Treated 2013 • Posted 2017
"... I found the physics behind the proton technology fascinating: The Bragg Peak radiation theory, the cyclotron physics, and the beam steering technology ... Amazing!"
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January 2013. My PSA tests were elevated for two years prior to this, however I was still shocked and in denial when I received that diagnosis.
I asked my urologist what would be the outcome if I did nothing. His answer was a life expectancy of 3-5 years.
My brother underwent surgery for his prostate cancer 10 years prior. I wasn’t too thrilled to go through the same treatment.
My Urologist informed me that because of my age and size he would not recommend surgery. He recommended proton therapy!
I chose proton therapy because it minimizes damage to the surrounding tissues and has little or no short- or long-term side effects. Further, the HUPTI center was just 30 minutes form Williamsburg. I was retired at this time so Medicare picked up the majority of the cost and my former employer, Medicare Plus, picked up the rest.
I had a wonderful experience overall. Some details: I experienced an average time from entering the treatment area to leaving to be about 20 min. More time consuming, but not uncomfortable, was the fitting for the harness that holds you in position on the treatment table and the initial X-ray/MRI mapping of the tumor location to insure exact repeatability during the treatments. The placement of the balloon for every treatment in the rectum to hold the prostate in place and reduce radiation to surrounding tissue was a little uncomfortable, but acceptable.
Also, I should note that I come from a technical background and found the physics behind the proton technology fascinating: The Bragg Peak radiation theory, the cyclotron physics, and the beam steering technology ... Amazing!
My last proton treatment (40 treatments) was on 5 September, 2013. During my treatments in July and August I continued walks in a park (every day), but by mid-August I was having difficulty completing them - I was out of breath every time.
It was determined after many tests than I had a heart artery blockage that was too extensive to be treated using stents to open up the blockage.
NOTE: This had nothing to do with the proton treatment, but everything to do with "too much good living."
I met with a heart surgeon on 26 September, 2013, and had triple coronary artery bypass graft surgery on 2 October, 2013 (CABG x 3).
I consider myself lucky:
- I never had an actual heart attack which means the heart muscle was not damaged.
- I never thought about, nor had any side effects from my proton therapy before or during my recovery from my CABG.
- Today, I feel great. I have NO side effects either from proton therapy or the CABG.
- My PSA is 0.08 (which is effectively zero) and has been at that level for the past 3 years.
I exercise twice a week and walk 2-3 times a week. I also try to keep my weight down (which is an unending battle).