My story starts like most. I am 60 years old and in good physical condition. I hike, bike, ski and work out several times a week. At a yearly physical with my family doctor the blood work revealed that my PSA was rising. After a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) he said all seemed in order but thought I should see a urologist to be sure.
After several months waiting to see the urologist he did another DRE and could not find anything either. He asked if I would like a biopsy and we discussed it and thought we would try another PSA first. Well that came back two tenths higher and he said I should have the biopsy. It was done in March and I got the call at 8:45pm March 23 that it came back positive.
After the initial "Oh S-t, I've got cancer." it was time to start figuring out what to do next. I picked up my lap top within minutes and googled prostate cancer. Somehow Proton Beam came up first and I looked at the site along with others. It was a long night. My wife and I met with the urologist the next day and of course his solution was surgery. We did discuss IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy) and seeds but he did not say anything about proton. When I asked him about proton beam and he really did not know much about it but did say go talk to them if you want.
Luckily I retired a year earlier to enjoy whatever time I have left in good health. This gave me a lot of time to research everything and that is what I did for 6 weeks. I came to the conclusion that proton therapy is the best for me with the early diagnosis and time to go get this treatment. I talked to many men that went through all the different treatments and the proton beam patients all had the same story. They were cured and went through their treatment with very minimal side affects. Sounded good to me.
I went to University of Florida Proton Institute [UFPTI] on May 11 for my formal consult and three day work up. All was what I expected after all the research. Great caring staff too. I start my treatments on June 1 and will update you as I go through this.
If anyone has any questions please mail me.
July 15: I am now on my 32nd treatment of 39 at UFPTI. So far all is going very well.
On about the 8th treatment I had the common side affect of urinary urgency and some slight burning during urination. The doctor told me to try Aleve and all this cleared up. I also have been drinking cranberry juice since that has helped others here. Still going more than before treatment but not any problem. Mainly shortly after the treatment but goes away after a couple of hours. In fact as one man told me prior to coming down "You will be more concerned about your golf game when you leave than your C". I have found that to be the case. It has been a "radiation vacation". Kayak fishing, playing golf and going to the beach in the day and getting treatments in the evening. I feel great and walk two to three miles every morning and evening too.
I will report my PSA in an update at the 3 month post treatment test.
Just had my three month PSA results. 1.0 ! I expected the good results but always good to have the confirmation.
All the side effects of the treatments were gone within weeks of finishing the treatments. Cut the Aleve back to one a day right out of treatment and was off it by the next week. I also keep in contact with several other men that went through with me. They all have reported the same result. One gentleman did have some urinary problems during the treatments but he reports all is back to pre-treatment life.
It was hard to be away from home for two months but it was well worth it. I met lots of good people and did live the "radiation vacation". Life is back to normal and all functions are working well !!
I am now 62 and 18 plus months out of treatments. My PSA constantly declined and seems to have leveled off at 0.10. All the side effects of the treatments are behind me now.
I have had some problems with ED which came about eight months out of treatments. I can not say for sure that it was from the treatment but suspect they had something to do with it. Levitra does take care of this so it is livable.
I have not had any of the other side effects that can come with Proton/radiation therapy and life it good.
I still feel this is the best treatment option for quality of life. In fact I just had one of my best friends finish up Proton treatments. He did very well and was thrilled with having found this treatment. It is good to see that centers are being built at an increasing rate. Hopefully they will find even more uses for Proton Radiation. It is incredible science.
It is now 33 months post treatment. All is well and my quality of life is great. Just recieved my latest blood work. My PSA is still staying low in fact it went down another .08. I am confindent that my Proton treatments have taken care of the cancer and it is not in my thought any more.
I would recommend this procedure to anyone. In fact I have two very good friends that have gone this route after my experiences. One is 12 months out and is doing well. The other is his 6th week of treatment and enjoying his radiation vacation.
If you are on the fence as to which treatment procedure there is a great book I would recommend. It is written by Bob Markini and is titled You Can Beat Prostate Cancer: And You Don't Need Surgery to Do It. It is available through Amazon and is a great read. He evaluates all the procedures with all their pros and cons.
Well really not much new to report....thankfully. I am just about 4 years out now and I really don't think much about my bout with PCa. I am reminded when my six month PSA bloodwork comes around and have been very pleased that it has stayed consistently low [ 0.2]. As far as I am concerned this is just another thing in the rear view mirror. I am thankful that I did find Proton Therapy since I still think it is the best alternative. I stay very active still and have no ill effects from my treatment.
Good luck to all those battling the decision of which treatment to have. Personally from the experiences I have heard from from others the last option in my book would be surgery. That just seems to be the "easy out " option. Do your homework because the results can be life changing.
It has been 5 years since my radiation vacation. My PSA has seemed to level off at 0.2. I continue to have no side effects from my treatment. In fact as far as I am concerned it is all in the rear view mirror now. I feel great and life is good.
I have recommended Proton treatment to three very good friends. They followed through with Proton and have had the same results as myself. Two went to Hampton,Va and the other UFPTI.
Would highly recommend Proton. You can go through treatments with only minimum side effects that are gone within a couple of weeks of treatment. Your quality of life does not change during or post treatment. Which is the biggy for me. Three weeks after treatment I hiked to the top of a 12,500 foot mountain peak in Colorado. See what surgery patients are doing after three weeks !
I am now 6 years post treatment. My PSA has not gone up in fact it has dropped to .02. As far as I am concerned Prostate Cancer is a thing of the past. I will continue to have my PSA monitored on a yearly basis but I have no worries about any return. I am physically active and just returned from an 8 day self guided hiking tour of Ireland. I would and have recommended Proton Therapy to friends. They have all had the same results as I have. It was a radiation vacation. Life is good!!
PSA is staying low. Prostate Cancer is a distant memory now. Staying active and feeling great. In fact climbed a 12,380 foot mountain yesterday🏻.
Greg's e-mail address is: gswan4499 AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")