Viola

Diagnosed in 2009 at age 52 with non-invasive bladder cancer

Every woman should understand the implications of blood in the urine. I am a middle school life science teacher and even with all I know about the human body, my diagnosis was a shock. While I knew about other cancers, I really knew nothing about bladder cancer. People assume they will feel symptoms from cancer, but almost four years later I still feel no symptoms at all.

I was 52 years old when I learned I had bladder cancer. I constantly remind myself how lucky I am that the doctor found these tumors so early and thank God I had a urologist that would not give up until we had an answer to the blood in my urine. I’ve had several recurrences and blood in my urine has always been the only indication of a new bladder cancer tumor.

My message to other women is to be your own advocate in matters of health and never dismiss what your body is telling you. Blood in the urine is not something that can be ignored and should be checked by a urologist who understands bladder cancer and can give you the best care.

If I had one bit of advice for someone with bladder cancer, it would be to get your information from people with experience. The support from my family and friends has helped me in ways I could never explain or be able to repay. However, my need for knowledge could not come from them. While researching on the internet, I will always be grateful that I stumbled across BCAN. The knowledge and support received here allowed me to find ways to live with this cancer. Their experiences and sharing helped me learn that I can live a normal life and that there is hope for a good future. Although you must be diligent with your appointments, life does continue.

When you find out you have cancer there are so many thoughts that go through your mind. On the day I heard my diagnosis, I was panicked and thinking of all the things I still wanted to see and do in my life. However, bladder cancer is very treatable. It’s almost 4 years later and I am still enjoying my family, work and friends. I cherish the gift of time and each day brings the gift of more time to spend with the people I love, like my grandchildren and as they grow I know that I am a survivor and you can be as well.

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