October 6, 2012
After being diagnosed in January 2010 at age 55 with a "rare" form of bladder cancer, a primary bladder adenocarcinoma, I was referred to Vanderbilt where they did a bladder-sparing partial cystectomy. I was fortunate that I met the very strict criteria for that surgical option. Even though I had very supportive family and friends, I had never felt so alone and isolated as those first several months. Until that path report, I had never been to a urologist, never heard any of those "cysto" words like cystoscope and cystectomy. I didn't know anyone with bladder cancer, and kept reading dismal statistics for my type of cancer. I finally found ABLCS eight months later and I feel like it saved my emotional and mental life. Being among "people like me" took away the dark cloud that had hovered over me all that time. I really can't express my appreciation for the acceptance, encouragement, and empathy I received from members of the ABLCS forum. I now volunteer my time as a forum moderator to be there for others as they hear those same words from their own doctors... "you have bladder cancer." We hope by educating as many people as we can reach, bladder cancer can be diagnosed earlier when treatment has the greatest chance of success against this very determined enemy which has the highest recurrence rate of any other cancer. All I can say is, "Thank you, ABLCS for being there for me, and for everyone affected by this devastating disease."
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