Bladder Cancer Awareness - The Cystoscopy

Ok you've had your initial concerns expressed by your GP, you've headed off to the urologist, the urologist might have run some more tests, maybe another scan or ultra-sound and now they think that they would like you to have a cystoscopy.

In essence this is an opportunity for your urologist to go up into the bladder with a tiny little camera and have an exploratory look around.'re thinking "a camera up my what !?". me, if you are on the path of assessing whether or not you have bladder cancer, you will want to just trust the guidance of your medical team and book this as quickly as possible so that they can assess your situation.

You will be asked to disrobe, likely put on a hospital gown or two (back and front). You will climb up on a table in a procedural suite of some sort where you will put your legs in stirrups. The nurse will give you a quick wash down there and then likely give you some freezing gel that will help numb the area so that the scope can then be inserted up through the urethra and into the bladder. For males you might find a slight discomfort as the cystoscope passes by the prostate gland. Try and be as calm and tension free as possible, sometimes good to take a deep breath. It may also help for you to take a tylenol before the procedure to further minimize discomfort.

The doctor may draw a small sample of urine from the bladder. The doctor performing the cystoscopy will fill your bladder up with saline to expand the bladder for best viewing opportunity. You will likely have a chance to view the inside of your bladder along with the doctor and his team. The team may include the nurse that prepped you and possible a resident student if your hospital is an educational university institution. In fact the resident may actually perform the cystoscopy and then call your urologist to take a look at the findings.

In my situation, Dr. Kodama saw two small tumours in the bladder. They almost resembled a cauliflower shape. On viewing what was in the bladder the Doctor tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I think you are likely going to need a small operative procedure (my recollection...likely  not his exact words).

The procedure might take up to ten minutes or less.

After the examination you will get dressed and then meet with your urologist for a de-brief to discuss next steps. I'll cover that de-brief in the next blog post.


Rita Winkler

Rita Winkler - Her Art - Her World

Meet Rita

Rita Winkler is the niece of a life-long friend of mine, Mark Winkler. She is the grand daughter of former Mayor of Kenora, Ontario - Kelvin Winkler. They name may be familiar given the recognition that the City of Kenora gave to Kelvin's work and legacy in his community - Winkler Harbourfront Park on Bernier Drive.

Rita is an inspiration for us all. Her art is a special gift to the world.

She gives back to her community through her work and through her art.

Rita's Book Launch

Rita is launching her new childrens' book "My Art, My World" - You can PRE-ORDER with this link.

Rita Winkler is a young woman living with Down syndrome. In My Art, My World she shows us the world as she sees it: a place full of joy, colour, and the delight of life with her family and friends.

Approaching her daily life with enthusiasm and a dry sense of humour, Rita rides public transit to her job working at a university coffee shop. She takes yoga and folk dance classes and enjoys art, drama, and music at a day program. When it’s time to celebrate holidays and the birthdays of those she loves, Rita likes to mark the occasions with paintings and handmade cards.

I have had the pleasure of receiving one of her early edition books and some beautiful hand made cards that she included as a thank you.

Follow Rita

FOLLOW Rita on her promotional Facebook page at

You can also FOLLOW Rita on Instagram at

bladder cancer awareness

Fundraising during a Pandemic

Success for #BladderCancer Canada annual walk

It was early in 2020’s awareness of the pending Corona Virus.

At Bladder Cancer Canada, staff and volunteers quickly moved to assess whether physical walks held in September (which had been ongoing for close to ten years) were a reality, or whether we should pivot to a virtual model.

Some of us actually felt that we should wait just two more weeks and re-assess. Others pushed hard to make the call and get on with the appropriate planning. The call was made. Go virtual was the call. Thankfully.

Rather than a specific weekend or alternate weekend, the decision was made to make September a month to “walk where you are”. The 20+ communities that would have held walks, continued with their walk site planning — . Plans were also made to have a celebration video made to be aired on YouTube October 7th.

I chose to “walk where I am” and did so on Coney Island in Kenora on the September long weekend. I got in a great 5k stroll, joined at a safe distance with members of my family and neighbours on our island.

On a personal goal of $50,000, I raised close to 76% of my goal. In my mind, and with challenges facing friends and family I am delighted with the result.

Nationally we had a target goal of $600,000 — of which we achieved 71%.

Given that we did not have congregate walks, registrations of walkers declined significantly.

However, the passion and commitment of our bladder cancer patient community in Canada walked on and we achieved this important revenue for Bladder Cancer Canada —

With these results there are some key learnings:

  • Be nimble, make a decision, layout the plan — work the plan
  • Ask your former donors to please support you — this was key — and they were so pleased that I was not giving up due to COVID-19
  • My message was clear — I would appreciate the support, but also respect that in these challenging times support for charities may be another more urgent need or these times might prevent giving — Respect for your donors.
  • Reminder emails work — each time sent — each time received support
  • Strive to keep the message strong, in the face of the pandemic noise
  • Work social and traditional channels. We were so fortunate to have our national media partners — Global/Corus supporting us through then network and stations across the country — again — the need to breakthrough

Thanks to those who supported me and others, as we walked to raise awareness and funds in the fight against #bladdercancer. I/we appreciate YOU.

Ferg Devins

New Normal or Current Reality

New Normal or Current Reality

There is the persistent use of the phrase "new normal" that seems to be showing up everywhere. People seem to be grasping for a foundational moment where things settle into what will be a new normal.

Perhaps a better way to view the moment is by referring to it as a "current reality".

In the weeks since early March when we have gone from a context of the virus being out there, to the virus being right here - we have seen our realities shift from what was to what is. This is our current reality.

This weekend our current reality is that golf courses are open, but driving ranges are closed. Perhaps driving ranges will open in the coming weeks. That won't be the new normal, just actually what is a current reality at that time.

Some say that wearing masks at retail might become the new normal. Again, masks at retail or not will be a reality that we face, given the circumstances of the day.

I honestly feel that each day we wake up facing the new realities of the day. We are currently on a track of lessening up the restrictive living conditions of the past couple of months. The indicators and trends all point to lightening up of the constraints as we hopefully continue on the downside slope of the Covid-19 curve.

This reality could become a new reality if we are to suddenly see a spike in cases or re-occurrence around us.

The other fascinating reality is the differing circumstances between provinces, states and countries. Although there are similarities, there are certainly some very different approaches to the current reality. I suppose Sweden stands out as the most different from the rest of the countries around the world, yet their spread is now aligning with most other countries.

Current Realities We Face

So our current reality is an interesting mix of practices to protect us from each other and keep planking the curve. Things such as masks at retail, directional lanes at retail, gloves, plastic walls at retail check out, Lysol wipes handy, hand sanitizer surrounds us, take out meals only at restaurants, six-foot/two-metre distancing, limited groups gathering other than immediate household, avoid those not in your household.

The current reality requires practices in our day to day lives to keep us, our loved ones, friends and community safe. The future reality will bring with it, evolving practices. At some point, it might seem like normal, but for now, we will just have to deal with it as the current reality.

Be well - Stay Safe - Wash Hands - Keep the Distance


Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder - Celebrating Ten Years

At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, there is a gem of care and research that has existed for ten years. The Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder operates at Sunnybrook under the leadership of Dr Benjamin Goldstein. If a youth in your family is challenged with issues related to their mental wellness, you should know that the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder is available to you upon referral from a family doctor, paediatrician or psychiatrist.

Check out their site at Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder to see more information related to the excellent services and research undertaken by the centre.

The centre provides psychiatric consultations and assessments for adolescents 13-18 years of age.

If required, the centre also provides a number of other services. The following list is a CUT AND PASTE from the Centre for Youth Bipolar Disorder website.


Psychiatric monitoring and medication management

  • Patients can see our psychiatrists on an ongoing basis for medication management and monitoring.


  • Psychoeducation

    • Learning information about bipolar disorder, including symptoms, course of illness, causes, risk/protective factors, and more. This is a core form of psychotherapy for patients and families affected by bipolar disorder.
  • Individual therapy
    • Our Centre offers one-on-one therapy with a registered social worker that focuses on learning strategies to manage mood symptoms, stressors, and interpersonal relationships.
    • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)-informed, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)-informed, and Motivational Interviewing modalities are offered.
  • Family-focused therapy
    • Our Centre offers Family-Focused Therapy. This involves the patient’s family and includes 3 main components: psychoeducation, communication enhancement training, and problem-solving skills training.

Parent support group

  • Facilitated by our Centre's social workers, this group is offered one evening a month at Sunnybrook for parents of adolescents who are patients at our clinic. The main purpose of this group is to offer a supportive and validating environment in which parents feel comfortable sharing their experiences and providing support for one another.

We have had direct experience with the centre for the past five years. I know that you will find the team welcoming, professional and wonderful guides on this "new normal" journey that you might be experiencing. Just know that there are resources to help you on this journey. We have found that Dr. Benjamin Goldstein and his team are simply wonderful world-class assets right here in our community in  Toronto. We also know that they accept referrals from outside Toronto. I strongly encourage you to research the centre as an option for your young person's care. Wishing you wellness!  @fergdevins