"Each day is a gift - how will you unwrap yours?"
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Welcome! My name is Melodie. I am a bladder cancer warrior who on
7/25/18 celebrated being eleven years cancer free. I also know of
another female who has had an Indy pouch for 25 years and a
male who has lived with one for over 30 years. I have had two
major bladder surgeries and returned to work after each of them. I
learned that being diagnosed with cancer isn't necessarily a death
sentence nor the end of living a quality life style.
You are here most likely because you or someone you love has been
diagnosed with bladder cancer. It's a frightening thought. Bladder
cancer can happen to anyone at any age. The symptoms can sometimes
be so slight, they go unnoticed. Sometimes it is misdiagnosed as an overactive
bladder and for women it can be more easily misdiagnosed because the
symptoms can be very similar to other GYN concerns.
The purpose of this site is to help you or someone you love move forward through cancer in a positive way. It is a tough journey. The journey is not one you can make all on your own. You will need help from others to be successful in your battle with cancer. I would like to help by sharing with you my experience with bladder cancer. When possible, I will also be sharing with you the experience of other warriors in an effort to give you a better understanding of what you might expect if faced with cancer. At the present time, my site covers the diversion I have...the 'Indiana Pouch' but you can also find information on the menu bar for the 'Illeal Conduit'. Sometime in the future, I hope to also include information on the 'Neo Bladder'. Until that time, feel free to email me if you have questions or see 'Other Sources' listed in the website headings. You can find my YouTube video on my "resource tab.
As humans we are similar yet we are all special and unique. The treatment plan for cancer will vary from person to person, just as our responses to the treatment will differ. But one thing we all have in common is....cancer hurts. And although there are individuals who prefer to keep their diagnosis and treatment private, I believe the more we share information, the more we are able to help ourselves and each other to heal. I feel it is important to continue to educate ourselves and help educate others about bladder cancer.
When I was first diagnosed, I felt all alone until I met others via the internet who were fighting their own battle against bladder cancer. Two women in particular were simply wonderful to me when it came to sharing information and offering emotional support. I don't know how I could have pushed forward without their assistance. And more importantly, I recognized that my faith in God was needed to prepare and steady me for such a difficult journey. I decided I would be a survivor. My surgeon didn't believe the word was strong enough and suggested "warrior" instead, and so from that moment on, I was determined to think of myself as a "warrior." This idea helped me to feel empowered and I hope you will also adopt a similar attitude. It's important to recognize you may be in for the fight of your life.
So if you find yourself or someone you love faced with cancer, I strongly encourage you to take a proactive approach. Reach out to others...ask lots of questions, do as much research as you can....and stay strong. I hope you will take the time to explore this site and learn from my experience and the experiences of others by reviewing other cancer related websites I have listed under 'Other Resources'.
Early on in my treatment, my spouse prayed for a miracle, that after chemo my scans would reveal there would be no need for surgery. That did not happen. But I did recognize that I had been blessed. The miracle being that my doctors had the necessary expertise and resources to treat me appropriately, to remove the diseased bladder and give back my life to me. Ten plus years after being diagnosed, after having chemo, my bladder removed, a new one built and learning how to manage the side effects, I can honestly say although I have lost my bladder, I'm a stronger person because of it. The experience has served me well and I'm a better person for having made the journey.
I sincerely desire to help you become better informed, less anxious and more hopeful about your situation. I want to help you in your fight with bladder cancer. I want you to know that you are not alone. I and others like me can help you. When you have time, take a look around my website. If sharing what I know can benefit you, then my efforts with this website have been worthwhile. Don't hesitate to contact me via email if you feel the need. I will get back with you as soon as I can. Being able to help and encourage others is both a joy and a blessing to me so don't hesitate to reach out.
Last updated 11/27/18. Thanks to my dear friend, Ed, for encouraging me to share my thoughts via this website and to my creative daughter, Melissa, for her help in selecting the lovely colors & format and filming the video; my son Kyle for getting the You Tube video published, and my spouse for insisting the video was good enough to make public. Web Site initially released in Dec.09. Special thanks to Robin and Judi for pushing the idea on me to release a Youtube video entitled "Indiana Pouch", showing others how I use a catheter....without support of family & friends this information would have remained private.