Treated 2007 • Posted 2010 • Updated 2013 & 2015
"Prostate cancer is in my rear view mirror as my wife and I head out on another 'skiing safari' and other adventures this year and for many years to come."
In June of 2006 at the age of 52, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My father also had prostate cancer, but he was diagnosed at the age of 65. I thought I was ahead of the game getting my first PSA at 52, but I was wrong. My PSA was 14.8 with a Gleason score of 7 (3+4).
A month later, my PSA reached 15.8. It was time to do something. My father had many complications from his surgery so that was of no interest to me. Another friend had gone to Loma Linda University Medical Center for proton treatment the year before and with his guidance I was fortunate enough to be accepted for treatment. I went on hormones immediately for six months and started treatment in November. Since there was a concern of the stage of my disease, I had both proton and photon radiation at LLUCC.
I had my last of 44 proton radiation treatments on Friday, January 19th, 2007. With mixed feelings, my wife, Chelle, and I were leaving that nurturing and caring environment that we had enjoyed so thoroughly over the last 2 1/2 months. At 52 we had decided to take a "time out" in our busy lives to allow me to get well with a level of attention at LLUCC that is second to none. It was one of the best decisions we had ever made and leaving was difficult. Between Wednesday Night Meetings, Thursday night dinners, pot lucks, working out at the Drayson Center, exploring Southern California and the occasional proton/photon radiation treatment, we had a ball.
Chelle and I loaded up our SUV on that Friday morning and hit the road on what we termed our "skiing safari" heading home to Kirkland Washington. Our first stop was exploring Mammoth for two days of downhill skiing. We had never skied there and really enjoyed the mountain. After that we went to Kirkwood for another two days at a lodge on the mountain. Then, we went to Lake Tahoe to ski at Heavenly and Northstar with friends who flew down to meet us in Truckee. Another day's drive put us at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon for two more days of ripping up the slopes in perfect weather. As you can see, every day was a "bluebird day"—it doesn't get much better!
Of the 11 days it took to drive home, we skied 9 of them. We were in line every day at the lifts as they opened and skied until they closed. Not bad after 44 days of radiation and 6 months of hormone therapy! I was kicking and screaming all the way home wanting just one more day on the slopes. We did ski 23 days last season and I have the wonderful people and special treatment at Loma Linda to thank—especially Dr. Slater—since he started it all.
My last PSA was taken in July 2010. It was .20. I couldn't be more pleased. I changed my diet significantly (no red meat—more fruits and vegetables and some days, completely vegetarian) and I work out religiously. I just had a complete physical and the results were great.
I owe a debt of gratitude to LLUCC…
Prostate cancer is in my rear view mirror as my wife and I head out on another "skiing safari" and other adventures this year and for many years to come.
I will not forget...
Update: November 2013
There is not much to add here. The good news was in 2011 when I was 5 years out after treatment my urologist told me he only wanted to see me once a year instead of twice. Unlike many urologists, he was supportive of my decision to go to LLUCC and has been impressed with the outcome to date.
Update: June 2015
It is hard to believe it has been 9 years since my treatment at Loma Linda. Having been diagnosed with an "intermediate" stage of prostate cancer in 2006 (15 PSA, Gleason 7, a strong possibility that the cancer had spread to the margins), I feel very fortunate to have my cancer in remission and I have Loma Linda to thank. Last month I had my lowest PSA since diagnosis of 0.16; all my urologist could say was to keep on doing whatever I am doing because it seems to be working very well. No real mystery here, I stay committed to my diet, exercise and try and give back to the PCa community any way I can.