Today: Cancer 1, Bill 0

When it's nice in Seattle, it's *really* nice.

First off: This is not a complaint. It’s a simple illustration, a sketch — maybe even just a scratchpad doodle — of the ways in which cancer is always a companion, calling attention to its unwanted self. A reminder that cancer is a grift that keeps on grifting.

It’s a warm, sunny day here in Seattle, and I’m inside in bed.

During a routine check-up, my dentist had observed an unusual spot on my tongue and some sun damage on my lower lip. A second cancer? A distant outpost of the first? She wanted someone to look at it all, maybe even do a biopsy. So off to the specialist yesterday for a look-see, and back to him at 7 this a.m. for the biopsy and some laser treatment. Heavy sedation, stitches, pain killers — sleep it off.

I’m judging it was a difficult call for the oral surgeon. The areas in question presented themselves pretty much as non-threatening. He thought in silence and finally began his conclusion: “With your history…”

My cancer. And neither one of us would take a chance: There would be no spin of the cosmic roulette wheel, no hopeful gamble that the ball would drop into a No Cancer pocket. So we’d do the biopsy and the laser, and I’ll heal. But when the biopsy results come back, we’ll know, not hope.

No, I’m not whining or grousing. I’m just still discovering how cancer works. In the larger scheme of cancer and others’ circumstances, a twist like this is No Big Deal. It’s nano-to-micro.

But that’s how cancer works: Its affects on life come in all sizes.

About Bill Curry

Stage 4 prostate cancer

3 Responses to “Today: Cancer 1, Bill 0”

  1. Bill,

    Yes, never knowing when or where the next surprise turn is going to appear is very trying. I am hoping that this was just a precautionary measure and will be nothing more than that.

    In your previous post, I undersdtand the “black.” I was there several weeks ago. In my case I was reasoning, why am I doing this ADT thing when I feel so bad and there are no guarantees for a Stage 4 patient? Of course I know why I am doing it. But the black moods can be surprising. I found it a great help knowing that it was just yet another side effect.

    Keep going!

  2. Bill,
    If you are concerned that the “lip-tongue things” are related to your prostate history, a biopsy is certainly the only way to prove it.. As a former surgeon, I WOULD BE TOTALLY SHOCKED IF THERE IS ANY CONNECTION. I HAVE NEVER SEEN, HEARD OF, OR READ OF metastatic disease from the prostate EVER going to a patient’s tongue or lip. I think you’d be world-famous! Go outside and enjoy that beautiful Seattle day you sent me a pictue of. (Excuse the terminal preposition)

  3. Bill; The score is really tied at 1-1 for now. You and your care team identified a suspicious thing and dealt with it and each side is equal; you were effectively at 1-0 last week before being aware of aware of anything potentially amiss; the score has been evened.

    The difficult thing now is the wait for biopsy results-nothing but time to do the ‘endless what-if loop’. It is simply impossible for even the most empathetic soul to feel what that wait is like, but know your cancer-kin are here with you.

    The other thing that is so telling is the trailing off statement ‘With your history…’ and the implications of that. Much as the care provider meant only the best for you, it is always unnerving to be reminded you have a special box ticked already when you’re being evaluated.

    Know we are here for you and redirecting good karma back to you.



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