Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Okay, Proton Beam Therapy. Where and When?

Proton beam facilities in the U. S. are not that common. The closest to Tallahassee is the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute, in Jacksonville, mentioned in my October 28 post. That would mean staying in Jacksonville during the week (1 mile from the treatment center), and driving home each weekend (167 miles each way, mostly on free-flowing I-10). Pro: easy getting there each day. Cons: paying rent for 8 weeks, and a long drive home on weekends.

Another possibility is the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, in Baltimore. That’s 57 miles from my older daughter and her husband in Reston, Virginia. I could drive from there to Baltimore and back each day for treatment. Pros: good times with my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, and no rent. Cons: That 57-mile drive takes an hour at best, and with common traffic can be twice that. That’s important, because during the treatment weeks it’s possible to have fatigue issues and got-to-find-a-restroom-now issues, and both can be troublesome on a long drive on a crowded highway. Also, I’d be away from home for a longer stretch, with at most one or two flights back to Tallahassee (eating up some of the rent savings).

And the winner is: Jacksonville.

When? UF Health probably won’t have an opening to start treatment until January. That’s not bad, since my doctors say the need for treatment isn’t urgent. Also, it means treatment won’t conflict with our annual week at the beach around Christmas. And, I’ll be able to take care of some preliminaries. I’ll get a colonoscopy soon, as it’s been nine years—UF Health wants to know if I have developed any other problems near the prostate during that time. I’ll also fill out and send a bunch of forms in to UF Health, and schedule and carry out an initial consultation with the doctors in Jacksonville. I’ll also make sure my insurance is in order…that’s a post in itself.

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