Because of my TUF-trained surgeon, cancer hasn’t stopped me meeting my grandkids or my great-grandkids

Robin was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2004. Fifteen years later, he’s still keeping well, even though he has also faced kidney cancer and a heart attack in that time. Now he’s enjoying life with his wife, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids thanks to the skill of his TUF-trained surgeon, Ms Eleanor Ray.

I’d never had to go to hospital before 2004. A lot has changed since then.

“I was 62 in 2004 and I was greeted with quite a surprise after one toilet trip. A lot of blood had come out in my pee so we went straight to the doctor, who referred me for tests at the hospital.

“I was diagnosed with bladder cancer pretty quickly. It was a pretty frightening time; your first thought is ‘how long have I got?’

“The doctors were very good and they assured me that they would do everything they could. They treated the cancer with minimally invasive surgery and then a dose of chemotherapy.

“Ever since, throughout the last 15 years, I’ve been returning to the hospital every three months for checks. Pretty soon after the bladder cancer treatment, however, the check-up revealed that the cancer had spread to my kidneys.

“So, in 2005 I had my right kidney completely removed and they also took a biopsy from my left kidney, as well. Now I only have one kidney and that is working at about 35% capacity.”

I’ve been in such good hands because my doctor has been so well trained by The Urology Foundation

“I’d done a good job of avoiding hospitals for the first 60 years of my life. Since then I’ve been back countless times for cancer treatments and even a heart attack back in 2014. But I have had such good care throughout.

“Ms Eleanor Ray took over my treatment about 5-6 years ago. She’s been so good; she always explains everything to me and my regular check-ups have never caused me any problems.

“Every three months they have me in and, under general anaesthetic, they run a camera up through my penis and into my bladder and kidneys to check for any cancer tumours. It’s become a regular part of my routine and I’m always in and out within a day.

“About 5 years ago my check-up revealed that I had lots of small cancerous tumours in my kidney, but they were in a part of the kidney that is really hard to reach.

“Thankfully, Eleanor had received a scholarship from The Urology Foundation to visit New York where she received specialist training. While she was there she learnt about a rare technique that is used to reach tumours that are really hard to reach, like mine, using a 2 French Ureteric Diathermy Probe.

“Because I only have 35% of my kidney left, we absolutely had to get the tumours out before they damaged my kidneys any more. Thankfully, because of Eleanor and her excellent training, we were able to do just that.”
I’ve been lucky that cancer has not been allowed to ruin my life

“I’ve been quite surprised, really. Even though I have had both bladder and kidney cancer, I’ve been able to continue my life as normal.

“I’m retired, which helps, but even so it’s not really had an impact on my day to day life. I still get to see my grandkids and great-grandkids and I’m still able to get out and potter round the garden. I’m big on pub quizzes and it’s never stopped me from doing those!

“Apparently the cancer I have is not an aggressive one. That could have been a different story for me, but it could also have been a different story for me if my doctors were not so excellent and well trained. 

“Since my original treatment I’ve moved away from the hospital in Dartford, but I still make the 40 minute drive from near Whitstable for my check-ups because the team there are just so good.”

Help save the lives of more people like Robin and donate today so that TUF can train more surgeons like Eleanor.


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