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Judgment Day #11 on 9/11 - September 11, 2012

Posted Sep 01 2012 12:00am
Hopefully most of you are remembering today (9/11) for another significant reason.  For me, it seemed an appropriate date to schedule my last cystoscopy for 2012.  I had a week's vacation and a weekend home to relax and prepare physically and mentally.  The 9AM appointment came all too soon.  The doctor was cheerful and chipper, came in and talked about adopting a new son from China last winter. He had originally planned to do it this month, but when they call, you have to go.  The boy has brought the family great joy, despite some medical issues.  So his vacation this year is quite ambitious - a hike over the Andes mountains in Peru to arrive in Machu Picchu.  He and his wife plan to spend several days and nights above 12,000 feet elevation, HIKING as high as 16,000 feet.  I cannot even imagine it.  

The procedure went quickly and the wonderful ALL CLEAR was welcome.  The doctor confirmed that we would do 3 BCG treatments in October, and then no scope (or PSA test) until September 2013!  This clear report now marks 52 months cancer-free, nearly 4.5 years.  Keep in mind that terms like "remission" don't apply to bladder cancer for at least 10 years, so not quite halfway there yet!

This makes for a happy day, and we will start making big plans for vacation, visiting friends, travel, and whatnot right away!  No more stunned period, waiting for the good news to sink in.  As soon as I feel better, perhaps I will try a happy dance.

Some details of the procedure follow, so those with weak constitutions may want to stop reading here...

There was some discomfort with the procedure this time, despite being able to use the very nice Storz video scope setup for the 3rd time in a row.  The doc started quickly, but I was ready - fully relaxed from deep breathing and hypnosis techniques.  No Xylocaine prep, and little if any lube used this time.  Frankly the whole ordeal (maybe 30 seconds) hurt like hell.  Even pointing my toes up and down alternately and focusing attention on the screen did not help.  I was able to stay relaxed and breathe through it.  Unsurprisingly my first urination at home (not counting voiding the saline solution at the office) showed a slight trace of blood (microhematuria), although the urine was nicely alkaline in pH.  It had been alkaline all of yesterday, so I think the stress was effectively managed.  For future scopes I plan to ask for the Xylocaine prep - even though it is messy, it helps a lot.  Not necessary for BCGs though!

Postmortem:  VERY severe symptoms (both razor blades and fire) began about 3 hours after the scope and remained with full pain levels unabated for 48 hours.  Began to ease a bit after that.

Final Postmortem:  Now pretty much back to normal XX days after the scope.  (XX to be filled in later when it's known)

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