When health hits home
Don’t ignore warning signs that you may have a problem
Over the past a few years, we have published numerous health stories. We hope this information has given you a starting point to develop a healthier lifestyle. We have also covered many medical issues to help readers recognize problem signs.
One fear is that readers will become fatigued with the topic of health, and I try not to sound too preachy or self-righteous when I occasionally write about health and drivers in my column.
I know that I’ve ignored some of our advice about eating well, getting enough exercise or seeing a doctor at the first signs of a problem. After all, I know my body, and it’s easy to chalk up some early warning signs of a potential health issue to aging and the stresses of work and family.
That was my justification when I started having some increasing health issues over the past year or so. Back pain and reoccurring urinary tract infections didn’t seem like too big of a deal. I would see a doc-in-a-box and get some antibiotics and pain medicine and get right back to my busy schedule.
It was only recently, when I could no longer ignore the fact that I wasn’t getting better, that I finally sought out a specialist. I expected the urologist to give me some new wonder drug and encourage me to make some lifestyle changes. Life would be back to normal. What I didn’t expect to hear was the word that stopped me cold in my tracks — cancer. I’ve had friends and relatives diagnosed with cancer, but they were different from me, I thought.
To be specific, I was diagnosed with bladder cancer — a rare form called squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous of the bladder is thought to usually result from bacteria that goes unchecked for too long. While my doctor couldn’t say with certainty that my reoccurring UTIs were the catalyst for developing cancer, he said they likely played a role. I probably had a perfect storm of factors that made me somewhat predestined for developing it.
The second piece of news that sent a cold chill up my back was that this particular cancer doesn’t respond well to chemo or radiation. The normal procedure is to remove the bladder, prostate and some lymph nodes and to reconstruct the urinary system.
By the time you read this, I will be about four weeks removed from my surgery and hopefully on the road to a full recovery. At the risk of sounding preachy, don’t ignore your health if you think you have a problem. Nothing in your life is more important than your health. It’s priceless.