This was supposed to be the cystoscopy that should have told me if the treatment did work or not.
I did not want to
see any tumors or any other irregularities in my bladder. Because if
there is cancer – all bets are off, I will have lost and I will have to figure out
how to retreat gracefully.
The procedure was
done in the office of my urologist Dr. Ramin, where, without
anesthesia, I can watch the inside of my bladder, and since we did
this already numerous times, I'm fairly familiar the environment. I
was not happy with what I saw. There were two distinctive bumps under
Not very big, but one
looked like it was going to burst any second. Dr. Ramin scratched his
head and said that it looked strange, not like cancer – maybe a
benign cyst from the radiation? A biopsy needed to be done, but since
one of the bumps looked so explosive that a lot of blood could be
expected. I had biopsies done before – without anesthesia – it
does hurt, but a cystoscopy is not much fun to begin with. So, to
deal with the blood, and the pain a second cystoscopy had to be
This was not a
YES or a NO – it was a MAYBE! Which is a bummer anyway...
Then the next day
my radiologist Dr. Kamrava called, and he had a different take on
this. Before the Brachy-radiation they had placed “Markers” in my
abdomen, to more precisely target the suspect tissue. I thought these
were little pieces of gold leaf or something similar, which can be
placed in the body, and are always visible on x-rays etc... Working
with markers has the advantage that you are aware of any movement or
displacement of the marked tissue within the body, so, if necessary,
the treatment can be adjusted.
Now I found out
that these markers were not what I thought they were. I was injected
with something like a saline gel, that is commonly used in plastic
surgery to inject under wrinkles or scar tissue. In my case it
served to distance the bladder from other organs, to reduce the
collateral damage of stray radiation. The use of the saline gel is
not experimental – the particular procedure – the HDR
Brachy-therapy for the bladder – on the other hand is! Dr. Kamrava
was sure that what we saw were the markers, and since the method is
so new – my urologist would not be able to recognize this.
So, there is
hope, and tomorrow after the MRI, I should know more.
And the cysto
next Thursday should provide a final result about the effectiveness
of the procedure.
Then I can, or cannot make plans for the next three
In the meantime I
am learning how to wait! Not very successful, I'm afraid -- because with
all the training in my life – I should be world champion in the
“patiently waiting” discipline.