Treated 2002 · Posted 2003
“We had one of the best two-month vacations we've have ever had. That minute and 45 seconds out of each day for treatment was a piece of cake...”
My history prior to going to LLUMC is pretty similar to all the testimonies I’ve read so far. My primary care physician (PCP) was watching my PSA gradually rise for about three years prior to sending me to my urologist. The standard cliche was that this was normal for someone my age (early 70’s), “But let’s keep an eye on it.” The first time he told me my PSA number it was 3.5 and steadily kept climbing until finally in September of 2001 it was 5.2 and he thought it would be a good idea to have a biopsy.
After he did the biopsy my wife and I decided to go to the coast to get away for a few days and await the results.
When we got home, there was a message from my urologist. My wife called him and asked when would be a good time for me to call back to talk to him. He said he didn’t have to talk to me. “Your husband has prostate cancer and he’s not going to die in the next four years.” She about fell off the chair from his candid bedside manner and at the same time wanted to scream for being treated like just another statistic in his log of patients. His only comment was to make an appointment so we could discuss my options.
I knew what my option was going to be before I even met with the doctor.. A former Pastor of mine went to Loma Linda in 1993 and is alive and well. In fact, he just retired from the ministry and is fit as a fiddle. When he told me about the procedure, I said then, that if I was ever diagnosed with prostate cancer that was where I was going.
Of course my doctor gave me the typical 3 options - surgery, radiation, and seeds. I asked him if he had ever referred any patients to LLUMC and he looked at me like I had lost my marbles and then replied “Well, maybe one.”
It was due to the diligence and insistence of my wife that we finally got my records sent to LLUMC. We had a lot of things to set in motion before we left - insurance, living accommodations, making arrangements for mail delivery, and the holidays.
We left the day after Thanksgiving and slipped through two passes before the snow blocked travel for 5 days. I had my consultation with Dr. Les Yonemoto and both my wife and I felt all the weight lifted from our shoulders. We were so at peace and we felt so sure and confident that we had made the right choice.
We then headed to Yuma, AZ to visit some friends for a week before I started treatment (12/9/01).
We were at LLUMC throughout the holidays and the loving care that was extended to each of us guys, away from our families at this special time of the year, was unsurpassed. Dr. Lynn Martell opened his house to anyone who didn’t have a place to spend the holidays and I understand that his parties keep getting bigger every year. What a kind gesture!
We had one of the best two-month vacations we have ever had. That minute and 45 seconds out of each day for treatment was a piece of cake. I too experienced the urgency and frequency but that was so minor considering what the treatment was doing to the cancer.
We did sight seeing, visited friends, visited different churches in the area, golfed, went to a football game with our daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, in Phoenix, AZ (Fiesta Bowl - Oregon/Texas A&M), explored those little towns off the beaten track, and even walked the course with our nephew who was in a golf tournament at Moreno Valley.
When I finished my treatment on 2/7/02 I just knew there had to be something that we had to do before we left the premises. When I met with Dr. Yonemoto a week before I was to finish I said, “There must be something that I have to do before I check out.” He said “No, and I don’t want you to think about cancer anymore. You have done the best thing you could have done by coming here, and now concentrate on other parts of your body.” It’s people like him and all the staff that make you unaware that you are in a hospital setting. Everyone is so positive and upbeat that you never see or hear negative people.
I can’t say enough about the facilities made available to us - The Drayson Center is the epitome of any workout center we have ever seen. It was my outlet for stress. My wife and I made sure we were there 5 days a week and I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I sailed through the treatment with little or no side effects. The computers in the library were a Godsend. We were able to stay in contact with “everyone”, via email.
I have been asked by the ACS to attend the monthly post PC meetings in Eugene, OR. They usually have a featured speaker/urologist and I am appalled that these men are being told there is no other treatment other than the “3” which we all know about. Once the speaker leaves I then talk to them about my treatment. Their eyes light up and they can’t ask enough questions. They can’t thank me enough for telling them about the wonderful experience and satisfaction I had. I leave them with brochures and videos to pass on to their family and friends and inform them that there are the Wednesday night meetings at LL that they can attend for added information.. Believe me, these meetings are no comparison to OUR Wednesday night meetings - happy, versus dismal.
We met some terrific people, and continue to correspond with them as we compare our PSA’s post treatment. We consider ourselves advocates for LLUMC.
We have been going to RV rallies as vendors for our son who is making calap-z-tables (coffee tables) for RV’s. Since June of 2002 we have been to 6 rallies and we have met someone at every rally who has been recently diagnosed with PC. We carry brochures and videos with us. At the most recent one in Indio, CA, as we were packing up to leave, a man next to us told us he was going back home (KS) to have prostate cancer surgery. We said “Don’t, we have something to tell you and give you.” When we finished talking, he said “You’ve changed my mind and thank you for saving my life.” If we can help to save one life at each rally they are definitely worth going to definitely. I know God was instrumental in my being one of the lucky ones chosen to go to Loma Linda and He is leading me to talk on behalf of LLUMC at these rallies.
Virgil Schulenberg - Eugene, Oregon