Strange viewing

When I saw the surgeon in Brisbane in March he explained that I would need to have my bladder monitored for the next couple of years in case anything should develop there. That task was passed to my Toowoomba urologist, Dr Desai, and we visited him on Wednesday after having blood tests and a CT scan last week.

Those results were all as expected, showing no issues. He confirmed that my wound was healing properly and that I was feeling generally well. All of that was what we expected.

Majella was with me and we were both a bit taken aback by the suggestion that I might consider chemotherapy. That had been mentioned by the surgeon on an earlier visit but, probably because the tumour was encapsulated, he had not suggested further treatment (other than bladder monitoring) at our last visit.

Dr Desai explained that there was no guarantee of success with the chemotherapy and described some of the likely effects of a series of 3 week treatments. They did not sound pleasant and, given there is no way of knowing whether there are nascent secondary tumours to be treated, it might be unnecessary. We agreed that I would talk to the oncologist when we return from Europe and make our decision then.

The other unanticipated turn was the news that bladder monitoring would require cystoscopy, passing a tube with a camera up my urethra to inspect my bladder. I suppose if I had thought about what bladder monitoring might involve I’d have known that but I’d been more interested in doing what I could to regain general fitness.

Since we were leaving for Europe today and Dr Desai would be gone on leave for 3 weeks from the time of our return he booked me for the procedure on Thursday afternoon. Once home I was contacted by the anaesthetist and hospital and completed the necessary forms.

Dr Desai had explained that the procedure could be done with local anaesthetic or a light general anaesthetic. I was inclined to opt for the latter since general anaesthetics in proximity to long flights are not recommended. Nevertheless, I fasted from 8:00 am in case the anaesthetic was required.

Majella drove me to St Vincent’s Hospital where I was admitted at 1:30 pm. Within 30 minutes or so I had changed into the hospital gown and answered more questions for more forms. Luckily my phone was well charged because I had until 5:30 pm to catch up on email and other reading while I waited for the procedure.

Just before I went into theatre the doctor asked if I wanted the anaesthetic. With his assurance that local anaesthesia was enough I went with that option. In the end, I had no anaesthetic at all. There was some discomfort then and later but the pain was no worse than a dentist drilling, though obviously in a different part of the body.

Dr Desai kindly had the large video screen turned in my direction while he worked. That allowed me an interesting view as the camera snaked up my urethra and examined the interior of my bladder. Not many of us can claim to have seen our insides live. I’ve not included an image with this post because many will not want that view.

Happily, there were no visible abnormalities in my bladder. We are hoping it stays that way during the 2 years of surveillance. With no anaesthetic involved I was eligible for rapid discharge and was out in about 30 minutes after the procedure finished. I’ll be back for another look in 3 months.