Thursday, November 24, 2016

First Visit to the Proton Therapy Institute

Wednesday morning I checked in at PTI and met with the Financial Counselor. We discussed my insurance issues, and I paid for the day’s consultation.  Next I met with my Nurse Case Manager, who went over the many forms I had already completed, asked some additional questions, provided some more information about proton beam therapy, and gave detailed advice about dietary do’s and don’ts during treatment. Chief among them: de-emphasize antioxidants during treatment, and avoid foods that produce gas (which can make the prostate move around during treatment).

Finally, I met with my doctor. He’ll continue to be my doctor at PTI during and after treatment. He first reviewed my situation with me, and told me I fell into the “intermediate risk” category (because the Gleason score from the recent biopsy was 7) and into the “unfavorable” subcategory. It’s unfavorable because that Gleason score was 4 + 3, not 3 + 4… that is, there was one core out of the twenty that had more cancerous tissue (level 4) than suspicious tissue (level 3). After a detailed review of various issues, and the most thorough DRE (digital rectal exam) I've ever had, he concluded that the cancer does not seem to have spread outside the prostate. Therefore, I’m a good candidate for the proton beam therapy and can expect a good outcome.

No tour of the facilities today. The regular 4:00 tour was cancelled on account of people having other things to do the day before Thanksgiving.  They did have the regular Wednesday lunch, buffet style, for all patients and caregivers. I got there late, having spent a lot of time with my doctor, but still enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. It was quite a diverse group, including children getting proton therapy for small cancers that are difficult to treat in any other way. I was the only American at my table; the others were from Canada and England.

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