Bladder Cancer Awareness month of May is an opportunity for those of us who have had bladder cancer to share stories about our journey.

Survived

As a survivor of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and the Volunteer Chair of Bladder Cancer Canada, I am delighted to have so many across Canada joining with us and taking action within our patient community.

A question might be “How might I know I have bladder cancer?”.

Early Sign / Symptom

We remind people through our public campaign “See Red – See Your Doctor” that blood in the urine could be a sign of bladder cancer. If you see blood, see your doctor – even if just once!

How I discovered bladder cancer

My situation evolved from some back pain that was unfamiliar. I had chronic back pain since falling when I was young. I went to my acupuncturist upon feeling a sensation in my back that was not what I was used to. After working me over, she suggested that my issues might be internal and I should see my doctor and request tests. I saw my GP and had urine, blood and an ultrasound. The ultrasound did not reveal anything. So…I went back to my acupuncturist. She worked me over again and suggested that I return to my doctor and request further tests. Luckily my doctor was open to this patient advocacy and he sent me for a CT scan. The results of the CT scan showed something in the bladder. He thought that it was so insignificant that it was likely nothing of concern. However, he did set me up with an appointment to see a urologist – Ron Kodama – as Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Urologist

I visited with Dr. Kodama and residents and they decided that I should proceed with a cystoscopy (more to come on that). The results of the cystoscopy showed two tumours in the bladder. Upon this discovery Dr. Kodama scheduled me for surgery (more to come on that).

Listen to your Body

My point here is that blood in the urine is one symptom. If you are in tune with your body, different aches and pains may be a signal to you that you have another underlying condition.

Thanks to my acupuncturist, my general practitioner and Dr. Kodama and his team I was diagnosed in early January 2014 and completed my surgery in March of 2014. I like to say I’ve been “all clear” ever since…and after 18 installation  of BCG (more to come on that).

Awareness Month

This month of May awareness month I will be blogging daily about my personal experiences with my bladder cancer journey. I hope you find something of benefit to you or someone who might be facing a similar journey.

Thanks to Bladder Cancer Canada, my journey was one of great support and resource. Proud to return the favour.

Ferg Devins