Friday, July 3, 2015

Et Tu, Cancer? Part 2 - The Blood Is The Life, Mr. Renfield

I remember the date well, August 1st, 2014. I had helped a friend move to Mojave and on the way back to the Valley, we stopped at an all night diner. It was 4am. I went to the bathroom and there it was to my surprise, blood in my urine. After getting home, I went to the ER and several hours later was told I had a bladder infection and was given some antibiotics and sent home. A full account of my insurance travails can be found here. With this missive I'll be concentrating on blood. "The blood is the life".

Blood in the urine, that's how it all began. Then, the seemingly endless trips to the ER and the doctors that finally ended with the diagnosis of bladder cancer. But, I couldn't get just good old fashioned bladder cancer. No! Ya see, I have a diverticulum of the bladder. I've had it for about ten years. It's like a bubble sticking out from the muscles around the bladder. So, the not so nice cancerous tumor started growing a year ago in the diverticulum. Or as one doctors explained, "the worse possible place". When all was said and done, I wound up with stage 2 aggressive cancer untreatable by chemo or radiation. Radical surgery is in my immediate future.

(I was going to the ER so often I started bringing a book because of the always long waiting times.)
But, it was that blood. My blood. Staring back at me, as it were, from toilet and urinals. I went to the ER again before seeing my primary care doctor (awaiting first appointment) about two weeks later. Not only blood that time, but a few little clots as well. Bloody hell! Again, an infection was the cause and antibiotics were given yet again and I was sent home several hours after I arrived. When I did see my doctor he thought it was odd that a man was getting bladder infections. He also told me that while it might look like a lot of blood to me, in actuality it wasn't. If I was really bleeding a lot, I'd be dizzy, faint, vomit, etc. Well, that's a plus, I thought.

(The blood in the urine is the life)
September was thus filled with a couple trips to the doctor for blood sample after blood sample, stool samples, urine samples. Samples, samples, samples. And, of course, blood in the urine. I think I went to the ER twice that month. Same results, same antibiotics. I felt like Chekov in the "Star Trek" episode, 'The Deadly Years'. Yet, my samples did finally bare some fruit, it was late September or early October. All my tests, bladder, lung, kidney, spleen, liver, et al, came back negative for cancer. In the meantime, more blood in the urine after a couple weeks of being 'clean'. That time, I didn't go to the ER. Time is money, they say.

This bloody urine...there was no reason to it. Sober for weeks - blood. No coffee for weeks - blood. Cranberry juice for weeks - bleed. And so forth, and so on, and so it was. And every damn time it happened, I was thinking, no I was feeling, like my life was draining from me. Oh, yes, I was sent to get not one, but two sonograms on the oft-chance I had stones in my kidneys or bladder. What always baffled my doctor or the ER doctors was I didn't have any pain. None. Rarely an occasional burning sensation in my urethra. Yep, I'm a rare one alrighty then.

A new year of 2015 brought a few more ER trips with the same results. The only deviation from the usual script was an ER doctor who exclaimed to me, "you have a virulent bladder infection". Way cool! Then came February and my first look at what was at the time a 1cm tumor. No biopsy was done, but I figured that bad boy was cancerous. So, in five months I went from cancer free to cancerous. I continued to have blood in my urine episodes and they were more frequent and would sometimes last almost three days. When I had an infection it was sweatville and clamyville. Neither ville I'd wish upon anyone.

The only difference the last few months have been compared to the other months were less and finally no visits to the ER. What was the point? Endless hours and the same result. "Hey you got blood in your urine! Here's some antibiotics!" Ack. Oh wait! And another difference, I was experiencing pain. Right in the good old bladder area. It hasn't ever lasted long, but it has been intense at times. As always, you may now realize, was the blood in the urine. The clots, big and small. Dark colored or pink lemonade colored. Blood, blood, blood.

Then the knowledge, in less than two weeks, the blood will be gone because the bladder itself will be gone. A piece of my intestine will take its place and as an actor I can appreciate when one takes the place of another. If the intestine cum bladder ever starts to bleed, well, then, there now, that's a different. Kettle. Of fish. For the blood is the life, right?



Anonymous said...

Yeah, just don't go eating flies, eh?

Rod Harrel said...