Waking NED, Divine!

My quarterly PSA tests have always exerted a gravitational pull on me well beyond their intrinsic strength. That’s because they tell me how well I’m doing in fending off my Stage 4 prostate cancer. Call them my report cards. And yesterday’s test had no more, no less gravity than any of the 22 other PSA tests I’ve had since surgery.

But the results, so patently unexpected, took me with such surprise that my reaction sounded, even to me at the time, more like a shrill complaint than an outburst of innocent incredulity. “What?” I said. “Can that be right?”

Indeed it was. My PSA was “undetectable.” And that’s good.

PSA is a biochemical indicator of prostate cancer, so whatever PSA there might be in me, it’s an amount so scant, so negligible that it just doesn’t show up in the test (my lab can detect only 0.03 ng/ml or more of PSA). And this “undetectable” was down from July’s reading of 0.03, which was itself down from April’s 0.04. And the lower the number, the better.

So what to make of it?

As we say in the cancer community, I am — at least for now — NED, no evidence of disease. You can poke me, you can scan me, and you’ll find not a farthing of evidence of prostate cancer.

We hurriedly improvised at dinner: cheap champagne that was on hand in the fridge.

True enough, I’ve been down this “undetectable” path before, only to see my PSA return and signify cancer’s recurrence. So while we toasted this one test result, I’m taking no victory lap, flying no checkered flag; the race is not yet run. At surgery in 2007, remember, pathology found cancer in two of my pelvic lymph nodes; my cancer metastasized long ago, and it’s virtually certain that some cancer still remains somewhere within me.

Or as my oncologist once told me: “We’re not trying to cure your cancer; we’re trying to manage it.”

“Undetectable,” though, is as good as “managing it” can get, and I’ll take it — gladly — even though I can’t say how, exactly, it might speak to the longer term. The only thing certain is that we’ll test again in January.

And as any cancerian can tell you, the most important test is always your next one.

About Bill Curry

Stage 4 prostate cancer

18 Responses to “Waking NED, Divine!”

  1. Congratulations! Probably one of the few times getting “zero” on a test is great news!

  2. Greetings from Guangzhou, China. This certainly is great news! I’m so happy for you. We can celebrate in Orlando.

    Love to all!

    Kind regards, Mary

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Way to go Bill!!!

  4. Congratulations!!!!! I wonder which future PSA test will cause no anxiety, – how many undetectible in a row until you have complete confidence? I hope every future PSA test is consistently undetectable and you post for many, many, many years to come! Thanks for sharing your great news and fir sharing hope!

  5. HOORAY!!!!!

  6. We are excited for you too and “toast” to NED. You deserve this reward. and so does Becky.


  7. Great news Bill. We are so happy for you. Positive proof that attitude and hard work, combined with excellent medical care, can lead to great outcomes. I can hear the corks popping all the way down here in Bend.

  8. Bill,
    Congrats! – NED deserves champagne..even if it is “cheap domestic” as you said. Wishing you a lifetime of “Neds” ! – Way to go! Greg

  9. I cannot imagine better news to start my day – such a fantastic word “undetectable.” Let the celebration continue – and know that your friend on the Edge of America sends congratulations and an enormous hug to you, your family and all who have been there along the way and continue to support you in this journey. Ellen

  10. Yes, absolutely divine! Thanks for sharing the wonderful news!

    Char Stiles Alex & Co. CPAs

  11. Hooray and amen! These results are testament to years of Bill’s steady push back with all the tools at hand: medication (both proven and experimental), therapy, diet, exercise, positive attitude, and excellent guidance and support from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Evan Yu and the rest of their awesome docs. Bill, you inspire all us “cancerians.”

  12. Great news!! Keep up the good work!

  13. Yea, Bill! Great news. May the results contine and the force be with you. Have a great holiday season, Deb

  14. Time for some Mouton Rothschild!!! Good work Bill and keep the flag flying.

  15. So happy to hear ur positive news. Had our 50th reunion last weekend. Lots of fun. Love ya, Hazel

    Sent from my iPad

  16. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest, most-wonderful celebration!

  17. Song 13 from another NED: http://www.amazon.com/Rorem-32-Songs/dp/B00122RQCK/ref=tmm_other_meta_binding_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1351033641&sr=8-4

    Congratulations, Bill. Have a lovely fall! XO – Jen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: