Treated 2006 • Posted 2007 • Updated 2011 & 2014 & 2015 & 2020
Allan's "proton graduation" speech:
Note that Allan spells the word, God as "G-d." When we asked why, Allan said, "I use G-d as according to the Jewish religion, we are not supposed to spell out G-d with the 'o'. If we do, then the paper can never be thrown away." A week before his graduation speech, he gave a presentation on public speaking. Here is Allan's graduation Speech:
"Welcome everyone and I am glad I did not scare you away last week. I am Allan Kaufman, from Baltimore, MD 3,000 miles away. 3 more treatments to go. Did you know I was 6 foot 4 before I came to Loma Linda? They told me I needed to lose some height to fit into my pod.
My father had prostate cancer. My mother died of breast cancer. And I am a prostate cancer survivor. My brother's odds of getting prostate cancer are over 90%. My brother is shopping around for an AFLAC cancer policy.
I am here due to early detection. I've been having annual physicals since age 50. My PSA went from 2.7 to 3.5 in a year and then to 4.0 in 5 more months. A biopsy indicated a Gleason score of 3+3=6. I had no symptoms. I felt fine.
Doctor: Well, we better discuss treatment now for your prostate cancer. I recommend hormone therapy. Man: Are there any side-effects?
Doctor: A few. You will have a loss of potency. You might get some hot flashes. When lost, you will have an inexplicable urge to ask for directions and … You will enjoy shopping with your wife at the mall.
My urologist told me surgery was the way to go. He told me that 75% of his patients were not impotent after 3 years. 3 years? And some of us think 10 weeks here at Loma Linda is a long time. AND what about the other 25%?
My regular doctor told me that of all 30 patients of his that had prostate surgery, all were incontinent and impotent. That did it for me!
I had a dream. And in my dream doctors were all knowing and shared information freely with their patients. And then I woke up. I woke up to the realization that doctors are practicing. They are practicing on us, on you and on me.
My friends and fellow cancer survivors. We stepped out of the box. We took charge of our own lives. And here we are individually and together at Loma Linda University's Proton Center.
How did we get here? We drove our cars. We flew on jets. We did whatever we needed to do in our desire for a better outcome than our at-home doctors would have given us.
I ask you: back home did you ever talk to strangers in your doctor's waiting room? I think not. "What is your PSA level? Any side effects of your treatment?" I doubt it.
Here we are one big family. In the waiting room and in the dressing room, we share lots of personal stuff. Back home did you ever kid around with your doctor or his staff while being treated? Here I tell my gantry techies: Beam me up Scottie!
I was depressed only once right after a treatment. It was when I rushed back to the dressing room, opened the bathroom door and found out there was no toilet paper. Sometimes life's not fair.
I thank my daughter, Amy, for finding out about Loma Linda and Proton Therapy from a colleague at work. His father had proton therapy 2 years ago. Amy overnighted me more than 50 pages of information including over a hundred testimonials. I spoke to his father for over an hour and a half. Was this for real? I was told to call Bob Marckini. I did and here I am.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the creative thinkers here at Loma Linda. We thank the wonderful staff here at Loma Linda. We thank our doctors and we especially thank our wonderful technicians who carefully insert that BALLOON into us each treatment. We are thankful for all the support groups that are around, the Wednesday nights, the potlucks, etc. Take advantage of them.
Let's give a special thanks to Dr. Martell for his weekly words of wisdom and to Carol and Patti for all their hard work putting together these wonderful Wednesday night support sessions.
We thank Bob Marckini for setting up BOB – the Brotherhood of the Balloon. Go to his website and read testimonial after testimonial after testimonial: www.protonbob.com.
We also thank the Loma Linda community for helping to lay down a system for us to become members of their communities – however long or short our stay.
And finally we thank G-d for pointing us in the right direction. And for allowing us to enjoy ourselves while we go through the process of getting cured.
How did I enjoy myself? Three days/week at the world's greatest fitness center and pool: the Drayson Center. My wife and I toured L.A. and visited the San Diego Zoo and La Hoya. We walked through the Nixon Library and we climbed aboard Air Force One at the Reagan Library.
The worst part of the whole treatment for me was during the drive up and down the mountain to Lake Arrowhead, 5,000 feet up. Folks, I am a flatlander and proud of it.
It is time for us to spread the word. Like evangelicals, we should jump right in upon hearing the words prostate cancer. There are a lot of men out there who have no clue what the prostate is, what it does or where it is located. I was one of them. Many call it their prostrate.
The doctor speaks: "You have prostate cancer." Suddenly, you get this sinking feeling and initially lose all brain function. You are at the mercy of your doctor.
When I heard I had cancer, I looked so depressed that a homeless person gave ME a dollar.
Over 200,000 men are diagnosed each year with this thing called prostate cancer. 30,000+ die each year. Many suffer from everlasting side effects – most of them do it silently, ashamed to tell anyone. This is because they knew not of a better way.
Fortunately for us, we found the better way: Proton Beam Therapy. Most of us found out all this from someone else who had been here. What if he had not spread the word to you? Would you have found out? Or would you now possibly be wearing diapers and/or taking Viagra? Or, even worse, would you have been the one in two hundred that died on the operating table?
A man with cancer returns to religion with fervor. He knows that G-d will help him get better. Early in his sickness, a surgeon proposes radical surgery.
"No", he says, "I don't want to get mutilated and suffer pain. It's not necessary, G-d will help me."
A while later, he sees a radiologist who proposes radiation to treat the tumor, which by now is uncomfortably large. "No", he says, "I don't want radiation burns inside and out. It's not necessary. G-d will help me."
A year later, the cancer has metastasized. It's painful and he is referred to an oncologist. Chemotherapy is advised. "No", he says, "I don't want to be sick all the time and lose my hair as well. It's not necessary. G-d will help me."
Soon after, he dies. He goes to Heaven and demands an audience with G-d. "Why didn't you help me?" he whines.
"What do you mean? I sent you help three times: a surgeon, a radiologist and an oncologist. What more did you want?"
G-d sent us to Loma Linda and thank G-d we were listening. Choose to make a difference. Turn this challenge into a positive life transforming experience. Become a ray of hope for those about to hear "You've got prostate cancer."
Go out there and touch someone. Spread the word. Spread the word about early detection. Spread the word about protons and especially about Loma Linda and its Proton Center. Send them to www.protonbob.com and tell them to call 1-800-PROTONS. G-d bless us all."
Email Allan at email@example.com or call him at 410-363-0080.
Update January 2009
My last treatment was 9/11/06 at age 58. My last PSA two months ago was 1.1. I am feeling fine with no side effects. I exercise and work on my public speaking coaching and training business (www.nosweatspeaking.com). Recently interviewed on a local cable show on prostate cancer and proton beam therapy by fellow BOB member Andy Kulanko who hosts the show, we are looking for a way to make the video of the interview available to BOB members, newly diagnosed men, and the general public. Also, I am excited about talking to anyone who needs more info on my experience with proton beam therapy. Call me at 410-363-0080 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Update December 2011
Allan's PSA is 1.1. About 3-4 years ago (2008 or 2009), Andy Kulanko interviewed Allan Kaufman as he describes his personal experience in being diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer with proton therapy. Allan discusses in detail his research into the treatments available and how he ended up discovering proton beam therapy as his best treatment for a cure with minimum chances of the two major side effects: incontinence and impotence. The interview is displayed in three parts on YouTube (due to youtube restrictions) - each one is about 10 minutes in length.
My last PSA as of Nov, 2014 was 1.4. It has been 9 years and I am still feeling fine with no side effects from my treatment. Now at age 67, I get my PSA checked yearly. I am a public speaking coach and trainer and for the last 3 years have been teaching public speaking part-time to 11th grade boys at a local private high school.
If you want my take on proton therapy and also a bunch of informational emails on the subject, just call me (410-310-0022) or send me an email: email@example.com.
Update June 2020
I am doing fine now at age 72 - 14 years after proton treatment. If anyone wants to contact me, I'm happy to share my story. My contact information is above.