I have been besieged with wonderful messages from family, friends and loved ones about my good fortune in saving my bladder. I want to thank a special person for getting me this far, Dr. Carol Salem.
Dr. Salem is an amazing woman, a urologist connected with Scripps Mercy and the Genesis Urology Group in Hillcrest. She is on the cutting edge of minimally invasive robotic techniques, an incredibly dedicated and hard working doctor and incidentally one with little appetite for bullshit.
While the future certainly holds no guarantees for a person with my medical history (she calls me a frequent flyer), Dr. Salem was the first person willing to listen and work with me on an alternative to outright organ removal.
Remember that both the first doctor who operated on me and the USC Keck team felt that removing my bladder would be a necessity. The doctor who relieved me of my invasive tumors said it was a matter of when and not if. But I had a feeling that there was another reasonable avenue to pursue and knew that, in this instance, I had to stand my ground and make the right medical decision for myself.
Dr. Salem looked closely at my medical history and saw that I had had good longterm results with BCG treatments in the past, put me at the top of the list for the scarce drug due to the serious nature of my tumors and restarted the regimen. As of this point in time, we were right.
Thank god I found a physician who would listen. It was ultimately her call I suppose but she showed flexibility when others would not.
I have had a host of medical problems and procedures in my life, as you know. One thing I have learned is that while you must always listen, you also have to be your own best medical advocate. Trust but verify. It is the only life you have, don't surrender it if something doesn't feel right. Find someone that will listen and work with you. I am so very lucky to have found Doctor Salem.