Meet a Chapel Hill Walk to End Bladder Cancer Ambassador, Leslie Watts

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network is pleased to welcome one of our two Chapel Hill Walk to End Bladder Cancer Ambassadors, Leslie Watts.  Dr. Matt Milowsky is also a Walk Ambassador.  The Chapel Hill Walk will take place on May 2, 2020.

Leslie told BCAN:

My husband and I have family and friends in the Chapel Hill/Raleigh/Durham area so I figured this would be a way to actually acknowledge my cancer and do so with some of the closest people to me. I look forward to those that can join me at this event.

My husband and I lived in Savannah, GA where he was stationed with the Army’s 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment. In late 2015, we decided to leave Active Duty military life and we moved back to North Carolina, where we are both from.

After countless visits to my PCP (even while living in Savannah) and only being 27 years old, my physician unfortunately misdiagnosed my symptoms as just recurrent UTIs. I was put on several steroids and antibiotics that only seemed to make me gain weight and have no change in my symptoms. Ultimately I decided to take myself to a urologist to see what may be going on.

After testing, bloodwork & a cystoscopy, we found my very first tumor and was immediately scheduled for surgery. I have had surgery and chemo/immunotherapy every year since 2015. I have had BCG treatments and after each surgery, I have had a mitomycin treatment before leaving the hospital. February 14th of 2020 I turned 32 and as of November 2019 I have had 4 surgeries and 5 tumors removed.

I have no family history of bladder cancer, and even with an active tumor, they are undetected through bloodwork or urinalysis.

I often feel guilty for not “looking sick” and seeing cancer patients who truly have a much harder journey but I am thankful to all my friends and family who have been so supportive throughout the years.