Monday, May 12, 2008

Three Months Later...

I've determined that I'm not very good at this blogging thing. I promised these pictures way back when my treatment was completed, but it took this long to get around to it. Here they are, at long last -- thanks for dropping by to take a look.

Before showing you the pictures, Let me give you an update on my PSA levels. Just prior to the start of proton therapy on December 5, my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) was 4.4. On the last day of treatment my PSA was 3.3, a significant reduction. Three months after the end of treatment, on May 2, I again had blood drawn. My PSA is now at 0.2 and I couldn't be happier. You can find more information about PSA at

Back to the last day of treatment, February 1, 2008...

We gathered with friends after I had an early treatment (my 40th) for a celebratory dinner. From the left, Forrest, Paul, myself, and Paul (Gene didn't get in the picture). In late afternoon we left the party for my last treatment. Anita had determined to make some photos of the process, so she borrowed Linda's camera and brought it into the treatment room.

Yours truly posing with the "Yellow" gantry in which I received my last treatment. Of the three, the Yellow is devoted to prostate treatments, while the others ("Blue" and "Red") handle patients with a variety of conditions treatable by proton therapy. All of my treatments except this last were in the "Blue" gantry.

After I climb onto the bed, the saline solution is introduced and a preliminary alignment is done by laser LEDs using the targets marked on my hips. The bed will then be rotated 180 degrees and for the preliminary x-ray and treatment.

The device on the right is the x-ray machine. Prior to each treatment an x-ray is made and evaluated to be sure that the target (my cancerous prostate) is in the proper position to be zapped. The device on the left delivers the proton beam the the victim -- I mean, the subject -- on the platform. Notice the brass ring in the lower-left of the picture: this is a part of the focusing device used to ensure proper application of the treatment.

As we were leaving, Gary Barlow was interviewing a new radiation technician. We got a picture of them. Gary was very helpful, always doing what he could to make sure our treatment was on time and handled in good order. Gary has become a very good friend.

Kristi was my case worker. Kristi helped us get our records together, scheduled the various tests needed for evaluation, and organized our time at the center. Each week she would gather medical data for my appointment with Dr. Henderson.

After receiving my last treatment, we came back to Paul and Marilyn's house to show off my graduation certificate, and one of the proton beam diffusers that had been used for the two months.