Treated 2004 • Posted 2004 

This is an article written by Jim’s wife, Donna, for the Battle Lake Review, a local Minnesota newspaper. The article was titled, “The Beauty Of It All, Proton Cancer Therapy."

This is a beautiful story that Jim and I would like to share with all of you people in this gorgeous part of the country. We are very fortunate people whose prayers led us to a decision that will keep us happy for a very long time.

Jim comes from a family with a history of prostate cancer. Last year, after years of having regular PSA checkups, he was told that the count had gone up to a high level too quickly, which prompted three biopsy events, with the last one revealing cancer. He was informed by his doctor that the option would be surgery. We scheduled surgery for August of 2003, but were not entirely convinced that this was the drastic route that should be taken. By accident, from a friend of a friend, Jim found out about Proton Therapy. After doing internet searches, talking to numerous people who had opted for this therapy, and lots of prayers and soul searching, we started the ball rolling, and hence the rest of the story!

Our youngest son, Brett from Fargo, and our oldest son Chad and his new wife Chris, from Eau Claire, WI, came home for Thanksgiving. We celebrated Thanksgiving, two birthdays, Christmas, and our 35th wedding anniversary all in two days. On November 29th, our anniversary, we got into our car to leave our loving family and friends for Loma Linda, California, where we were to spend the next 9 weeks at the University Medical Center Proton Treatment Center. Little did we know that we were leaving all these wonderful people, only to come to a strange, new place with a new family of loving and caring staff and fellow patients and their families. We did not have to seek support, it was there waiting for us! I could go on to explain the complex details of what this treatment entails, but that is something that can be found on the web sites that I am furnishing for you. What we found was moral support, laughter, information, friendships of people from all walks of life, and an answer to our prayers.

I have no intentions of using this story as a marketing ploy; sales pitch, or even as an information package. My intention is to tell each and everyone who reads this story that there are options in this world. The option that God led us to at this treatment center was a beautiful, healing experience; one that will take us through life with more faith than ever; one with a family of new friends; one with hope that more people will find their way to this type of treatment, not only for prostate cancer, but for other types as well; and one for the utmost respect for the doctors and staff at the center.

Jim’s treatment was usually at 8:00 am and we were finished and out for the day at least by 9:00am. The center provided us with information regarding local events we could attend and everything we needed to know about site seeing in the area. The event leaders arranged luncheons and dinners as well as support meetings. We traveled extensively on weekends and spent the holidays in Arizona with Jim’s sister. He has had no side effects whatsoever, so traveling was never a problem. I dare to say that we felt like we were on a two-month vacation that we were sharing with people that we felt we had known all of our lives and will continue to keep in contact with.

The weather in California was truly gorgeous and we also spent time hiking in the hills due to the mild climate. When we told everyone we are from Minnesota, originally from North Dakota, they felt it might be a good idea for us to stay longer merely due to going home to the cold, snowy weather. We live in Battle Lake on Lake Clitherall, and we built a new lake home in 2002. When we arrived back home, came into the house, and looked out our windows onto the beautiful snowy lake, we were truly convinced that there is no place like home, even the cold and snow!

It is inevitable that one and possibly both of our sons will at some time in their later years be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and there is no doubt in our minds that this same treatment will be their option.

We have come out of this not only celebrating birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and anniversaries; we have come out of this celebrating every living day and we thank God for the Loma Linda University Medical Center. “WHAT A BEAUTIFUL, HEALING EXPERIENCE”!

Jim and Donna Miller