I just sent an email to Robert, but I don't think he'd mind if I posted it here:
Thirty-three? You definitely don't fit the profile for bladder cancer. Neither did I--sometimes it's just, as my doctor said, "bad luck".
When I was undergoing the cytoscopy, my urologist said, "young man, you have a very angry tumor. Get your wife in here right away." I was so shocked and stunned (I thought I had a kidney stone) I couldn't even stand. I had to lie down on his couch the room was spinning so much. I almost fainted.
That was about a year ago. Shortly after that I had my bladder, prostate, and 85 lymph nodes removed at USC/Norris cancer hospital. And then I got the news that it had spread to my lymph nodes. Lovely.
But like I said, it's a year later and I'm doing fine. It's difficult not to dwell on your diagnosis and prognosis and staging at first, but it's important to remember not to define yourself by those words and numbers. I liken it to being in a car accident--you wouldn't necessarily refer to yourself as a "car accident victim" or stew about car accident statistics. You get better to the best of your ability and move forward.
Dr. Edward Banfield of Harvard University, after more than 50 years of research, concluded that "long-time perspective" is the most accurate single predictor of success in business. I think this applies to cancer as well. I try to keep my "time horizon" in perspective; what we have is devastating in the here and now, but we have to focus on the long-term.
I'm not being Pollyanna here either. It's not lollipops and puppies; it's a real detour to your life and your plans. My wife and I have been in the process of adopting a little girl from China for several years, and just this week we were let off (actually kicked out of) the program because China doesn't allow adoptive parents with cancer. We has spent years and over ten-thousand dollars up until last week, so I'm not minimizing this at all. It crushed both of us, but now we're looking into fostering children instead of adopting. It's not a perfect solution, and it's not what we wanted, but it's something we can do, and it's moving forward.
One thing I'm in the process of doing is writing a book on coping with cancer with positiveness and realistic optimism. I'll post the fist chapter--"Diagnosis"--here in a few weeks.
Stats are just that the norm. Like I have an invassive tumor the stats are if I do nothing I have an %85-%90 to live 3 yrs. So I am getting the surgery and then my mortatilty is in God's hands I am not paying attention to stats. As I said stats are the norm so I should be in good shape I ain't been normal my whole life lol. Joe
I don't quite understand how they are going to fit all that equipment up my urinary track. That's got to hurt, what have i got to look forward to?
I was like you--incredibly anxious about the cytoscopy. And I won't kid you, it did hurt a bit, but it's over with fairly quickly. The anxiety is far worse than the procedure--"you're going to do what with that thing??". (I had another one last month, and it was a piece of cake.)
You'll be sleeping like a baby for the Turbt, so you won't feel a thing. There will be some manageable pain afterwards, though. I stayed in bed for a couple of days following the procedure. You'll also come home with a catheter installed, and if you're like me you'll have your first night's sleep in ages that you didn't have to interrupt by getting up to pee. So it's not all bad.
Mine was a year-ago last week, and I can hardly remember it. It's just something to get past.