So today, after only a couple of months waiting I had to brave the road to Lincoln (about 35 miles - single carriageway and unlit for the most part. The journey there wasn't bad at all, and I arrived early enough to buy a £5 body warmer with fur trimmed hood from "thatstorethatknocksoutcheapclothescosthey'remadeinsweatshopsandergopoliticallyincorrect". Figured it was essential.
It was my first return visit in nearly 3 years to Lincoln - where I had five weeks of daily radiation concurrent with 7 weeks of 24/7 chemo. This is particularly relevant since general consensus is that radiation is the main contributing factor to my current waterworks problem (i.e. flow should be 15-18ml/second but is a maximum of 2ml second now and decreasing).
I was the only patient in clinic 4 and pretty much went straight through to the consulting room to wait to meet the plumber.
Mr Urologist (I'm going to call him Uri because I think he could have been Russian) was reading my referral letter (with case history) out loud to a student in the adjoining office as is usual - and at the end he added "this is a disaster, she is very young (not as young as me *chuckle* I'm just a baby but 1970).....she is still only in her thirties". Nice to get some recognition instead of being told how "lucky" I am even if he didn't realise I could hear.
They came through and introduced themselves (don't ask me their actual names - in one ear and then lost forever). Once I told him I'd gone through an instant menopause at 36 when I had the radiation and was therefore now on HRT until I'm about 50, he raised his eyebrows. He seems to think that the radiation combined with the change in oestrogen levels has caused the stricture. He is worried about the effects on my kidneys (with existing scarring from years of repeated UTIs so am I) so was going to order a scan. How fortuitous then, that I am having my 3 year post surgery scan 6 months early on Saturday. My kidneys will be covered on that.
Firstly I have a prescription for "local" oestrogens for 3 months. In the meantime I'll be on the waiting list for surgery, well a surgical procedure. He said I can have a general or a local anaesthetic but with a local - more pain. I told them that after having a 10 inch scar and four hours in surgery for a TME I reckon I can handle the pain if only it means I get this sorted quicker. He hopes it will only be 2 to 3 weeks waiting. The procedure is expected to last for up to 2 years and then will likely recurr. A urology nurse will show me how to self catheterise (basically putting a tube in my wee hole *cringe* weekly) to try and prevent this.
Of course this all depends on the results of my scan but all things point to the initial diagnosis being correct so still no fear that there's anything else malignant causing a blockage.
I met up with the lovely Susie and her eldest Becky for a pub dinner (steak and chips for a fiver ta very much) afterwards but my Beechams at lunch was wearing off so instead of having a cheeky half pint of beer when Susie ordered a bottle of wine - I had a hot water with a spoon for my next dose :( .
The drive home was a bit hairy - it was OK but the traffic was driving at a sensible 40mph since the roads were all white and the verges were all white and the fields...........well you can guess. It was very fine and compacted fresh snow. We slowed to a modest 20mph for a few miles but I got home in one piece with the compulsory slide into my road - with only one set of tyre marks on it already.
I shall keep you informed!