, 2016

Hard to Believe - TEN years today

Ten years ago today I presented with the classic symptoms of Bladder Cancer and my life changed forever.

Within weeks I had life saving surgery and within that first year I had been scanned and had a second duplicate operation.  I didn't think that I'd make ten years but hoped for five.  I was concerned that I'd not see my children grow up, Graduate and go on to live their life as adults.  I hadn't really thought then that I'd lose my marriage but it gradually crept up on me and now I'm almost divorced.

However, I'm here, alive, living in a post Cancer world and I'm in pretty good health.  I'd like to be slimmer and fitter than I am at the moment and I'm back on course to lose the weight I've piled on this past two or three years since I left the marital home and setup on my own.

To anyone who is newly diagnosed or perhaps in their first  or second year of treatment - it gets better and the intrusion on your life gets less.  I hardly think about having had Cancer these day unless a song, film or TV Programme remind me. I still have six monthly check ups and as recently as January this year have had to have an operation to investigate a red mark in my bladder - the third such false positive I've had.  Of course, the main thing is that as upsetting as these things are, it is better to have the operation to remove all doubt than to suffer a relapse.  I've forgotten how many operations I've had in ten years - I'm going to estimate it at around 12 or 14.  I've had BCG treatments and think that they are around the 24 to 32 mark.  With the other procedures we are talking a long time attending hospital and waiting around or just lying down recovering.

The fallout from the treatment was probably the worst of it all.  Even today I'm still tired and can drop to sleep in an instant.  There's no doubt that the treatment is exhausting but if you think that they were using the body's own defence mechanisms to fight the cancer it is perhaps understandable.

I finally feel that I'm mentally on the right track too these days.  For the past three years I've been in a much better place.  A lot of that is to do with my attitude to everything and I think after I read Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth' it helped me to get rid of the emotional and head baggage I carried around all the time.  I don't have that weight on me anymore.  It takes a little doing but I no longer carry around any of the 'problems' I used to have.  I have a clear head which is great.  There's nothing for my mind to chew over and get wound up about.  I don't worry about the past or the future.  The past is over, the future hasn't happened and the only place to live is here (in the Now).  

I'm grateful to the medical professionals who treated me and to everyone who supported me. I' delighted that the blog might is some small way help.  Here's to the next 10 years and lets hope continued health and well-being.  

Regrets?  Yes well my marriage - my Ex really looked after me and held it all together and all I did was walk out on her but there's more to that than I want to say here.  It's all amicable (as these things can be) and after almost three years things get back to 'normal'  whatever you perceive normal to be.

So ten years on, I'm here where some of my friends and my father are not, in their cases their cancers were aggressive and not operable or treatable.  The advances in treatment though are impressive, let's hope that continues and more people recover or are cured altogether. 

Life after cancer?  You bet, things are great.  I hope within the year to have moved from rented accommodation to owning a place somewhere semi-rural away from all the hustle and bustle where nature is right at your doorstep and I can enjoy the life I've now got back.  What good is it if you survive and don't take full advantage of the life you've been given back?

There's hope, there's light at the end of the tunnel.  You must do your bit too and work with your medical team.  You'll have to sort your own head out - they don't do that.  If anything over the ten years it was the head f*** that I had the problems with.  In the UK there really isn't much to help you (or there wasn't ten years ago).  It's a hell of a roller coaster ride and after ten years it's just about stopped apart from twice a year when I go to get checked out - these "judgement days" (Thanks for naming our flexible cystoscopies that Steve Kelley).  It is the only time that I think about the possibility of recurrence which, given ten years after presenting with cancer is a remote possibility.  The longer you go without a recurrence the better chance you have of full recovery. 

Life's good....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cancer - Some interesting information

I know that Mercola isn't everyone's "cup of tea" but there are some real nuggets of information that come out and this one about Cancer really struck my eye today.  There is a piece right at the bottom about what sugar does.

It's time we started taking the advice about sugar seriously.  A recent report here in the UK looked at some of the sugar content of over the counter drinks - they were frightening with sometimes up to 20 teaspoons of sugar in a soft drink...

Could it be that carbohydrates really are the bad guys?  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

ALL CLEAR - Third False Positive - Blood Pressure Normal - What Can I Say?

Pleased but what a horrible couple of weeks.  My Blood Pressure was truly off the scale even after medication but (not surprisingly) as they tested me post operation was back down to more reasonable and acceptable levels.  The nurses were suitably impressed.  I hope that stays like that so I can show my GP in a weeks time.

The cannula was put in at my wrist which means I can't actually wear my watch at the moment :-) The Day Unit was perhaps the best environment I've been to - you walk to Theatre and I kind of realised that all was OK as I was coming around quite fast.  My Consultant told me that she couldn't see the red patch she had seen at the Flexible Cystoscopy in December.  

That's the good news from all of this - it's still clear, has been clear for years despite now three of these false positives.  Maybe we need to "manage" these better as the cost of an Operation must be more than of a Flexible Cystoscopy and perhaps if they see a red patch again they can follow up in a few weeks. Perhaps I need not empty my bladder so fully - I still believe the scope enters the bladder and hits the bladder wall making these red marks.

I can do without having Operations of course but - at least the outcome is positive.  That's the main thing.

For now I'm continuing the Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda once a day.  I'm keeping away from Carbohydrates and I'm back on my no beer regime :-( well infrequent beer regime.  It's quite interesting drinking water most of the time :-) I've also dropped off nearly all Carbohydrates in my food - the weight is beginning to fall off.  So that's no potatoes, pasta, processed foods, no root vegetables, no cakes, pastries, sweets, beer, biscuits and so on.  I am ashamed to say that in the last 2 years I've put back all of the weight I lost and so I need to start again and this time keep on it for good - my Blood Pressure and overall health are, after all, important to me and just tweaking my lifestyle isn't too much of "an ask".

Anyway, clear, phew, scary as shit to have thought it might have come back again but perhaps the shot across the bows I needed to halt my eating and drinking the wrong stuff?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Ten Minutes to the Off

Ten minutes until we head off to Hospital.  After the pre-assessment pointed out I had high Blood Pressure I had to arrange to get meds to sort that out and got a new Doctor in the process - one I actually like - he is serious and humorous at the same time if that is possible.

Anyway - here we go again - a Rigid Cystoscopy to see what the 'Re Mark' actually is - not long to wait to find out....

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Assessment and Operation Days set

OK so I have to go to the Pre-assessment this Thursday at 3.  Of course it is in the Hospital with no real Car Park!  How can they have rebuilt it with less car parking?  The operation is scheduled for the 25th January and a start time of 07:30 and you can bet that I'm going to get this checked this time as the last two times as well as on other occasions I've been there and not had the procedure until the late afternoon all under 'nil by mouth' conditions.  I'm not having that again as it is just stupid to dehydrate someone who actually needs to get passing liquids through them as soon as possible after the procedure!

I'm glad that the Cytology is all clear - that bodes well for the operation and any biopsies they may take.