Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ya got trouble

I'm not sure why I flash back to lyrics from musicals in times of stress but it happens often. The title of today's post comes from The Music Man: "ya got trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool." My version goes like this "ya got trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with C and that stands for cancer."

I was diagnosed with bladder cancer a couple of weeks ago. There has been some excitement in the interim which involved too much blood and an ER visit. But yesterday the diagnosis was confirmed and we have a plan for treatment. I will have surgery to remove a tumour and then will wait for the pathology report. In the event that the extent (into the muscle walls) or grade of the tumour warrants I will go in for another surgery and may receive chemotherapy. The good news about chemo for bladder cancer is that it is not administered systemically so there are no horrible side effects.

I have received nothing but love and support from friends over the last two weeks. But ultimately this is something you go through alone. That is not a bad thing, at least from my point of view. When I am alone I can focus and reflect. I have already had some remarkable experiences which I am translating into learning opportunities for others. To start I will write a series of short articles for the Indoor Cycling Association on ways in which my cycling coaching overlaps with this journey. I have also had an idea about some large works of art which relate to this adventure. There will more details about those in a future post.

As some readers know, I live in Canada and therefore have access to a public medical system. Over the last few weeks my experience in that system has been fantastic. I have received timely care and the clerks and nurses and doctors have all been both professional and warm. I have no complaints. And all of the service and tests I have received has been provided to me at a total cost of $2.00 (parking yesterday). My parking fees when I was at the ER were even refunded! I can't imagine trying to bear the anxiety and distress of my diagnosis while also considering the financial implications and wondering whether my care would be compromised by decisions made by an insurance company.

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