Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Semi-Final Word

As of today the proton treatment is complete.

Nuisance side effects should slowly fade completely.

The speech went reasonably well, though, it would have been better had I not been quite so emotional. Of course I wept, but the audience was patient and seemingly appreciative.

The initial PSA result looks very promising. it dropped from a high of 3.8 to 2.41. We will monitor my PSA very closely, i.e., every three months for the next two years.

From time to time I will provide progress reports so stay tuned if interested in outcome long term.

I wish to thank my family and friends who offered their welcome support throughout my tumultuous journey.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Final Stretch

As of this entry I have three treatments remaining. My intestinal turmoil at this point is minimal. A few minor bladder annoyances have arisen, but no major problems exist and none are expected. The minor annoyances, urgency and incomplete voiding from time to time, are said to be "self-limiting."

Each of us prostate patients is expected to make two presentations at our weekly luncheons. My second and final presentation will be delivered next Wednesday following my last treatment. Its content appears below for your consideration.

When I last stood before this group as a newbie I wept. I wept because I was so happy to be here. Today I may become a little misty eyed. This time because I am so happy to be through with my treatment. I am a full fledged graduate as of today, and I will be leaving soon, perhaps, tomorrow. And as all of you can appreciate that is a very good feeling.

I intend to try not to weep today, however, not because its unmanly, but today's presentation is about this institution and the staff who make it what it is. I wish all the people who contributed to my care could be here so that I could tell them personally how grateful I am. Inasmuch as this is not possible I am including this presentation as my next journal entry. It will be available to my family and friends who have followed my treatment, to certain staff member's who are aware of its existence and to all those in cyberspace whoever and wherever they may be.

My list of heroes is limited to those I interacted with most directly, roughly on a consecutive basis as follows:

- To the intake staff who answered all my questions and patiently assisted and guided me in the collection of all of the medical data which resulted in my acceptance by this center. Thank you so much for your caring assistance.

-To my case manager who shepherded me through the program. This key member of my treatment team answered innumerable questions and promptly returned my phone calls of which their were many. She coordinated responses to the blips and hiccups that occurred along the way. It takes a special person to do this job and she certainly qualifies in this respect.

-To my managing physician who developed my treatment plan and oversaw its implementation, who smoothed out the bumps and medical issues as my treatment progressed. In my blog I refer to him as Dr.Gud E.Nuff. In retrospect I wish I had named him Dr.Tu Gud because in many respects, like this institution and its staff, they are seemingly too good to be true.

-To the simulation crew who worked so diligently in preparing me for the real thing. I presented them with a very real challenge, in that, on the day of my work up I experienced the worst case of intestinal turmoil that I had suffered in the previous six or seven months. They responded by redoubling their efforts. I feel indebted to their unwavering patience and commitment to their important task.

-To the gentle conscientious caretaker who inserted my four gold rings. I think the urologist who conducted my biopsy could learn a thing or three from this accomplished practitioner.

-To the Patient Services Director whose enthusiasm for this institution is contagious. I knew I was fortunate to stumble upon proton therapy as a solution to my problem, but I did not realize how lucky I was to end up here in Florida until I took the guided tour. It was so educational, so encouraging and so entertaining that I took the tour twice; the second time I took notes. If ever there was a man who found his calling it is this fine gentleman.

-For the technologists and radiation therapists and the person who hired them. What a beautiful/handsome conscientious and competent crew. Thank you so much for your daily compassionate care.

And finally I want to pay tribute to my wife Marilyn who among other duties serves as my navigator, secretary, business agent and recreation director. As always we were joined at the hip
throughout this ordeal. She accompanied me on all the preliminary meetings and on each treatment trip we made to the center. Most importantly she kept me warm on each of the cold winter nights we spent here in Jacksonville--of which there were many.

Would each of you please join me in applauding the individuals I have cited and all those who have contributed to the great care each of us has received during our stay here.