Gene’s Story: In December of 2005, I noticed a discharge in my urine of a mucous-like substance.This happened weekly and I visited my internist who did a urine culture with negative results. At my internist’s suggestion I saw a urologist who examined me and a specimen of the mucous and said it was excess semen and nothing to worry about, but discovered a hernia.
After the hernia surgery, I developed a urinary tract infection. The urologist who attended me in the hospital said the infection was caused by an enlarged prostate which caused me to retain excess urine in my bladder and suggested I have prostate surgery immediately.
I went to another urologist for a second opinion who looked inside my bladder with a cystoscope. The exam identified a mucous growing and a thickening in the wall of the bladder. A biopsy was done and the diagnosis was invasive adenocarcinoma of the bladder (bladder cancer).
Visits to two different urology oncologists at major university hospitals in Chicago yielded conflicting opinions. One recommended removing the bladder completely (radical cystectomy) and the other suggested more tests and perhaps removing only part of the bladder.
After three more doctor visits to different hospitals I decided to have the partial cystectomy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in NY. Surgery was performed in July 2006 and I have been cancer-free since.
Gene’s Silver Lining in this Journey. My success in getting the best medical outcome was due to getting multiple opinions and educating myself on the disease before choosing the doctor I was comfortable with.
Today I still have my original bladder and have my active lifestyle back. Gene’s non-medical secret to survival? My non-medical secret to survival was my persistence in doing the hard work and not just accepting any doctors advice if I was not completely satisfied with their answers.
I took the responsibility for managing my own health care.