4915 St. Elmo Avenue, Suite 202
Bethesda, MD 20814
Bladder cancer can be a sneaky disease. Sometimes you have very few symptoms until things hit a critical mass. For me, that happened in the form of a suspected urinary tract infection (UTI). I've had UTI's my whole adult life, so the latest one in summer of 2012 didn't seem unusual. I went to my OB/GYN to get checked out and hoped to get a prescription to take care of it. After finishing the antibiotics, I went back for an all-clear test, something that I didn't always take time for, following an infection. That test may have saved my life.The doctor concluded that this was not a simple UTI, as there was still microscopic blood in my urine. She sent me next door to the urologist, who confirmed the likelihood of bladder cancer. He did an initial TURBT, diagnosed CIS and two discrete tumors, and set up BCG therapy for the next three months. Whenever I have serious health concerns, I make it a point to seek out two separate diagnose, so I contacted University of Michigan's cancer institute to pursue a second opinion.The urological oncologist I contacted is one of the nation's best, and after a second TURBT done at University of Michigan, she confirmed that my cancer was a very aggressive Nested Variant, stage 2, and that it would likely not be responsive to intravesical (BCG) treatment. She recommended a radical cystectomy. This was early September, and this was done in early October.I decided on a neobladder as my replacement/diversion technique. I am younger than many bladder cancer patients (58 at the time) and live a very physical life, so it seemed the best option. Jill's story continued at Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network website.