Third anniversary of my life master hat trick – life master, bronze life master, silver life master, all in one fell swoop at the Niagara Falls, Ont., Regional on Nov. 10, 2011 – I’m out cold for a TURBT “procedure” to remove a growth from my bladder.
When I wake up enough to understand what’s going on, it’s bad news. Bladder cancer. Good-bye, hopes for gold life master. Good-bye to lots of things I know and love.
But wait, there’s hope, even when the skies turn black, the temperature falls from 70 to 30 and you’re plugged into a catheter and gobbling antibiotics and anti-spasm pills. Bladder cancer strikes five times as many people as it kills every year, I read on one of the cancer websites. It’s survivable.
What will it take to survive? The urologist isn’t optimistic about the lab results from the tissue samples. The bladder will have to go, she says. The top urological oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute isn’t so certain. They interpreted the lab results a bit differently. First, they want to take another look in there after I’ve healed up. A second TURBT procedure. Mid-December. Then there will be a definite decision.
I went back to work for most of an evening on the fourth day after the procedure, but I fatigued easily. I still need a nap every day. And I have to hit the washroom every hour. It wasn’t until this past Friday, 11 days after the procedure and a night off from work, and three days after the big Buffalo snow disaster (which left only a couple inches at my house) that I felt ready to return to the bridge tables.
I used to pride myself on sitting through an entire game without heading off to take a leak. On Friday and Saturday, I made that dash to the men’s room before and after the game and twice between rounds of play.
Meanwhile, I didn’t forget everything I knew, not even my bad habits, but somehow the results were good anyway.
Friday with Celine Murray, our 54.20% put us third in a three-way scrum for the top in a three-table game at the Airport Bridge Club and gave us a master point.
Saturday with Beverly Dale, despite some unfortunate bids (See Blog 809-A and Blog 809-B), we finished second overall in a 4½-table game with 58.33% for 1.31 master points. Now my hopes are officially bolstered. That goal of 1,800 career master points by the end of the year is within reach.