Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

Blood in the Urine and Radiation Cystitis Part Two

with 6 comments




I thought I had closed off the subject on haemorrhagic bladder cystitis and blood in the urine but recent events have led me to write this article. What I am about to describe is not a “Poor Me” event but an article I feel needs to be explored to inform those patients who may have to face the same situation as I am going through. This is a personal description of what it is like to have a massive bladder bleed with retention and bladder spasm’s.

As I have written in my past few posts I am undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatment in an effort to heal my diagnosed bladder cystitis. However a few days ago I experienced a massive bleeding event resulting in a midnight dash to the Townsville Hospital Emergency Department.

I will start by trying to describe what it is like to experience a bladder spasm. If you have ever experienced a severe muscle cramp or witnessed a footballer suddenly collapsing in agony with a muscle cramp spasm you will have some idea of what this may be like. The difference however is the frequent amounts of spasm’s experienced by urine retention patients. Throughout my whole ordeal I was experiencing these attacks on a regular basis for two days and nights with the bowels joining in the chorus at times. Sleep was non-existent all through this period and on a pain level out of 10 it was a 15 every time. I felt like I was being disemboweled

My adventure began as a series of small bleeds during the evening suddenly increasing to urinary retention where I was unable to pass the clots. At the point at which I could not pass any urine or clots the bladder spasm’s began to wrack my lower pubic area and off to the emergency department I went. The emergency department were terrific and admitted me straight up and administered some pain killers and inserted a three-way foley catheter. (Having one of these catheter’s inserted and retrieved deserves an article in itself, however I will leave this for another time)

The next couple of days and nights have been seared into my memory as the worst distressing period of my life. They gave me some heavy pain-killer medication plus a drug (oxybutynin) to help minimise the spasm’s. These helped somewhat take the edge of the pain except during the height of a spasm which would last approx 30 seconds and then reliably return approx every 30 minutes. I found I could not lie down for long but was better able to handle the spasm’s when I was standing erect, so, standing I was for two days and nights. The catheter kept blocking with clots and the nurse had to constantly flush the catheter. sometimes I could clear it myself by jiggling, squeezing or adopting different stances to keep the flow going.

The bleeding finally stopped and I was released back out into the wild and back to my hyperbaric treatment. I am still left with the occasional mild spasm, a little incontinence and increased painful urination. The hyperbaric unit has been supportive and wish me to continue with treatment. They do not see this as a failure in my treatment as I am only half way through my sessions. They explained that the treatment is aimed at supplying oxygen to these blood vessels thus assisting in the healing. This healing effect will continue for a couple of months after completing my sessions. It could be possible I may relapse in the future but I can always have the treatment again at some point if needed.

Catheter Fun

Catheter Fun

Summarising these events I would like to say that those days and nights were the most painful, distressing, unhygienic, un-dignified and embarrassing moments in my life. In describing these events I have painted a bleak picture with little or no hints for those who may yet travel this path. Greg wanted this site to be warts and all and that is the reason I have submitted this article. It’s main aim is to at least warn those patients that this road may yet confront them in their cancer treatment travels and also to highlight that they are not alone, someone has been there before. Drink at least two litres of plain water daily and mind the foods you eat. They should be non acid forming and not spicy. Tea, coffee and alcohol should be modified or discontinued. The aim of the game is to reduce bladder irritants and flush the system with water.

I would like to publically thank the staff of the emergency department at Townsville General Hospital for holding my hand throughout this ordeal.

Lee aka Popeye



Written by Lee

5 June 2014 at 4:32 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Its interesting that we hear so much about cyber.knife radiation and yet so much damage over wide areas of the body still happens….. I am afraid that all that is said on the series “the truth about cancer ” is very true..
    They are just playing with us.. lol. Not…


    5 June 2014 at 9:21 pm

    • Peter: How nice it is to see you are still about. Thank you for your comment and I must admit I am just as confused as ever about the amount of people I meet and see each day with cancer of one sort or another. It seems to me it is more prevalent than I can ever remember. Prostate cancer is thought of as an old mans disease but I am meeting men in support groups and reading about men who are in their early forties and in a few cases 30’s who have this cancer or have died from it.
      Every time I eat or drink something I wonder what the hell I am adding to my body. Breathing is considered dangerous in some polluted areas, just where in heck is all this heading.
      I don’t know the answers nor do I trust a lot of the information I read or see on television. I just feel that cancer is out of hand as far as numbers are concerned.
      I do not know the answers and I suspect nobody ever will, there seems to be a lot of things not said nor revealed. Who do you trust these days, religion has gone off the rails, politicians are untrustworthy and bent, the common community concern for each other is quickly becoming a thing of the past. So sad. So sad.
      Although I sound pessimistic I still hold out hope that things can turn around to a positive. I look for examples of the good things I value in people, politics, religion and even in the media. When I hear or see things that uplift the standards I make sure I really notice and I make sure I inform other people of these events when they occur.
      Cheers Peter
      Lee aka Popeye

      Lee Gallagher

      6 June 2014 at 10:54 pm

  2. Oh Lee, my heart goes out to you, keep up the battle mate. Betty and Dudley

    Betty Hobbs

    6 June 2014 at 4:03 pm

    • Dudley and Betty: Nice to see you are still following the blog. I hope I have not alarmed anyone as I am sort off OK now and mending. As I wrote the experience was something I would not like to repeat in a hurry.
      Thank you for your good wishes and I am looking forward to catching up when I return home.

      Kind Regards
      Lee aka Popeye

      Lee Gallagher

      6 June 2014 at 10:57 pm

  3. I am so sorry you had to go through that. Sounds terrible. I know this wasn’t a “woe is me article” but I want you to know I’m sorry you had to go through all that pain. I hope you are definitely on the mend and the rest of your sessions help you. Hang in there, you are not alone xo Love your rellies from down south

    Megan Oliver

    6 June 2014 at 4:54 pm

    • Ahh Megan: Thank you for taking the time out to comment and send me your best wishes. I already know I am not alone and in times of distress in the wee hours of the morning my thoughts have gone out to the people and family I value, and I did draw a lot of comfort and strength to get through it all.
      It is easy to get lost in personal medical issues but I have never lost sight of the fact you are dealing with your own issues. Megan I hope things are going OK with you for the moment.

      Love Lee
      aka Popeye

      Lee Gallagher

      6 June 2014 at 11:05 pm

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