How I Changed My Prostate Cancer Fate
Like Father, Like Son: A Nightmare Realized
Still, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t shake the fear that ultimately I would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Then, in November 2011, my worst fear was realized.
During a routine appointment, my doctor informed me that my PSA numbers had jumped from four to seven. Because of this sudden increase, my doctor referred me to an urologist, who uncovered not one, but two, cancerous tumors in my prostate.
I discussed the treatment options with my urologist. Surgery and radiation therapy – while viable therapies – didn’t interest me. In addition to my father, I’ve had several friends battle prostate cancer and heard about the serious side effects – from incontinence to erectile dysfunction – that they’ve experienced during and after treatment. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with these types of debilitating conditions, so I asked my doctor if I could live with prostate cancer for two years. He said yes. When I asked whether I could live with the cancer for five years, he said it wasn’t likely possible.
As difficult as it was, I decided I was happy with two years. Two more years to enjoy time with my wife, my son, and my granddaughter.
Nearly two years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, my urologist told me that he had another treatment option for me to consider. This new treatment, my doctor explained, was a robot called the CyberKnife System, which would zap my tumors with intense, targeted beams of radiation.
After thorough research, my wife and I decided it was a treatment worth pursuing. Soon after, I made arrangements to travel 130 miles from my home in Pasco, Wash., to Spokane, where the treatment was available.
My Robot, Tina Turner, and Me
My wife and I opted to stay in Spokane for the five days of treatment in December 2013. We made the best of it, getting a hotel and hoping I would feel well enough to enjoy the change of surroundings.
Over five consecutive days, I received treatment at the Spokane CyberKnife &RadiationOncologyCenter.Myradiationoncologistandtheteamhelpedshakeoffmyfearsandstress.TheyevenletmelistentomyTinaTurnerCDduringmytreatment.WhenIwasn’tattheclinic,mywifeandItriedtofocusonlivingourlives.WespentourtimeinSpokaneplanningavacationwehadalwaysdreamedof–goingonasafarithroughAfrica.
WhileIwasgladthatmycancerbattlewasbehindme,IwasnotpreparedforthereliefthatwouldoverwhelmmeoncemytreatmentwascompletedandIsawthesuccessfulresults.Sincemydad’sdeathmorethan30yearsbefore,IfrettedandstressedthatImightsuccumbtoprostatecancerlikehedid.Buttoday,prostatecancerisnolongeraconstantworryforme; instead, it’s a battle that I feel I waged and won.
Ron Reimannis a farmer living in Pasco, Wash., with his wife of nearly 50 years.
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