Treated 2005 • Posted 2005
A former proton patient, who is a retired surgeon, recommended proton treatment to Ron, a retired Col. U.S. Air Force.
Ron discovered he had a prostate problem during an annual physical exam in February of 2004. His PSA was 10.0 and his military TriCare insurance referred him to an Air Force flight surgeon at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix, Arizona. The Air Force doctor took a biopsy, which was sent to a civilian laboratory. The civilian lab found it inconclusive, so it was forwarded to the Armed Forces Pathology Laboratory. There it "got lost" for two months. When the AF doctor, a urologist, finally got the results it showed a Gleason of 6 (3+3) and he said the best course of action was surgery. Ron tells of what happened next:
"The flight surgeon said that because of the high PSA, he wanted to schedule surgery as soon as possible. I had heard stories of surgery; most not good. He gave me a few days to think about it, and when I got back to him he said 'I'm going to refer you to a civilian urologist because I'm being deployed to Iraq'. The referral process took another month and then more time passed when I also asked to see a radiologist. Now seven months have passed, my PSA has climbed to 15.5 and I'm getting nervous. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from new friends who had recently moved from Tucson, AZ. While there they socialized with a retired general surgeon named Felix Jacobczenski. They said that Dr. Jacobczenski had had proton radiation for his prostate cancer several years earlier, and he thought so much of the treatment at Loma Linda that he lectured about it to the medical students at the University of Arizona School of Medicine in Tucson. I called Felix, and he invited me to come to Tucson to see him. My wife and I drove down that week, and Dr. Jacobczenski gave me his lecture, complete with visual aids at his dinning room table. At the end of the lecture, Dr. Jacobczenski stood me at attention, put his finger on my chest and said, "you're a big boy and you can do what you want to, but I'm telling you to go to Loma Linda." As a retired colonel, I'm certainly not used to being treated as a cadet, but I saluted smartly, said yes sir and applied to Loma Linda the next day. By then my PSA was 18.5, so I did three month's of hormones before I started proton treatment in February, 2005."
"So, it was almost a year from initial diagnosis to beginning of treatment----way too long. But had it not been for those odd delays popping up, I might have made a different decision and not heard of Loma Linda. So many of my "class" at Loma Linda had similar stories of fortune or Divine intervention. Whatever it is, I feel blessed. My ten-month PSA was 1.1 and I've had minimal side effects from the treatment. I have donated to the Slater Chair after my last PSA test, and will continue to do so with each subsequent test."
Contact information: (480) 945-4015 (home phone - Arizona, Mountain Time Zone)