In late 2010, after being diagnosed with cancer of the prostate, I began researching my options. With so many treatments available, my first step was to speak with men who had been treated for prostate cancer in various ways. I spoke with men who had received radioactive seeds (brachytherapy), prostate removal, and traditional radiation. Virtually all of these men shared stories of the long-lasting side effects of their treatment choices. I turned to articles, websites, and books still looking for answers. After about two months of extensive study and thought, I made one of the best decisions of my life. Proton therapy.
Making Things Work
Living in Tulsa, and not knowing for sure how I’d feel during treatment, I rented an apartment near the Center and a bookstore, (I really like bookstores) for two-plus months. Although I had been told I would experience few, if any side effects during treatment, I was surprised at how close to normal my life remained. Quickly, I fell into a routine that worked for both my personal and professional life. The weekends were spent with my family and Monday mornings at my office back in Tulsa. I would then travel to the Center for my first treatment of each week at 2 PM. I did client work at the Barnes & Noble café nearby and stayed in touch with my office by email and cellphone. On Fridays, the Center gave me early-morning appointments. Early-morning appointments meant that I could get back to Tulsa for lunch with clients and spend some time in the office. (As to the office, I’m a financial advisor and writer; in 2011, I had three staff employees.) My treatment never slowed me down from my life outside of my diagnosis. Yes, I was displaced in terms of location, but the staff worked with my schedule to ensure my appointment times worked best for my situation.
My PSA readings have been dandy since my treatment (I had a great test result just this week). I have had zero side effects, other than being a bit tired the last week of treatment and the next few weeks after I returned home. I am still a financial advisor and writer, although I merged my investment practice into Capital Asset Management, Inc., an OKC-based firm five years ago. And, at age 80, I still play drums weekly at The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. I’m a lifelong jazz fiend.
I owe my happy life to Oklahoma Proton Center and to proton therapy. The people there are terrific; I have only wonderful things to say about them.
The Reason I Share
Tragically, two younger half-brothers died from prostate cancer since my treatment. I didn’t know either had prostate cancer until long after their diagnoses. Unfortunately, many of us are sensitive about sharing information about cancer until it’s too late. I was recently able to help a younger sister who did share timely information. She said it made a profound difference in her recovery and outlook. This is the reason I share my story and encourage others to share theirs as well.
I’m always hesitant to brag about “beating” cancer but can say with near certainty, proton therapy saved my life. This successful treatment did more than rid me of cancer, it allows me to continue to enjoy the heck out of life and living. Without the burden of long- term side effects, I’m still working in the investment world part-time, playing drums here and there, and am working at finishing my third book.