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Sharing Stories to Advance Research – Lee’s Story

Lee’s Story:   I went to my primary care physician after I’d come back from an extensive Caribbean vacation. I put whatever was going on with this little bit of blood I was seeing, until I got back from that special trip. While I was on vacation, the urgency and frequency to urinate was unbearable.

I went to see my primary care physician. She used to tell me I was the healthiest patient that she had, until this point. I saw her on the third of September and she immediately sent me to Chesapeake urology. My husband, my designated driver, was with me.  The urologist told me that I had bladder cancer. She explained that it was invasive and referred me to their bladder cancer specialist.

When I went to him, I had my 16-year-old granddaughter advising me. She had searched the internet and was able to tell me what was coming up, and she was right on point. Everything that the doctors were telling me, this 16-year-old had told me. So, I was prepared when the doctor told me that I had to do chemotherapy so we could shrink this tumor and get it out of me. I didn’t question anything because I had complete faith in the doctor that I was seeing.

I got my port in October.  I started my chemo treatment in October until January 16, 2016.  When I was finished with chemo, my surgery was performed in February. I was there for a week.  After I was home for just one day, the visiting nurse came the next morning. Because I had a fever, I was sent back to the hospital. They found out I had an infection in my wound. They opened me up, let that drain and did whatever they needed to do. While I was back in the hospital, they performed tests to find out what was wrong. Then, on March 3rd, my oncologist walked into my hospital room and told me I was cancer free.

That was 2016. How lucky can you be? When I first met my oncologist, he explained everything my granddaughter had told me from what she found on her internet search. As I was sitting there, he said, “Well, you know, you may lose your hair.” I pulled my cap off, because I have no hair. I had cut my hair off about three years before I was diagnosed with cancer. Since my mother carried the bald gene, my brothers and I have the bald gene also. I’m the only girl out of five boys. Two of my brothers also had bladder cancer. So, we think it’s a gene pool thing. Being the only girl, I thought I was going to be exempt from everything…

Nonetheless, that’s my story:  And I’m going to tell you, the staff and volunteers at the cancer center where I was treated were the best team in the world. I look forward to going for my checkups where everyone says, “How lucky can you be”?  I’ll have my annual checkup with the urologist next month; and every time I have my checkup, I ask him again for a tummy tuck.  He reminds me each time that he not a plastic surgeon! So that’s it, all in a nutshell. Thank you.