A Proton Wife’s Journey

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Rhonda Webster lives just outside Knoxville and this is her story, in her own words:

Fear. That’s how it started. That little nagging fear that something bad is going to happen. My husband’s PSA numbers were increasing with each regular blood test. Not time to be concerned yet, said the doctor, we’ll wait and see. But the numbers kept rising. Next the doctor says it is time for a biopsy. So we get that done. Then comes the call that both of us should come to the appointment to discuss the results.

My educational background is medical technology and laboratory protocols and procedures so I am not easily alarmed until the facts are presented. When I heard the words, “high risk prostate cancer,” the fear became that bone chilling, mind numbing, not breathing, tingling up the arms kind. What do we do now? How soon must something be done? Which is the best treatment? Where do we go from here? How will my husband react to this bad news?

My husband is absolutely not the warm-fuzzy type but if there is a crisis, a disaster or a decision must be made, he is the man you want. After the doctor discussed the treatment options including surgery and radiation, he waited for a reaction. My husband then asked, “What about proton therapy,” to which his urologist replied, “I don’t know much about it therefore I do not recommend it.”  To the doctor’s surprise, my husband said, “Well, I’ve done my research and proton therapy is my treatment choice.” Indeed he had. We are RV’ers and several of our RV friends had already dealt with prostate cancer plus at least two more were currently in proton therapy treatment. The doctor graciously agreed to get the records in order and send them to our treatment facility of choice.

All this happened over two years ago before the Provision Center for Proton Therapy was even a large hole in the ground. Therefore, we had to go out-of-state and be away from our home for two months, adding to my fears the complications of being so far away for so long. My anxiety was relieved within a week of his daily proton therapy because he was having minimal discomfort during the actual treatment which required less than an hour of the day and no side effects were appearing. It was almost embarrassing to admit that we were having a great time while he was being treated for cancer.

The staff was proficient and professional and we were surrounded by men and wives dealing with the same issues and concerns. Life-long friends were being made while having a warm southern vacation away from the cold January/February back in Tennessee.

Soon after we arrived back home we learned about the Provision Center for Proton Therapy coming to Knoxville. We immediately contacted the facility and volunteered to become ambassadors for the program. We now receive a couple of calls a week from gentlemen (sometimes wives) asking all kinds of questions and anxious to hear stories of personal experiences. Being ambassadors has allowed us to meet so many wonderful people, each on their own personal journey with prostate cancer.

My fear is gone.  My husband is cancer free and still no side effects from the treatment.  Thank you, Proton Therapy!

For more information on the Provision Center for Proton Therapy, visit the web site at www.provisionproton.com or call (865) 862-1600