Cystoscopy and medical clemency


It’s funny…when I started this blog, it was supposed to be my mechanism of blowing off steam for my days doing dentistry, or a way to tell a tale about repairing something around the house for the first time. It was certainly not my intention to discuss urinating blood and getting a cystoscopy for the first time. Yeah, you heard me right, a cystoscopy – the procedure where the urologist shoves a little camera lens up the urethra to evaluate the bladder.

It is hard to say exactly what my favorite part of the procedure was. Perhaps it was when I was asked to wait – “naked from the waist down” – for the doctor to arrive. Or was it when not one, but two nurses (one teaching, one training) entered the room to place local anesthetic up ‘there’ – in preparation for the procedure. No, it was definitely the grand finale, when the doctor came in (about 30 minutes later) and inserted a tube up my penis. Ah, good times.

As I mentioned in my last post, I suddenly started to see blood in my urine several months back. After numerous visits to the urgent care and ER, multiple blood tests, and all the financial costs that come with those appointment (on a high-deductible insurance plan mind you); I am happy to say so far the problem seems to have resolved without incident. With a family history of prostate cancer, suffice it to say, I was relieved when my PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels came back within normal limits.

The cystoscopy was just like, the cherry on top, so to speak. The hematuria thankfully has not returned in well over a month; and the urologist seemed to suggest what the ER doctor speculated – and that is, perhaps a small kidney stone may have came and went, and tore up some of the lining along the way. I have heard personal accounts, from friends and family members, of how unfathomably painful kidney stones can be and I just want to say for the record – I just feel so blessed to have been spared any cognizance of that whole ‘passage’ experience, if in fact that is what happened to me.

I do still have a slight, unexplained, lingering lower left abdominal discomfort from time to time. Both the urologist and gastrointestinal doctor I visited do not seem to think anything of it. At least for the time being, I am enjoying having normal-colored urine again and pray to God to never again have to endure a camera scope my bladder.

I write this post…with some, almost scary degree of coincidence; because a dear friend of mine, her husband actually recently had routine bloodwork done and discovered a largely elevated PSA and got the diagnosis (from the same urology office in fact) of (prostate) cancer. :::sigh::: I do not know his family history of such disease. But I do know he is not much older than me, and I know he has a daughter the same age as my oldest son. I know his CT scan had some lymphadenopathy involved and that means he has a very scary road ahead of him.

Even though my cystoscopy took place several weeks ago, I still vividly remember the feeling I had laying half-naked on the urology operatory bed. Besides feeling embarrassed and vulnerable; worst of all, there was still this terrifying anticipation and uncertainty about what results would come of this procedure. I partially joke about having medical bills piling up on me, shrinkage when the nurses put the lidocaine up in me, etc. – but the reality is, I was incredibly fortunate to be given clearance and another chance in my life. I have countless reasons to feel relieved, thankful, hopeful, optimistic, what have you. I am not so quickly dismissive, and now feel a thousand times more empathetic, to struggles and health issues like the one my friend’s husband is having.

Alright, thank you so kindly for taking the time to read this. I am glad to give more details about my cystoscopy to anyone that wants it, and please feel free to share your own stories with me. Take care!

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