Two years ago a tumor was found inside my bladder. Any gambling man would have lost a lot of money on me – I did not fit any of the criteria for someone who was at risk for such a tumor. But…sadly I did have a cousin who lost his life in his early 40’s to bladder cancer.
I remember lying on the hospital bed as the doctor placed a long tube with a camera (known as a cystoscopy) inside my bladder. I remember seeing what looked like an anemone appear, floating gracefully as if in direct defiance to what it truly was. I did not know what I was looking at…until the doctor told me. I of course then searched for the top urologist in the area while researching bladder tumors. I told few people as possible. I even noticed looking back on my blog posts, that I simply acted as though it never happened. Posts just before the surgery and after left no trace of what had just occurred in my life.
I had a procedure known as a TURBT – Trans-Urethral Resection of a Bladder Tumor. They also administered a one time dose of a chemotherapy drug known as Mitomycin during the procedure. The recovery was rather easy. The hard part was waiting a week for the results. I received good news. It was a papilloma.
I’ve had to repeat the cystoscopy twice a year since. And every time I pray I don’t see that anemone appear again. My doctor has made a point to tell me it’s a fine line between a papilloma and Stage 1 Cancer. Therefore, given my young age and virtually no risk factors, he will continue to monitor me.
I don’t know if I’ve just made a big attempt to store this deep in my memory as a coping mechanism or if the whole experience is one I just can’t fully handle otherwise. What I do know is when I go for those follow up visits, alone, it’s a stark reality that that is what I am. Alone. While watching one of may favorite series last night, the wife received news her body was cancer free after fighting breast cancer the year previous. Her husband cried in joy and they embraced. They had each other. Partners. True partners. Not in just words or promises but in truth. Completely. It’s no wonder at that moment I broke down crying.
I think I have a lot of buried hurt. Some from the distant past and some from just weeks ago.