Friday, October 26, 2007

Changes and Times of Change

Having a Blog presupposes having something to say. Obviously to this point I haven't had much to say. Sure, there's been a lot going on in my life but until recently, putting it on the web hasn't been a priority. In fact, I'd all but forgotten that I set this thing up nearly two years ago.

But now, I have found something to say. May not be useful or even of interest to most folks, but I've decided this would be a good place to keep a diary of forthcoming events. So, here goes.

On September 19, 2007, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The diagnosis wasn't completely unexpected, since I'd been dealing with an enlarged prostate for some time. However, a biopsy in 2002 came back negative, and my family history (my father had his prostate removed, but it wasn't cancerous, only enlarged) gave me reason to hope.

Anyway, the diagnosis led to my urologist explaining some of the various courses of treatment available to treat the disease. Radical prostatectomy, robot-assisted prostatectomy, lapriscopy, radioactive seed implants, cryogenic treatment, radiation -- all were viable options, alone or in combination. Rather than suggest one over another, he suggested we do research and let him know what we wanted to do. He would do the seed implant or cryogenic options himself if I should choose either, and if I chose another course of treatment he would refer me elsewhere. We came away with lots of options, no recommendations, and concerns about the viability of each possibility.

Over the next week, we scoured the internet for information about each option. In doing so, none seemed more promising than any other. All held the possibility of potential complications and side effects, all would involve either a long period of treatment or a long period of recovery. None was more appealing than the others.

Somewhere along the line Anita came across a course of treatment called Proton Therapy. It's done at Loma Linda University in California, University of Florida in Jacksonville, M.D. Anderson in Houston, at Mass. General Hospital in Boston, and at Indiana University in Bloomington. We sent off for a packet of information; it arrived the next day and I spent the afternoon reading a book they included, written by Robert J. Marckini, titled You Can Beat Prostate Cancer And You Don't Need Surgery to Do It. What an eye-opener! And my urologist hadn't even mentioned that Proton Therapy was a viable alternative.

Long story short, we got back in touch with the folks in Jacksonville, got my medical records and biopsy slides and sent them down for examination, and had blood drawn for another PSA test. After church on October 14, we headed south for a consultation with Dr. Randall Henderson at the UF Proton Therapy Institute. In between and since, we've been dealing with insurance people and looking forward to when we can return to Jacksonville for the required three days of preparation prior to beginning treatment. There's no doubt in our minds, no question that this is the right course of treatment for me.