Cancer Park

Sri Lanka Aug 2011

Sri Lanka, Aug 2011 (Photo by Rebecca Curry)

Truth be told, my prostate cancer journey has thus far been a relative walk in the park compared to the medically invasive and dramatic, life-altering experiences of others. In the time since my diagnosis, the most disruptive event has been surgery, my radical prostatectomy, and that was only two nights in the hospital, plus recovery.

Contrast that with my friend Toby, who was diagnosed in March with Mantle Cell lymphoma and whose life was abruptly up-ended. He’ll undergo his sixth (and final) R-CHOP 21 chemo treatment today — and that’s just a prelude to his stem cell transplant later this month.

So while they’ve been busy poisoning Toby this summer, I’ve been off traveling in Peru and Sri Lanka, living life much as it was before my diagnosis. (Heck, I was traveling when I received my diagnosis!) Oh, Peru and Sri Lanka brought some unintended weight loss and hot flashes from hormone-therapy, but, as I say, a relative walk in Cancer Park.

That’s about to change with my impending “salvage” radiation. My radiation oncologist is now working on the specific treatment plan — the nitty-gritty to maximize the radiation dosage to offending tissue and minimize collateral damage to the healthy. Sometime in the coming days, a phone call will come with my start date for treatment: then five days a week for seven weeks.

I’m ready — even more than ready. I have my Calypso transponders in place, and on Aug 24, I completed the remaining preliminaries: three tattoos to assist in the targeting of the radiation; a custom-made leg cradle to hold me in place; simulation scans for aiming the radiation, and the official signing of the consent form. All I need now is that telephone call.

Radiation will be my third cancer therapy in four years, not counting the experimental drug I took as part of a clinical trial, and not counting the hormone therapy and the chemo med I’m currently on (both are part of the radiation protocol). But there’ll be no more radiation after this — they just don’t do it twice. There are no do-overs, no mulligans.

It either eliminates the remaining prostate cancer in me, or it doesn’t.

About Bill Curry

Stage 4 prostate cancer

7 Responses to “Cancer Park”

  1. Bill, we heard from Becky what a wonderful trip you both had to Sri Lanka. You are so fortunate to have such highly skilled radiologists in Seattle using the latest technology. As you know, Calypso is a Seattle based company. Hats off to those dedicated physicians and bioengineers !! And our very best to you on your road to success with your upcoming treatments.

  2. Guess this was my 15 seconds (or was it minutes) of fame. As Bill mentioned, I have been able to sample many tasty chemotherapy ‘medications’ over the last 6 months my Oncologist has selected just for me. I am hoping for a different menu, but as cancer patients typically will tell you, ‘it is what it is’. Or maybe that was Bill Clinton…however I digress. What is blindingly clear to me as I sit here in the infusion center at the Swedish Cancer Institute is that Bill and his family have been the most solid and dependable friends and support network a cancer patient could possibly hope to have. The Benadryl and Ativan are starting to take hold and pretty soon this post will be gibberish, so I’ll say ‘Goodnight Dick’, and that will pretty much peg the age all of us that remember ‘Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In’.
    Thanks again Bill and keep up the good fight.

    Toby

  3. I’m glad you mentioned Toby and his “routine.” That helps to keep your struggle in perspective. And really, your struggle is NOT a walk in the park. Just easier than Toby’s.
    Love you, Becky

    By the way… that’s an EXCELLENT photo. 🙂

  4. I was diagnosed in September 2010. Prostate removel surgery December 21,2010 and call from my doctor that I had no more cancer on December 24 2010. I am still doing the quarterly PSA and just need one more: no detectable cancer evaluation before I can say that I am cancer free for one year. All the best with your chemo. You are in my prayers.

  5. I’m with you all the way. Good luck, I’ll be thinking of you. Did they at least give you interesting tattoos or were they the “x marks the spot” type? I would think that little bull’s eyes would be good or perhaps simulated bullet holes.

    Seriously, here’s to you and your brave and unflinching account of your. . . adventure?

    All my best.

    • While they threatened me with some really goth tattoos, the final products look more like someone poked me with a ball-point pen — just three little dots. But then the guy took a Sharpie and drew four little lines pointing at each dot. The dots are tiny enough, they want to know where they are!

  6. Good for you, Bill. It’s the most positive I’ve heard you. You see, cancer is NOT your life,it’s just in your life. You sound great. The traveling seems to have done wonders for you.

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