I don’t have bladder cancer, according to the biopsies. Hilariously, and ironically given my thing about the use of messaging, I missed a message from my urologist last Thursday during my hazy surgery recovery daze telling me this. I could have been relaxing on the cancer thing for the past five days, but no.
(Way back during my original cystoscopy, my urologist’s take was just that the tissues around the diverticulum were inflamed, irritated, and mucusy. She never viewed them as a “mass”, and so was surprised when CT scans and the like were being written up as potential malignancy. Her views on the matter during surgery were consistent with those during the cystoscopy, and the biopsies showed her to be right.)
Among the things learned from today’s telephone appointment, in addition to reaffirming the lack of cancer is that my bladder diverticulum puffs out like a Mickey Mouse ear at about the four-o’clock position, which explains the difficulty in draining it. Rather than an upright diverticulum in which, in theory, there’s a gravity assist, gravity in my case is helping to keep urine in the diverticulum. This will continue to be a potential, if not likely, trouble spot.
It can be addressed, to an extent, by addressing my lifelong weak streams—which themselves now have an explanation. For lack of a better way to describe it, the path from bladder to urethra is meant to be something of a funnel. In my case, the angle is not so steep and in fact there’s almost a kind of pre-funnel hurdle. All of which combines to make it more difficult to empty my bladder, which then can contribute both to stones formation and additional irritation of the diverticulum.
There’s a surgery for that, it turns out, and if I’m honest my initial take is that I’d rather aim for the surgery than for the other relatively low-impact (as compared to the much more invasive and involved removal of the diverticulum) option of catheterizing myself in order to fully empty my bladder.
Meanwhile, the next step isn’t bladder related. There’s inflammation in my lymph nodes that needs to be explored, which likely means a round of biopsies. Some nodes are more accessible than others, and my urologist is referring me to a surgical oncologist to make some decisions there.
These lymph biopsies will happen before any decisions on the remaining urological ones, and then we will decide what happens first.
All of which still leaves outstanding the gallbladder polyps to be rechecked by CT scan in a few months; the “elevated decreased kidney function” to be rechecked by, I guess, lab work, in another month or two; and the fatigue issues that got put on hold months and months ago in order to chase down all of this other stuff.
Mostly, though, the news is: no cancer. Unless, of course, the lymph nodes have decided otherwise.