Bob M.

Bladder Cancer - Stage II

Bob-M
quotation

In 2012, I heard about a new hospital being built in town, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). I found out it is a hospital focusing only on cancer, and that Newnan was the fifth location. One day I drove by, and I was astounded by what was being built. It was beautiful on the outside and looked nothing like what I have seen a hospital look like before. I said to myself in that moment, “If I were to ever get cancer, this is where I would want to go.” I had no idea that it would one day become reality.

I was born and raised in Newnan, Georgia. I spent my college years close by in Atlanta, where I attended Emory University and obtained my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree from Georgia State University. After graduating, I moved back home. I worked at my family’s funeral home, and I was a high school science teacher for 25 years

In 2009, I retired, and I was enjoying the extra time with friends and family. I am an active church member, on several committees at the church, and former organist and choir director. I serve on many local community boards, including City of Newnan’s Cultural Arts Commission and Board of Ethics, board member of Masterworks Chorale, and the American Theatre Organ Society’s Atlanta Chapter. I keep myself busy.

In 2012, I heard about a new hospital being built in town, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA). I found out it is a hospital focusing only on cancer, and that Newnan was the fifth location. One day I drove by, and I was astounded by what was being built. It was beautiful on the outside and looked nothing like what I have seen a hospital look like before. I said to myself in that moment, “If I were to ever get cancer, this is where I would want to go.” I had no idea that it would one day become reality.

The summer of 2014, I was a healthy 67-year-old. Then one August morning, I discovered blood in my urine. I called a friend who was a local urologist. He recommended I see him right away, ordered a cystoscopy to check my bladder and later a biopsy. After a few days, he called and said, “We received the biopsy results, and the news is not what we wanted to hear.” I had stage II bladder cancer. It felt like the earth was pulled out from under me.

The initial recommendation I received from another provider was immediate surgery. I was caring for my elderly mother, and I wanted to stay close to home. However, I also knew that I wanted a second opinion. Then a friend of mine called me, and she was on the board of the CTCA® hospital. She recommended that I check it out. That’s when I remembered back to the day that I had driven by during the time it was being built. I called CTCA and had an appointment that same week for an initial evaluation.

Confidence in my team

From the moment I called, CTCA impressed me. I spoke to an Oncology Information Specialist, who provided me with a lot of information. I found out about the process of becoming a patient. I felt like I was being heard, and I felt important right from the start.

Everyone at CTCA welcomed me warmly. I immediately felt at home, relaxed and loved. I had an entire team of doctors and clinicians focused on evaluating my cancer and recommending personalized treatment options. I was very scared, but through kindness and education, they helped me put that fear aside.

My medical oncologist recommended 14 weeks of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors, followed by surgery. My urologist had the experience and history of previously performing the surgery many times. This gave me confidence and trust in my care team.

Throughout chemotherapy, I worked with supportive, professional and knowledgeable care clinicians to help prevent nausea, including nutritional and naturopathic support. I had surgery in December 2014 to remove my bladder and prostate, which were both malignant. My recovery took time. I stayed in the hospital for one week, where I received excellent care from the doctors and nurses. I moved on to physical therapy and received urostomy care training from my wound care nurse while in the hospital. When it was time to go home, I had home health care set up by CTCA. A few days passed by, and I had to return to the hospital for a week because I had developed an abscess in my abdomen. My care team was able to treat me with antibiotics. Luckily, I did not need more surgery.

I am so thankful for my friends, who were by my side through it all. They drove me to and from appointments, sat with me during chemotherapy, and brought meals to my home. I got through this cancer journey with the help of the CTCA doctors, nurses, employees, cancer patients, friends and family.

Blessed to be here

I choose to focus on the positives in my life because I know I am blessed. A lot of people get cancer. Some have no more evidence of disease. And some are left with a lifelong reminder of their cancer journey—in my case, a urostomy bag. But I’ll deal with that any day in exchange for another day here on earth.

Through it all, I never lost hope because of I had confidence in my team. They put me at ease and lessened my anxiety. I’ve transitioned from weekly follow-ups to every three months, six months and now yearly. I still go back often for supportive care services, including chiropractic care and acupuncture. When I go back, I smile at the familiar faces, and they smile back.

Recent tests have shown that I have no evidence of disease, and in June 2019, I participated in the Celebrate Life event for cancer survivors, which brought a full range of emotions, from joy to tears and tears of joy. It was incredible, and I can’t thank CTCA enough.

I remain active in my community. My church, First United Methodist Church, participated in Our Journey of Hope (OJOH) training at CTCA. At my church, I created and designed a t-shirt with an acronym using the word HOPE (Helping Other People be Encouraged). Hope is what got me through my cancer journey, and hope is what I encourage cancer patients not to lose.

Going through cancer, treatment and everything that goes along with it changes your life. I am glad I am here, and I am very thankful because every day is a gift. I can appreciate that so much more.

Diagnosed:
August 2014
Treatment at: