I am now at home recovering from surgery to remove a recurrence of cervical cancer. Before the surgery the Dr's were hopeful that it would be fairly simple surgery and that I may have part of my bladder removed, however it should repair well and go back to normal. So I went ahead and signed all the paperwork, including the waiver for bowel resection in the event my bowel was involved (which was highly unlikely).
I woke to find that my life again has changed dramatically. I have less than 1/3 of my bladder left. The cancer was larger than expected and ran down one side of my bladder. Because of this, bowel ileum tissue was used to reconstruct a bladder for me. I am greatful that this was able to be done, however I was told I may never be able to go to the bathroom by myself again and that I would need to self catheterise, probably for the rest of my life.
On day 9 of my hospital stay my urethral catheter was removed and we were about to start a clamp and release of my suprapubic catheter (going through stomach into bladder) to increase the size of my new bladder. I got as far as half an hour and had the strongest urge to pee! I surprised my nurses by going to the toilet all by myself. I was so proud and so excited about my recovery. I was hoping and wishing a praying that they were wrong and I'd be home soon and back to normal... but that was a little unrealistic.
My surgery was just under 3 weeks ago and I am at home, however, I self catheterise and irrigate my bladder with saline every 6 hours to avoid infection. I can only hold my bladder for 2-3hours. I am sleep deprived, have no appetite, strange pains as my bladder/bowel contraption settles in. It's all a little overwhelming. I meet with the radiation oncologist this Thursday to find out about follow up treatment and also with my gynae oncologist to check my progress.
I am trying to remain positive about it all. It is definately hard at this time. I feel pretty miserable physically so it's hard not to feel that way emotionally. Also, it's hard to imagine how I'm going to adapt my life to the new routines I have. It's also hard to gauge how long this recovery is going to take until I can get back to the real world. Being a social butterfly, earning my keep, sharing moments outside with my husband doing the things other couples take for granted.
My situation is worse than I'd hoped for but so much better than it could have been. This is what I need to hold onto and hope that it gets me through to a time when I have more positivity to draw upon and life seems a little easier each day.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.