Whether pursuing a career change or cancer treatment, Bill is the kind of man who goes for what he wants. After receiving a B.S. in physics, Bill had a career in the Air Force, where he planned and evaluated instructional systems for the military’s intercontinental ballistic missiles program during the Vietnam War. He became a captain, serving as combat crew commander and wing instructor, and discovered that he enjoyed what he called “arranging resources to accomplish the mission.”
“At the time, I didn’t know what that was called, but in business, that’s operations,” noted Bill.
After his military career ended, Bill didn’t settle into the field he had chosen, but instead embarked in a new direction, starting out as a territory sales manager for Michelin Tire and ending up in management and operations for Truckstops of America and Universal Tire. Later, he would go on to teach business at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
“I tended to say, ‘I’m going to do what fits me.’ I tend to rebel at being painted into a corner,” he said.
That mindset helped Bill look closely at all his options when diagnosed with prostate cancer after his PSA levels began an upward climb. His brother-in-law had chosen proton therapy for prostate cancer three years prior, so Bill knew something about the treatment. He also knew that with an active career and family life, including grandchildren who live nearby, he didn’t want to struggle with the side effects that came with other treatment options such as surgery or brachytherapy.
“My brother-in-law was amazed at how little impact there was in terms of side effects and everything else. Several friends elected to do brachytherapy and experienced significant side effects from the treatment. With surgery, a lifetime of incontinence and impotence was no deal,” said Bill. “After putting it all together, it was pretty clear that, for me, proton was the way to go.”
Despite living closer to Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, which had just started proton therapy treatment, Bill chose to travel to Provision CARES Proton Therapy. He liked that Provision had an established history of treating patients with proton therapy, as well as the advanced medical care available here. For example, Bill was able to receive SpaceOAR gel, a one-time hydrogel injection, as an alternative to the balloon, which is typically inserted daily into a prostate patient’s rectum for added protection from radiation.
“The hydrogel was icing on the cake,” he remembers.
And while the time away from his wife and grandchildren in Minnesota was difficult, Bill said he appreciated the supportive patient care he received from Provision, and the patients he met along the way.
“It’s a happy place,” Bill said. “I came down here two weeks after my diagnosis, and I was just blown away by the culture and atmosphere of Provision. That sealed the deal. I felt and continue to feel at home here.”