Prostate cancer survivor: How I found reassurance and expertise during
proton therapy treatment
At my annual physical in 2019, a blood test showed my PSA levels had increased. I was also experiencing symptoms such as frequent need to urinate, erectile dysfunction, and blood in my urine. A biopsy confirmed a prostate cancer diagnosis.
After processing the news, I was ready to plan my attack. I had wonderful support from my fiancée and daughter. They helped me stay positive during my research.
I talked with everyone that I could to receive information on treatment options. I knew that I did not want to just monitor the tumor or have surgery to have my prostate removed.
Deciding on proton therapy for prostate cancer treatment
During my search, I found an article about proton therapy. From that moment on, everything changed. The more I read, the more I understood. The more you know about your cancer, the better equipped you feel to face the road ahead.
When I called my insurance provider about proton therapy, they recommended I reach out to MD Anderson.
Finding expertise and reassurance at MD Anderson
My first point of contact when I called MD Anderson was intake specialist Jermaine Jackson. Jermaine put me at ease and referred me to nurse navigator Frannette Woolridge. Frannette was instrumental in getting me through the insurance approval process.
I was eligible to join a clinical trial, which consisted of 15 proton therapy treatments. I was scheduled to receive double doses of radiation every other day, opposed to daily treatments.
Going through proton therapy
Because I live in El Paso, Texas, I decided to stay in a hotel in Houston for the duration of my treatments. I started treatment on Dec. 15, 2019, and completed it on Jan. 20, 2020. I had minor constipation and some urgency to urinate, but overall, my side effects were minimal.
That allowed me to enjoy the great city of Houston when I wasn’t receiving treatment. After my daily treatments, my fiancée and I explored local parks and museums, fabulous eateries and even attended Houston Rockets basketball games. We were able to spend the holidays in Austin, Texas with family.
I’m convinced that MD Anderson handpicks the best. This includes everyone from their doctors, housekeeping staff, security guards, shuttle drivers and volunteers. The staff explain difficult procedures on a level that patients can understand.
An advocate of proton therapy for prostate cancer
My life back home in El Paso is back to normal – or as normal as it can be in the middle of a pandemic. I returned to work in February. And I continue my daily exercise routine. I also try to include more plant-based foods into my diet. I plan to use my experience to educate others about the importance of routine screenings and the benefits of proton therapy.