Treated 1999 · Posted 2003
“I feel like my guardian angel has been looking after me during the whole procedure.”
On February 9, 1999 I had my annual checkup and was told everything looked good except for my PSA, which was 5.9. My family doctor referred me to a urologist who said my prostate felt fine - no lumps or bumps, but to be on the safe side I should have a biopsy. Bad news. The biopsy showed cancer.
He talked to my wife and me for about an hour regarding my different options for treatment. None of them were Proton beam!
For the next month I had cat scans, and bone scans, and a chest x-ray. All were negative. I also had 2nd, 3rd, 4th, opinions from radiologists and surgeons. They all recommended their specialty and no mention of the Proton beam. Some urologists said my Gleason was 6 and some said it was 7. That made me wonder!
On May 26, 1999 I heard from the American Cancer Society about a prostate cancer support group called “Man to Man.” I went to their meeting and heard from the men about their different treatments. One of the men told about his experience at Loma Linda University Medical Center and the Proton beam! I cornered him after the meeting and got the phone number for Loma Linda.
On May 27, 1999 I called my insurance company to see if I was covered for the Proton beam and was told that I was.
I called Loma Linda and made an appointment to see Dr. Yonemoto on June 6, 1999. After looking at my test results Dr. Yonemoto told me that I was a prime candidate for the Proton beam and gave me an excellent chance for a cure. I told him to put me on their list.
In the meantime my insurance told Loma Linda I wasn’t covered. The hospital called me and asked me what I wanted to do. I told them to go ahead with the treatment and I would fight it out with my insurance company at a later time and I would cover what Medicare didn’t.
On August 19, 1999 I started Proton beam treatment and my first visit to the Drayson Center. The exercise facility is fantastic with air-conditioning and an indoor track. I started walking two miles a day.
Most of my treatment was uneventful, but two of them do stand out. One was when the balloon broke while inserted. Tim said they wouldn’t charge me extra for that. Ha!
The next, was when they had a problem with the beam. Staying in that pod for an hour after drinking two full glasses of water was a challenge. I told them they better fix it soon - otherwise there would be a lake in the pod!!
On October 14, 1999 I had my final treatment. I said goodbye to the technicians and staff. After many hugs they said they would miss me. I think it could be all the Mexican pastries I brought from Palm Springs!
The hospital, doctors, and staff were wonderful. There are not enough words to say how I feel about my time there. My wife and I made many friends - both patients and workers.
On October 19, 1999 I got my first bill from Loma Linda and couldn’t figure it out. I called them and talked to Enid. She said my account was zero! It seems my insurance company paid after all. It pays not to give up and fight them.
January 5, 2003 - It’s been over three years since my treatment. As far as side effects, I’m better today than before I went to Loma Linda.
Every six months I have a follow up exam. My psa’s have been .5, .6, .32, .41, .12, and .19!
My urologist says my prostate feels like that of a 19 year old!
I feel like my guardian angel has been looking after me during the whole procedure.
Don Butler - Yuba City, California