Treated 2000 · Posted 2003
“Now, it has been 3 years since the final treatment. I still feel great and I am thankful for it. My recent check showed my PSA at 0.2. I guess you can't get much better than that.”
My story begins in May 1999 when I had a routine physical. My previous PSA was 6.0, but in May 99, it was 7.6. I had never heard of PSA before this time. I was 70 years old at that time and in good health, active, not over weight and feeling good. When my family doctor wanted to send me to a urologist, I requested them to recheck the PSA. Don't they get a different number every time they take it? But, he insisted, so I went to the urologist he recommended.
The urologist, Dr. Welton, did a DRE and said my prostate was small and pliable with no lumps; seemingly a healthy prostate. But he wanted to do a biopsy which I resisted, again asking for another PSA. But, he was just as adamant that he do a biopsy.
They took 10 cores of which 3 were malignant. They gave me a gleason of 2+3. I guess that is a five. Dr. Welton went over all the alternatives with me for the treatment of the prostate cancer. He said I could do nothing and might have a pretty good life for 10 to 15 years. He mentioned the radiation seeds, surgery to remove the prostate, and Proton Beam at Loma Linda, CA. He said he had sent several patients to Loma Linda and they had good results with it. I wanted a second opinion. I am a Mayo fan having worked there in the early 50's as an x-ray technician. So we went to Mayo's.
Dr. Welton made the appointment for me at Mayo's. The doctors at Mayo's looked at my records and did their DRE and then gave me my options. Do nothing and I might have a reasonably good life for 15 years, the option of seeding the prostate and surgery to remove the prostate. They did not mention Proton Beam Therapy. They really encouraged me to have the surgery and "get it over with". You take it out and in two or three days, you are out of here and it is done. I asked about Proton Beam Therapy and they really didn't want to talk about it. Their confidence was in the knife and that was the best and surest way to go. I DID NOT like their attitude or advice. My bubble had burst.
I went back to Dr. Welton and told him what they said and again he encouraged me to go to Loma Linda. He said, "I am a surgeon, but I would not operate on you at your age even if you were my father". I was convinced.
In June 1999 I received the first Luprin shot (hormone) and received the second shot in September. My PSA went from 7.6 to 0.2. We headed for Loma Linda pulling our travel trailer in December 99. I had my first appointment for the first part of January 2000.
At this appointment, I had a consultation with a very thorough explanation of what they would do, how long it would take and what possible side effects I might have. They created the pod for me to stabilize me for the treatment and the nozzles to shape and size the beam for the prostate area. They took an x-ray for positioning purposes for the coming treatments.
We found a very nice RV Park about 2 miles from the clinic where we even had telephone so we could keep in touch and have our e-mail too. I began treatments on January 12, 2000. Every Thursday you have a consultation with your Dr. in case you would have any problems. I couldn't tell that they were doing anything.......I never felt a thing. At one point I started getting up too many times during the night and when I mentioned that to my Dr., he gave me some Flomax and that was the end of that problem.
It really was a vacation for us. Almost every day we went some place different. There are so many options out there. After the treat each day we would go to Palm Springs (45 miles) or Joshua Tree National Park (50 miles) or to the Queen Mary, or San Clemente or San Bernadino or Riverside or dozens of other places. If you like seafood, check out the Market Broiler in Riverside. It is awesome. We went to the Port of Los Angeles where they were loading and unloading ships with their sea containers. We went up in the mountains. Las Vegas isn't very far but we never got around to that. The weekends are free so you have time to go where you wish. San Diego and Mexico arent' very far.
Every Wednesday evening was the Support Group Meeting and we never wanted to miss one of those. They are wonderful and really put you at ease. It is a good place to get questions answered if you have any.
The time went by too fast. We enjoyed the Drayson Center Athletic Club too which is a freebie to patients of Loma Linda. I never felt ill for a moment. My family wrote to us hoping we were feeling well and I told them to keep feeling sorry for me and to send cash if they felt so moved.
Now, it has been 3 years since the final treatment. I still feel great and I am thankful for it. My recent check showed my PSA at 0.2. I guess you can't get much better than that.
We have the highest praise for the people in Loma Linda; the doctors, nurses, technicians and all the staff are just super people. We heartily recommend it to anyone needing it.
Dan M. Eicher (3/00)