After throwing its weight around, the wind has died down, leaving one of those blue skies with fluffy clouds and a very cold nip in the air. A good day for walking, gardening or as I did this morning, singing. I was at a Natual Voice session run by Neal Jolly in a village not far from mine- about 5 miles, with 20+ other women, singing in harmony. (Men were allowed, they just didn’t turn up! The one who popped his head round, beat a very hasty retreat, leaving the door ajar, drawing all the warmth out in his wake.) We had a lovely time, getting to grips with five different levels of harmony all taught by ear. I came away thinking what a great morning that was.

I had laughed, I had sung, I had chatted and drunk coffee, yes I know it’s not terribly good for the voice. And apart from telling two friends who had asked me directly, I didn’t mention my news.

I have early stage non invasive bladder cancer. Which of all the cancers to have is the good one. They will cut out the cancer and then deliver a dose of chemotherapy in a localised, directed hit immediately afterwards. And that could be it for ever. Depending on the histology. More chemo perhaps or not. It could grow back and then they will cut it out again and this pattern could go on for years. Or it could never grow back- the chemo directed in this way, inhibits further growth. My dad had bladder cancer, radiotherapy and then lived another 25 years without recurrence.

I am lucky.

I am one of those people who take an unnatural interest in what their body is doing. I suppose because I have had spinal fusion and still have a grumbling pain in my stomach and lower back with the occasional pinched nerve to chivvy me up a bit. I am aware. Perhaps also having  grown up in a household where the latest copy of MIMS was the reading material in the loo, I have maintained my fascination for obscure knowledge about medicine without actually having any training in the subject. Just for the record I am and always have been a non -smoker. And an almost non- drinker.

For the past six months I have been having problems with my stomach. In June I had  a colonoscopy resulting in a large polyp being cut out- I watched as it went pinging around the walls of the colon as they tried to catch it in a tiny net. They managed to retrieve half and told me they had tattooed the place where it had been.

The follow up colonoscopy, a month later, was to find the tattoo and see if anything new had happened. They lost the tattoo. It was blue and the walls were pink but somehow it had disappeared. Never mind. In August I had a phone call to say that I didn’t have cancer, not that I thought I had, and it was all most probably irritable bowel syndrome.

However, this call came whilst we were dealing with my husband’s lung abscess and in weighting, my stuff was in the microgram category, whilst his was in the mega ton. So noted and dismissed.

I had the six month call, in December, for another colonoscopy where they found new polyps in a completely different place and not only had they found one blue tattoo, they found three! Lucky me- tattoos multiplying without me having to do anything. I’m sure my kids had to pay to get more tattoos. Envious or what!

In January I had one show of blood in my urine- it filled the bowl. Then a couple of days of period-like pain but no more blood. I had hoped that at my age I had outgrown period pains- one of the perks of the menopause. It subsided and I was back to my normal grumbling ache and pinched nerve, though feeling so tired all the time and dangerously slipping back down the well into depression.

Knowing this I made an appointment with my doctor. Who listened. And then made a series of tests and appointments resulting in my attending a haematuria clininc on Friday.

Where I saw my early stage non invasive bladder cancer for the first time.

Oh, I said, are they polyps? expecting the answer yes. No, said the doctor, that’s cancer.

A wave of tiny white fronds strung with fairy lights.

Do I really want something so pretty to be cut out?

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