A year after I wrote that I’d been clear of bladder cancer for two years, the annual cystoscopy found another tumor. (And wasn’t I glad that I’d decided an annual look-and-see would be a good idea!) The surgery was scheduled for the first week in February, 2023.
While the surgery went well, the tumor they cut out turned out to be high-grade, unlike the first one. So they needed to go back in and look again to see if it had gotten into the muscle (which is how it could spreads beyond the bladder). That surgery happened the first part of April — and while they were in there, he found *another* tumor and removed it.
Two pieces of good news from that surgery — the new tumor he removed was benign, and the previous (bad) tumor did not get into the muscle.
So the put me on an immuno-therapy treatment called BCG that has some kind of “tuberculosis” component to it, which means that for 6-8 hours after the treatment my urine has to be treated as dangerous. Rubber gloves, lots of bleach, nobody else can use that toilet for that day, etc. It’s not chemo, they stuff they put in there kick-starts my immune system and makes it look around for cancer cells to kill.
Six weekly treatments, then a month to allow my bladder to “cool off” and they looked in again and saw it was good. Then three months later looked in and it was still good, so the month after that we did a BCG maintenance. Then a month after that, another cystoscopy…well, you get the picture. Every six months we’ll do BCG and every three months the Dr will look in and see if it’s still working. And we’ll do that for two years and then switch back to annual checks after that. (Actually, I’ll be asking the Dr if we can do semi-annual checks, because why not catch anything earlier rather than later?)
That’s it — still kicking, but life sure can be stressful sometimes!