Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Additional Research Results

As my research progressed it became increasingly apparent that of the two alternatives offered by my primary care physician, clearly, I made the wrong choice. The more prudent course of action would have been an immediate referral to a urologist. In retrospect the prospect of a biopsy probably influenced my initial decision.

In any event I learned a rapidly rising PSA is highly indicative of prostate cancer. Exploring the source of my sciatic pain necessitated additional blood work. By September 4, 2008 my PSA had risen to 3.74. By October l,2008 it had risen to 3.97. A distinct pattern had emerged. My PSA was rising at the rate of .20 every four weeks. Combined with the doubling that occurred during the prior three year period, I concluded these elevations met the criterion of a rapidly rising PSA. I expressed my concern to my primary care physician. He agreed. An appointment with a urologist followed shortly thereafter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Preliminary Research Results

Researching prostate cancer and determining what can be done about it turned out to be an intimidating exercise. My effort included reading five or six books, viewing two tapes (on hormonal therapy), attending two medical seminars, surfing the Internet and interviewing several of my friends who survived their prostate cancer ordeals. I quit researching when the material tended toward redundancy. As for treatment options it seems fair to conclude there is no perfect solution. It also seems fair to say that one person's preferred choice may be wholly unsuited or unacceptable to the next individual.

In addition to doing nothing, known in the literature as watch and wait, localized prostate cancer can be treated in a variety of ways. The prostate can be frozen or it can be baked, i.e., by radioactive seed implantation or external beam radiation. The prostate can be removed either by scalpel or robotic scissors through the stomach wall or through a lateral incision in the perineum, i.e.,that narrow patch of skin nestled between the scrotum and anus. Yet another treatment choice is castration which can be accomplished surgically or chemically. None of these modalities offer a sure cure ,particularly the latter ,which is palliative in character. All treatments cause collateral damage ranging in severity from minor abnormalities to stone cold demise.

I urge anyone confronted with this disease to read Bob Marckini's book, "You Can Beat Prostate Cancer" Mr. Marckini touts proton therapy as the treatment of choice, and if you read his book you will understand why. Mr. Marckini successfully underwent proton therapy after conducting extensive research on the subject. Mr. Marckini has evolved as an eloquent spokesperson for and advocate of proton therapy. It is his book that introduced me to the proton therapy concept. It is his book more than anything else that convinced me proton therapy offered the best chance for a favorable outcome with the least likelihood for adverse side effects. Armed with Mr. Marckini's information and perspective I continued my journey.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Initial Indications:

My mental and emotional journey began in July of 2008. I had not seen my primary care doctor for three years. I discontinued my annual physicals because it seemed like a waste of every one's time to be found "perfectly healthy" year after year. Due to a severe case of sciatica, however, I scheduled an appointment to determine the cause of my pain and what could be done about it.

In addition to his findings regarding my back my doctor discovered that my PSA had doubled since I had seen him last. On April 4, 2005 my PSA was 1.39. By Aug.29, 2008 it had risen to 3.49. My doctor offered two alternatives. He could refer me to a urologist immediately for consultation, or we could retest in two months and determine an appropriate course of action. My impression based on our discussion was that I need not be overly concerned. After all my PSA was still within normal limits. I chose to wait; however, I began my research.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Proton Don's Tumultuous Journey


This journal chronicles one man's experience with prostate cancer. It's objectives are threefold. It's primary purpose is to provide useful information to others like me or for those who may follow in my footsteps. I wish also to provide current information to my family and friends who have expressed an interest in being kept up-to-date. And thirdly for those few cyberspace surfers who stumble upon this site, I welcome you aboard. I hope you find the subject matter educational and/or entertaining.

The journey thus far has entailed numerous twists and turns with a great many surprises none of which have been any too pleasant. What the future holds only time will tell. The plan is as follows. While cooling my heels here in Jacksonville Florida, waiting for treatment to begin, I will trace my tumultuous journey through brief statements to be issued once or twice a week.When my treatment begins reports will be issued as the situation develops.