Diagnosis + 5

The diagnosis that transformed my life came five years ago today.

I was vacationing, driving east on I-10, toward Tucson, when my cell phone broke the monotony of interstate pavement. It was the urologist who had done my prostate biopsy; we had played phone tag for several days, the apparent lack of urgency giving me a confident calm. I took an exit ramp, pulled to a stop and, old newspaper reporter that I am, began taking notes.

“There’s a little bit of cancer,” he said. What?! He gave me the title of a book to read so I could ask intelligent questions about my first cancer, as well as understand his answers. No sense discussing my Gleason Score unless I knew what it measures and what it means. “Read the book, and we’ll talk Friday.”

At a Barnes & Noble in Tucson, I searched the next morning for the book but finally had to ask for help: “Do you have Dr. Patrick Walsh’s Guide to Surviving –”

The rest of the title, Prostate Cancer, never came out. I had choked, both vocally and mentally. For it was only upon uttering Surviving that I fully grasped what I had been handed: a disease with the potential to kill me.

Five years following diagnosis is a milestone in cancer survival, and while it is a good deal for me personally, it is also a Big Deal: Virtually all of us who were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2007 have so far survived the disease, thanks to earlier diagnosis and better treatments. So much so that there’s a kerfuffle today over whether prostate cancer is over-diagnosed and over-treated. In other words, many men (most?) will die with the disease, not from it. There’s just no way yet of telling early on who needs treatment and who doesn’t.

And me? I remain grateful that I was diagnosed. Diagnosis and surgery led to the discovery that my prostate cancer had taken up residence in nearby lymph nodes, warranting more aggressive treatment and more frequent check-ups. I’ve now had an experimental drug, surgery, hormone therapy and radiation accompanied by more hormone therapy. Over-treated? Not me.

I take whatever they have to offer, whatever will help me at each turn of the cancer screw — that’s Bill Curry’s guide to surviving prostate cancer.

Here’s to the next five.

 

About Bill Curry

Stage 4 prostate cancer

15 Responses to “Diagnosis + 5”

  1. I also have Stage IV prostate cancer diagnosed late last year, a couple years after bracheotherapy and conformal radiation tried to kill off my Stage I cancer. They gave me 3-5 years, so I’ll join in your toast!

  2. Les and Ann Mace Reply April 1, 2012 at 7:11 am

    We’ll drink to that! Here’s to the next five and well beyond.

    Prost,

    Les and Ann

  3. Glad I had a minute to check in and find your latest post. You look great. Now that I am a “mentor” myself to young people, I always tell them about My First Mentor. You. Gimme five.

  4. Hey Bill,

    Reading this aloud to Bob as I soothingly pet our cat – good Karma for you & us – gives us great joy! This good news calls for a Skyline cheese coney with extra cheese and a Mountain Dew!

    Keep on doing what you do best – living life with gusto!

    Cheers,

    Jo

  5. Proud of you Dad! You’re stronger and healthier than ever. Thanks for taking care of you! Love you.

  6. Yes – Here is to the next

  7. A ta sante! I lift my seltzer water to you.

  8. Toasting your wonderful anniversary on this special day, all the way from Richmond, VA. So many of us here have been cheering you on and sending waves of strength. So admire your attitude and resolve. Here so many, many more cancer-free years.

  9. Bill,
    You have a great attitude. You will beat the crap out of this thing.
    Love,
    Dickie

  10. Congratulations, Bill. Each milestone is worth the celebration. I just received good news in early March. It’s been nearly 15 years since my first surgery. Best to you in all your future years!

  11. Make that a pitcher of Mac & Jack….and make it for the next five and the five after that…and the next five….

  12. A big Cheers! to you and your cohort, Bill. Especially to you!

  13. Yeah Billy!

  14. Cheers! And Cheers again!

  15. It’s friendship Karma that I am in Tucson on this, your important cancer fighting and surviving anniversary. Today I’ll hoist one in your honor, not for the next “5” but for the next 10!!!

    General Sanchez Cerro said it best when fighting off the dastardly Chileans in 1889. “I shall keep on fighting until I fire my last shell”

    Your arsenal is amply stocked!!

    Un fuerte abrazo! Paul

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