Treated 2002 · Posted 2003

"No other option has this kind of success with treatment and quality of life."

I returned to Loma Linda on August 27, 2002 not having been back since I completed my 40 Proton treatments in early April. It is about an hour drive from my home in San Clemente, CA. I had my blood drawn for my first PSA since completing treatment at the medical center. I decided to discontinue my urologist and continue to use Dr. Rossi after treatment. After some discussions with recent graduates that were doing their first checkups my wife and I went to Cabazon to do some shopping for our up and coming trip to Greece. Your mind cautiously optimistic, wondering if this treatment worked? There have been lots of success stories but the treatment is not 100%. When it was my turn to see Dr. Rossi, Nurse Sharon ushered me in and I could tell by the smile on her face it was good news. I told her I was only concerned my PSA was moving in the right direction. She said it was and would leave the specifics to Dr. Rossi. As many times as I’ve seen Dr. Rossi I have never seen him happier. He was smiling from ear to ear when he told me my PSA was now 1.6. At that moment the weight I have been carrying for two years slipped away and I believe I floated out of the office to see my wife who could tell by my expression that all was well.

The Beginning My wife had been after me to get a physical, which I hadn’t had for almost twenty years. I had not even heard of the acronym PSA until my Doctor told me it was slightly elevated 4.8 and a urologist should check me. He said he didn’t feel anything after the DRE but he advised not to chance it. I have been lucky with health most of my life and at 58 was not overly worried because I felt good and there was no history in my family of prostate cancer and I was the youngest with four older brothers.

The recommended urologist immediately told me he felt something and I should get a biopsy. I scheduled the biopsy but cancelled it two days later. Didn’t feel right. I immediately set out to find a new urologist and one who came highly recommended. Upon my first visit he did a DRE but felt nothing. I was against a biopsy and he suggested a follow up in 6mos. He said most likely the cancer if it exists is slow growing and I have time.

I immediately starting taking every vitamin known to keep the prostate healthy. Dr.Whittikers formula, Saw Palmetto, Selenium and other vitamins and food known to; help the prostrate. In 6mos my PSA was down to 4.3, but a free PSA test was less the 20% indicating I had a 50% chance of cancer. I still refused the biopsy over strong objections and a written letter from my doctor and scheduled another visit for a year later.

Approximately nine months later I went to see my wife’s doctor who had been a surgeon but due to an automobile accident was now doing natural treatments for PMS and other homeopathic treatments. I was feeling run down and she did some extensive blood work trying to find out why. Well my PSA had jumped to 6.9. She told me to go see my urologist and immediately put me on natural progesterone, (extract from the Mexican yam). Progesterone has had good successes with cancer in woman and had been recommended by some doctors for prostrate cancer. The affects were dramatic, frequent urination virtually disappeared and sleeping all night every night was wonderful, another side benefit of progesterone. Being a surgeon she warned me the doctors would want to operate. She told me to look into Loma Linda, the procedure was noninvasive and there were many success stories with no side affects. Can you imagine a woman doctor recommends proton therapy? If she hadn’t told me I might have never known. Needless to say, after doing progesterone for several months my PSA did not decrease.

The Discovery I scheduled a biopsy and will not forget the sound and pain of that rubber gun. I guess it depends on who does the procedure because several people have told me they felt nothing and other people myself included would rather be put under than go through that again. I was standing in line at a department store when my doctor called my cell phone with the results. Ten samples taken 10% of one sample was positive for cancer. He said to bring my wife in for consultation and recommendations for treatment. That is when the full gravity of the situation hit me. Well you all know the story from here, Gleason score 6, first option surgery, second option seeds, and third option radiation. Cryogenics ruled out not proven yet. Watchful waiting not recommended. No mention of Proton therapy. I asked about Loma Linda and he said that was an option also but dropped it. He recommended Hoag Hospital, UCLA and University of Washington as possible treatment centers. He also stated I am a surgeon and I would recommend that first, but check out other options.

The challenge then began. I ruled out surgery early. Too many problems. I talked to a friend’s friend who had identical statistics as me who opted for surgery. After talking with him I did not want any part of surgery. The quality of life is more important to me than the quantity of it. I gradually worked my way through the remaining options with none of them providing a satisfactory solution for me. I even looked at experimental trials. I was rejected because I was early stage and they wanted later stage cases.

The Treatment At this point I was discouraged and thought of watchful waiting. Three months had already gone by and no decision. I had the information from Loma Linda, read it but was still unconvinced. Thank God my wife wouldn’t let up on me. She said you have to do something, what about Loma Linda! I was being pig headed and finally started to seriously check out Loma Linda. The Internet sites I visited made no mention of Proton treatment as an option. The final moment for me was when I called the references, alumnae of Proton treatment. Wow, what stories no other convincing was necessary.

I can only say to any of you reading this testimonial anxiously trying to make a decision: if you want to play Russian roulette with your life try watchful waiting. You will never know if and when the chamber will turn up loaded and then your choices will be limited and your eventual cure in doubt. I have talked to a number of patients at Loma Linda going through treatment with me who wished they had never heard of watchful waiting, the cancer was out of the box. I was nearly one of them. I waited to get my first checkup after treatment before telling this story. But, I already knew even if the results were not in my favor I would still recommend this treatment. No other option has this kind of success with treatment and quality of life.

Bon Voyage, my wife and I are off to Greece. Today is Labor Day and Thursday we are on our way with no extra baggage to worry about.

John Giangardella