Bladder cancer caregiver: How cherishing the hard times enriched my life

Caring for my husband, Wayne, during his cancer journey enriched my life because we were able to spend so much time together.  Wayne was diagnosed with non-invasive bladder cancer at age 75, after noticing blood in his urine in 2005. We were both upset. We knew treatment for bladder cancer would affect our plans, since Wayne wanted to travel more. I was more concerned about what I imagined Wayne would have to endure. Fifteen years earlier, he’d been treated for kidney cancer. At that time, he’d had a kidney removed and he didn’t want to return to that hospital. Several of Wayne’s friends mentioned MD Anderson, so we checked it out. And after meeting urologic oncologist and surgeon Ashish Kamat, M.D., we knew that we’d made the right decision.  Side-by-side during bladder cancer treatment Wayne’s cancer was caught at an early stage, so the first line of treatment was an immunotherapy drug called Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). While Wayne was receiving his immunotherapy treatments, I would either read him an interesting or enlightening book or article, or we would just talk. Sometimes, if he thought he could sleep, I’d knit or read in his room. When Wayne had a reaction to the treatment — usually chills — I’d warm towels in the oven and put them in bed with him. I never left Wayne’s side, and I never wanted to. Wayne was my true sweetheart. Committed to care as cancer progressed I loved every minute of the time we had together. Even when Wayne’s cancer spread to his lung and he needed chemotherapy and then surgery to remove the affected...