Praise the Lord! As of last Thursday (October 8th), I am officially done with my Proton Therapy treatment regimen. Yay!!!
Since the beginning of treatment, I have had the privilege of meeting fellow patients from Canada, New York, New Jersey, and Montana, as well as every region of the Pacific Northwest – including Oregon and Idaho. Without exception, they were all some of the kindest and friendliest folks I have ever had the opportunity to meet. I became friends with several individuals and their families, and we plan to stay in contact. One friend, named Pat, is a fellow Christian who lives in Salem, Oregon.
Pat and I would talk and tell jokes to the point that, at times, people around us would say were having too much fun. We were trying to lighten up the atmosphere a bit. On numerous occasions, the Lord allowed Judy and I and Pat opportunities to encourage folks who were having a very difficult time and share God’s love with them. Pat and I became good buddies, going out for lunch and praying for one another.
I can understand why the Seattle Procure Center is ranked #5 in the USA for adult cancer care. Their customer service skills are top-notch. The entire staff was always very kind to both Judy and I, and they even saw to it that I was provided with a daily supply of Tootsie Rolls – my favorite! The Center hosts a graduation party for every graduating class. They laid out a big spread of food for my graduation class and awarded completion certificates and a Challenge coin to every graduate. The Challenge Coins are modeled after the ones the Military provides to soldiers.
During the weeks I was undergoing treatment, I would meet with my physician and assigned nurse once a week to go over my weekly activity. I had the opportunity to express any concerns and ask questions about problems I was experiencing related to the radiation therapy. They were very knowledgeable and quick to help and offer suggestions. I was always treated as if I was a very important person; they made me feel as if I were the only person there.
My radiation therapists were also very knowledgeable, compassionate, and capable individuals. They would ask me about my interests and find subject matter to talk about. Of course I would talk about food, meat smoking, and barbecuing. They asked what my favorite music was, and I would ask to listen to jazz as the proton machine was humming in the background. Often I would dose off and wake myself up with a snort!
The extensive radiation treatments I received targeted the cancer tumors in the prostate, the areas where the cancer had spread outside the prostate, and the lymph nodes in my pelvic area. The radiation kills the cancer, which the doctor and Judy and I believe has been accomplished. Moving forward, I will need to continue the Lupron hormone injections for the next 18 months. The purpose of continuing the hormone injections is to “mop up” any stray cancer cells that might possibly exist. The doctor will continue to monitor my PSA level through blood lab work every 3 months or so. As long as my PSA level stays low (which it is right now), I am golden.
One of the Bible verses that Judy and I believe and confess is Nehemiah 1:9: “God has made an utter end of this (cancer,) and affliction cannot rise up a second time.” I have a lot of peace, and I am ready to move forward with my life. I will be taking some time over these next two months to rest and recover from the radiation therapy. I am thankful that I experienced minimal side effects, although I am finding that I am dealing with quite a bit of fatigue. The doctor says this is normal for this situation and that the fatigue will lessen with time.
Judy and I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you for your faith-filled prayers and support during this process. We have been overwhelmed by the love you have shown us. We’re especially grateful for all the phone calls, e-mails, cards, texts, and gifts. Having this outpouring of support has really encouraged and strengthened both of us. THANK YOU!
We would appreciate your continued prayers as I process through the next months. Thank you again for being there for us. Support is everything!
Blessings and love,
Bob and Judy