Thursday, June 2, 2011

Random Thoughts: It's Back. (Or Maybe It Never Went Away.)

All five or so of my loyal readers know that I've been battling cancer off-and-on for 4-1/2 years and recently had my third bladder cancer surgery. This was followed by a nasty kidney infection. To be honest, I just haven't felt right since the surgery. I've been lethargic (even more so than usual) and have had a lot more pain than I've had with previous surgeries.

Last night I discovered more blood when I used the bathroom. I'm sorry for being graphic, but it's important to talk about bladder cancer, just as it's important to be honest and open about prostate cancer, or colon cancer or breast cancer. Hematuria (blood in the urine) is the main symptom of bladder cancer and should always be taken seriously and checked by a doctor. It's one of those symptoms that "could be nothing - could be cancer" that doctors love to tell us.

For someone with my history, this means a phone call to my doctor as soon as her office opens. I just finished a round of antibiotics, so it's likely that she'll put me on more. The problem is that examining the bladder with a cytoscope can actually make an infection worse, so we'll probably wait until the bleeding is gone.

In other news, I had a great long chat with K yesterday. She's on a lot of pain meds but seemed in good spirits after having a friend visit. Although she and I are not in the same boat, there is an isolating quality to cancer. Often we're too physically ill (pain, chemo side-effects, etc.) or tired to go out. And people - understandably so - have reservations about visiting someone ill with cancer. Often people are afraid they'll pass a virus or bacterial infection onto the person, but I think it's most likely that it scares people. I've been in that place. You make arrangements to see someone who was vibrant and healthy the last time you saw her two months ago. Now she has no hair and the skin tone of a starving vampire. I don't blame people; it makes me uncomfortable too.

So an online chat or phone call is nice. I also don't want to be known forever as That Woman With Cancer. I'd like to be acknowledged for my other qualities too, y'know? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't afraid. But no matter what happens, I keep on fighting.  There's just too much to see,  do and experience in this amazing world.

Love to you all!
Walk in beauty,
Cinderella xoxo