Bladder Cancer Survivor

Photo of Nadene – Bladder Cancer Survivor

My name is Nadene. I am a 78-year-old widow who is now retired from my job as a secretary with the state of Washington. I have three step-daughters and four siblings.

In early 2003, I was found to have bladder cancer. I did some research after my diagnosis and learned about a doctor at Virginia Mason who treated this kind of cancer. I decided to see him and was extremely impressed with his kindness and the attention he paid to my concerns. In fact, he stayed after closing hours to make sure all my questions were answered. He offered a date when he could do my surgery, but made it clear that the decision was up to me.

I'm very glad that he was willing to do my surgery because he did a fantastic job. During the time I was in the hospital at Virginia Mason, I was treated wonderfully by everyone.

“My road to recovery was guided by my Virginia Mason surgeon who advised me what to do and what not to do.”

I've found that if one is willing to accept the changes brought about by losing one's bladder (or any other major loss), it makes it easier to cope with those changes. My late husband used to ask me how I could possibly deal with having lost my bladder and having to wear and change pouches, etc., and my answer always was, "but I'm still alive, aren't I?!"

The biggest change at first was simply getting used to doing things in a different way. My road to recovery was guided by my Virginia Mason surgeon who advised me what to do and what not to do. I followed his advice and it helped so much to know I could contact him with any questions I had.

I was able to have my follow-up medical visits with him at the Virginia Mason medical center in Lynnwood, which is closer to my home. The people who work there are super. In time, I was able to get back to doing the things I had done before the surgery.

I would like people to know, in case I haven't already made it abundantly clear, that because of the cancer care I received at Virginia Mason, I am still alive 13 years after my surgery. Also, I had a hernia operation at Virginia Mason after my bladder surgery. I was treated just as well as the first time.

People with a serious diagnosis should do their research and then make their decisions about treatment. I think anyone who looks into Virginia Mason will decide, like I did, that it's the best place for the best care. I'm happy with my decision and grateful to be enjoying my life today.