My name is Sue“Get on and enjoy your life as best you can. As my lovely, late husband used to say, ‘This is not a rehearsal, this is your life.’”
Hi, my name is Sue and I am a 58-year-old widow (I lost my husband suddenly in May 2013) living in Preston, Lancashire with my two dogs, Amber and Sally. I work for the NHS in an admin role. My hobbies include knitting and ballroom dancing (which I took up in September 2013). As well as bladder cancer I also have alopecia so have a large selection of wigs.
How did bladder cancer come into your life?
Like a lot of ladies I just thought when I started passing a bit of blood when weeing that I had a urinary infection and so I got some cystitis sachets from the chemist to sort it out. However, when it came back again a few days later I went to my GP and she thought the same. She prescribed me some antibiotics and sent off a urine sample to check.
A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened again, so I went back to my doctor where I did a urine test and got more antibiotics. Then it happened a third time – I was in Morrisons shopping and needed a wee. I decided to wait till I got home, ran up the stairs and boy was it painful and suddenly lots of blood. This time when I went back to my GP I was referred to the hospital.
I received my appointment for the cystocopy a month or so later. Boy was it a shock when I saw on the screen what I can only describe as a piece of coral in my bladder! I asked the doctor if it should be there. She replied, “No,” and said that she was sure it was a tumour. She explained that they wanted to do a TURBT and that they would arrange it as soon as possible and that I would have to organise a stay in hospital.
I came home and cried, Then I found Fight Bladder Cancer on the internet and started to read other people's posts.
A scan was arranged and I had the TURBT on the 17th of December, just before Christmas. I didn't have any other treatment and was allowed home after 2 days, when the catheter was finally removed and I could wee normally! What a relief.
I saw the consultant early in the New Year for my results. He confirmed that I had bladder cancer, but that they had got it all.
My next cystoscopy was on 6th of May 2014; this was clear and I was over the moon. In July I went off on a cruise with my friend Shirley round the Med – lots of sun, laughs and cocktails.
I went for my next cystoscopy, feeling very positive in late 2014, but some suspect patches were found. I was admitted as a day case for them to be removed under general anaesthetic. So again I arranged another cruise with my friend Janice and in January 2015 went off around the Canary Islands and Morocco.
The next cystoscopy in March 2015 was clear – no cruise this time, but a week in a hotel in Norfolk was arranged. My next cystoscopy is arranged for autumn 2015, so watch this space. I am hoping for two all clears in a row. Oh and I am off to Norfolk for a holiday!
What was the initial cancer diagnosis?
I had a Grade 2, stage A bladder cancer.
What life changes have you made now you are affected by bladder cancer?
I do sometimes sit and think, "why me?" I used to smoke, but I gave up in 2011 using a drug prescribed by my GP. I blame this drug for my alopecia, as it was while taking this that my hair and eyelashes fell out.
What positives can you share about your experience?
To be told you have cancer is devastating, but you have to stay positive and take one day at a time. I have just booked the holiday of a lifetime for me; I am off on a 16 night cruise to Canada next year.
How has Fight Bladder Cancer helped you?
I don’t know what I would have done without my wee family on Fight Bladder Cancer. They are always willing to read and give positive comments, which helps enormously. I know a lot of people have higher grade cancers and in a way I am lucky.
What advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed?
Just remember; you may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have you. Get on and enjoy your life as best you can. As my lovely, late husband used to say, “This is not a rehearsal, this is your life.”
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