So it Starts

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Cancer is such an ugly word. My mother survived three bouts of “female” cancer. My dad survived colon cancer. And here we are again. Let’s begin with a brief timeline.

My husband Frank had been having dark urine for several days when he saw blood one day.

May 3 – He went to the clinic and gave a urine specimen. It showed blood, bacteria, and protein. They gave him and antibiotic and made an appointment with a urologist for the following Friday. He took the antibiotic, but the blood increased.

(The clinic is affiliated with University Hospital at the University of Michigan)

May 9 – Frank called the clinic and went back in. The bacteria was gone. (The plot thickens.) The Physician’s Assistant made an appointment for a CT scan before Frank saw the urologist.

May 11 – We went to Ann Arbor to get the CT scan. We had been there previously for a CT scan on his heart and thought it would be the same in-and-out process. You would think that having endometriosis and two children it would have dawned on me that you can’t do an abdominal CT scan without filling the bladder. You would be wrong.

May 12 – Frank saw the urologist at the clinic. The news wasn’t great. He had kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, and bladder cancer. That was the bad news. The good news was that it looked like it was only in the surface cells at the top of the bladder. Strangely, surgery the bladder appeared to not have been fully drained. (Dramatic foreshadowing.) 

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The doctor told Frank that he would have to have surgery to remove the cells. Frank told the doctor that the surgery couldn’t interfere with the fishing trip he takes with our son every year. The doctor wasn’t impressed.

May 15 – The hospital called Frank. The surgery was scheduled for June 2. Well before the fishing trip. So far, so good.

June 1 – The hospital called with the information about the surgery. We were hoping for an early start. We had to be at the hospital at 11a for a 1p surgery. Rats.

June 2 – They started the surgery early. I waited. At approximately the time they said the surgery would end, they called me into the conference room. I waited. And waited. (Not a good sign.) Finally the surgeon came in. The first words out of his mouth after the introduction were “Well, it’s over.” (Bad sign).

It turned out that the tumor was much larger than the urologist had thought. What he thought was urine was actually the tumor. And the surgeon couldn’t get all of it. And it looked like it was invading the prostate. And he might have to remove the bladder and the prostate. (Much worse than expected news.) 

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He was a very good communicator. He even drew me a picture of the male plumbing and showed me what he was talking about. Too bad what he was talking about was so awful. He said we would see him in two weeks to go over the pathology. (I like him, but I really don’t want a long-term relationship with him.)

I went back to the waiting room and texted the appropriate people. Those keys are hard to use when your brain is numb. I called our 20-year-old son and left a message. He called back but couldn’t get through. So I texted. I would have called our 21-year-old daughter but she isn’t speaking to us.

Finally I got to see Frank. He was alert and pretty much ready to go. Turns out that the surgeon had not spoken with him, so I had to tell him what was going on. (Unpleasant surprise.) He has to keep the Foley catheter in until Tuesday. (Blech!)

Frank ended up sleeping downstairs on the sofa. The height is much better than the bed while he has the catheter. He slept with one cat. I slept with the other. I finally cried towards morning. The cat was good about getting wet fur.

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Coming soon: removing the catheter.

About cat9984

I live in Michigan with my family, including humans, cats, and a hedgehog. My blog Adventures in Cheeseland, is written by and about animals. Cancer from the Sidelines is about my perspective on what my husband is going through with his cancer treatments. I welcome you to visit either, but Cheeseland is a lot more fun.
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