I started a new job in October 2015 and decided it would be a good idea to cycle to work and get a bit fitter. After a couple of days I noticed that my urine was a bit darker than normal, but didn't think too much about it. Then one day I noticed a small blood clot.
This worried me a bit, so I went straight to Dr Google to see if I could find out what it was. Despite reading all the articles telling me to go straight to the GP I decided not to worry too much as I'd read one article that suggested I could have a minor trauma related to cycling.
To make things worse, my wife is a trained nurse and told me to go to the GP right away. Being a stupid bloke I decided that the best course of action was to ignore her and reassure her that it was just a cycling injury and that I knew my body best.
She even phoned the GP and told them that she was worried about me, but they can't do anything unless you refer yourself.
Anyway, the blood disappeared from my urine, so I assumed I was right and that there was nothing to worry about.
All I'll say now is, if you notice blood in your urine go to your GP and get it checked out. If you think about how many years it takes to train a GP, plus the years of experience most of them have, you'll realise that an hour or so with Dr Google is just a waste of time and energy compared to a 5 minute consultation with someone that knows what to do.
I of course learned this the hard way. Early in January 2016 I was travelling from Edinburgh to London by train and got the shock of my life when I went to the toilet and the red river flowed.
I made an appointment to see my GP as soon as I got back from London. I was referred to the Urology team and had a Cystoscopy within 3 days. I watched as the consultant took pictures of several areas of abnormal tissue and realised that what I was seeing wasn't good.
I was told then and there that I had abnormal tissues that were probably cancerous but that they couldn't be certain until they had taken a biopsy and that this would involve a general anaesthetic. An appointment was made for a pre-op assessment for the following Monday with the TURBT scheduled in a fortnight.
I don't know how it works in other parts of the country, but our hospital sends out a letter detailing the planned surgery and you have to phone in and accept it. The letter arrived on the Thursday, so I dully phoned and left my response on an answering service. I was a bit surprised when the administrator phoned me back about half an hour later. She told me that someone had cancelled their surgery on the following Tuesday and asked if i would like to take the cancellation. There's only one answer to that, of course I would.
So a week after my Cystoscopy I had my first treatment, Transurethral Resection of Bladder Tumour (TURBT) and an intravesical infusion of Mitomycin-C. There's a bit of discomfort after the operation and you wake up catherised, which was a novel experience for me and not one of my favourite experiences but not unbearable.
On discharge I was told that I'd get the biopsy results in a couple of weeks and be told about the grading and staging of the tumours. It was at this meeting that I was told that I had a grade 2 stage 1 cancer and that they'd like me to come in for another biopsy to make sure that they'd got all of the tumour.
To cut a long story short, they found that I had Carcinoma in-situ (CIS) and have started me on a 6 week BCG regime.
I'm approaching week 3 of this, and the worst bit about it is having to walk up and down the hospital corridor whilst trying to hold it in for 2 hours.
I'm well aware that this treatment may or may not work, but I've got a 10 year old son and an 8 year old daughter, so I've already decided that if needs must, I'm going for the radical cystectomy with the stoma rather than the pine box and the burny fires,
If anyone's interested I'll post regularly and let you know how I get on and I'd love to hear from anyone else diagnosed with CIS as I'd like to get a grasp on what the prognosis is and how my treatment is likely to progress.