Hi, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Bladder cancer in January 2012 after feeling unwell for quite a while and visiting my G.P on many occasions. They kept saying I just had urinary infections or cystitis and sending me home with antibiotics and eventually painkillers because I was in pain. I collapsed at home 1 day and was rushed into hospital, I couldn't empty my bladder so I was catheterised and put on UV antibiotics for a few days then sent home, unfortunately the pain got worse day by day and almost a week later I collapsed again so back to hospital in an ambulance again this time in so much pain I couldn't walk and the paramedics had to give me morphine to move me into the ambulance.
This time tests were done and the catheter and antibiotics were hooked up along with strong pain relief. I went for a camera inside the bladder which was 1st done awake but was so painful I was in tears so I went home and waited for an appointment to look again under general anesthetic, this happened Jan 11th 2012 at the same time as trying to remove a kidney stone so I knew I'd be in for a couple of days, when I woke on a ward I was in a bed next to a lady who told me she had cancer which I'd already wondered about but as I'd never heard of bladder cancer I didn't worry about it. I was in for a week because of pain and being unwell then I went home. I was told I'd get a letter with an appointment date within a fortnight probably which would be to get my results of whatever they looked at in my bladder and kidney, as it was it was a few days after being home that I received a call asking if I could come in to the hospital that day to see the doctor that removed the kidney stone and the lady said best to be driven by someone as I'd not long come home so I called a friend and off we went.
That day was the worst day of my life so far because once I'd sat down he gave me the news that inside my bladder was a tumour and it was cancer and I had to start treatment as quickly as possible.! I spoke to a specialist nurse after seeing him and she explained things so they were clearer but it was a blur I was so grateful for my friend being there as she listened and made sure I knew what was going to happen. I met my consultant within the next week and my chemotherapy was arranged to start on Feb 14th which would be followed by a big operation sometime after the course was over.
Chemo was awful I can't lie it made me very sick I hated food because I couldn't keep it down and suffered with bad headaches as well, once it was over it was a relief and I had a month to get my strength back in time for the hardest part the long operation to get rid of the cancer. This meant having my bladder removed and a new one made from a piece of my bowel and a small stoma in my belly button that a catheter could be inserted into so my bladder could be emptied, I was in intensive care for a week and in hospital for a few weeks as I had an infection during my stay. I had a few setbacks in the year after and went back in hospital with infections and difficulty putting a catheter in but it's just my new way of life now and I have gone on to volunteer helping other cancer patients during and after their treatment and told my story to raise awareness of late diagnosis in a magazine and have attended conferences for Cancer patients and survivors and volunteers so I can learn and spread awareness of the help available for patients and carers.