Walnut

Subscribe to RSS Feed for recent updates
Subscribe to RSS Feed for recent updates

YANA - YOU ARE NOT ALONE NOW

PROSTATE CANCER SUPPORT SITE

 

SURVIVOR STORIES  :  DISCUSSION FORUM  :  WIVES & PARTNERS  :  TELL YOUR STORY  :  UPDATE YOUR STORY  :  DONATIONS  :  TROOP-C

YANA HOME PAGE  :  DON'T PANIC  :  GOOD NEWS!  :  DIAGNOSIS  :  SURVIVING  :  TREATMENT CHOICES  :  RESOURCES  :  ABOUT US  :  MAIL US

 

  SILVER  
This member is a YANA Mentor This is his Country or State Flag

Charles Coryn lives in Tennessee, USA. He was 71 when he was diagnosed in May, 2008. His initial PSA was 10.40 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 7, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was External Beam Radiation (Proton Beam). Here is his story.

There was no shock for me when I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in early 2007, as my father died a miserable death from metastasized prostate cancer in 1972, before PSA tests were available. I had been keeping track of my PSAs regularly since 1995, when it was 1.2, and the slow, upwardly sloped curve seemed ominous from the beginning. I recognized an exponential growth curve from my engineering background. Each year I was checked, and each year the PSA went up evermore so slightly, so I elected watchful waiting. I also began to notice the effects of BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia). My urologist suggested a TURP (Trans Urethral Resection Procedure), but I declined, electing watchful waiting again.

Little changed over the late 1990's and early 2000's, only the inexorable rise in PSA which reached 3.2 in 2005, a memorable year in which I retired and moved to Tennessee. With less stress my BPH seemed under control, so I continued the WW and stopped thinking about my prostate. I even missed getting a PSA test at all in 2006 because I felt so good, and I ignored a jump up to 5.75 in 2007. It was only early in 2008 when my PSA shot up to 10.36, followed by a 8.84 re-check, that I was shocked back to reality. I immediately hit the internet to learn my treatment options, and fortunately found the YANA site. I then spent hours and hours reading over the experiences of those with age and symptoms such as myself. I realized immediately what a tremendous resource these personal reports were. Also about this time I read Dr. Patrick Walsh's book, and I began contemplating surgery, which I had always been told was the 'gold standard'. I talked to a nurse friend's father who had had a very successful surgery, and went to see his doctor. But the terrible gut feelings I was experiencing regarding the possible side effects of surgery continued, and about this time I found Bob Marckini's book about Proton Beam therapy. Reading Bob's book, and the personal accounts of proton radiation he includes, gave me renewed hope that I might spare myself the incontinence and impotence that often occur. I later learned I couldn't have been more correct.

My primary care physician, who I later learned had never heard of proton beam radiation, referred me to a urologist to whom he assured me he would send his father to if he had PCa. This urologist immediately picked up his paper scraps and walked to the door when I expressed interest in proton radiation, saying he had no knowledge of it, and referred me to a radiation oncologist. Fortunately this oncologist was well informed regarding proton therapy, and when he learned of my interest, told me he thought UFPTI (University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute) was an excellent choice.

I called UFPTI and scheduled an appointment. I sent my biopsy and PSA reports down immediately, and was accepted for treatment following my initial one day checkup by the UFPTI doctor. It was determined that my Medicare and my AARP supplement would cover the costs. A few weeks later I again went down to Jacksonville, this time for a 3 day workup for treatment, including MRI's and some gold markers inserted in my prostate. I was now ready for treatment and was scheduled to begin Oct 20th, and to finish on Dec 15th. I felt very relieved.

The UFPTI staff was extremely helpful in finding a place to stay, and scheduled many lunches and dinners in some of the fine local restaurants. I selected a duplex near the Shands hospital for my dog and I, and we settled in for a comfortable two month stay. Treatments generally went like clockwork. First we would drink 15 ozs of water about 20 minutes before to help position the bladder. And then 100 ml of saline solution is injected in the rectum to position it. Finally the table is rotated into position and the beam activated. 60 seconds or so later the beam goes off and that's it. Each treatment took about an hour.

These shots show Charles on his way into the yellow gantry.

The most notable treatment side effects for me involved my BPH, which worsened and made urination difficult, day and night. If severe, they'll prescribe Flomax. A couple of reddish tennis ball sized circles appeared on my hips from the beam, and I did feel somewhat fatigued towards the end of treatments, which is common I was told. But all in all, I felt so good the day my last treatment was finished I got in my van and drove the 550 miles back home to Tennessee.

Please take the time to examine the Proton Beam therapy, as I feel it is the best solution for contained prostate cancer available. Read Bob Marckini's website as well as the Yahoo forum for more personal accounts of this miraculous, space-age treatment. As the proton beam equipment is further developed we can assume that it will be smaller and cheaper, thus more available. It is especially good for small brain tumors in children, and recently they are doing eye treatments.

At present there are 5 Proton Beam facilities around the country, and I see that South Florida has a couple of new facilities due to come online in 2010 and later.

UPDATED

February 2010

It's been a little more than a year now since I finished 39 Proton Radiation treatments at UF Jacksonville. My PSA has since been descending slowly, and is now at 3.44, coming down from a high of 10.8 at the time of treatment.

I have felt wonderful ever since finishing the program last December, with only some minor rectal bleeding in July, at about the 6/7 month mark. I have had no incontinence or impotence problems, and only my previous BPH symptoms are still apparent. I would never had expected being a cancer survivor without ever having felt like I had had a cancer, but that is what has happened.

Although a confirmed atheist, I must admit the proton radiation is probably as close to a miracle as I'll ever experience. I highly recommend proton radiation to each and every one who qualifies for this treatment.

UPDATED

March 2011

How time flies when your PSA is dropping and you're so happy you've got no side effects from Proton Radiation. My latest PSA is 0.84 in February 2011.

I can't tell you how happy I am that I went to the UFProton Therapy Institute. I have no apparent side effects and feel like I never had a cancer.

Thanks for your work at YANA, I have referred many people to you. You are providing a tremendous service, keep up the good work.

UPDATED

May 2011

Greetings I wanted to share with you all my joy over my latest PSA reading, a 0.75. And to do so I'd like to describe the chart I've drawn of my PSA readings going back to 1995, that's 16 years.

I was getting some routine yearly tests done at my work and everything was OK except my PSA had jumped up to 1.2. This was in 1995 and I had just turned 58. My father had died of prostate cancer in 1972. I chose 'watchful waiting'. The first few years were pretty boring, my PSA reading bouncing around somewhat, once hitting 3.4 in 1999, and 4.6 in 2001. I didn't worry as I felt so healthy, and at that time I believe it was a PSA 6 or 7 where the worrying began. Mine went back down to 2.29 in 2003 so I felt justified in dismissing the readings.

Now picture my graph. Starting at PSA of 1.2 in '95, it took 10 years of slow increase before it 'broke out' to the upside, and then only 3 years for it to skyrocket to 10.6. It stayed there briefly until my Proton Radiation in Nov/Dec 2008, and then it plummeted to 4.26 by mid 2009, and it went steadily downward from there, until the 0.75 today. It was the complete destruction of my cancer. That's part of the story.

The other part is no side effects. I repeat NO SIDE EFFECTS. No erection difficulties, no retention difficulties, I feel as if I never had a cancer. And how many men can say that?

All my thanks to UF Proton Radiation at Jacksonville, Florida, and to YANANOW both for continuing to do the hard work.

UPDATED

April 2012

Greetings;

I recently received a letter from the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute, which began as follows......

"April 5, 2011, To Whom It May Concern,

Mr. Charles Coryn has completed his course of proton radiation therapy. He was treated by ....."

Yes, I was delirious with joy to think I may have whipped that rascal Prostate Cancer. And with no side effects from surgery.

How fortunate I was three years ago to have discovered Proton Radiation. I owe a sincere debt of gratitude to Bob Marckini for his book 'You Can Beat Prostate Cancer'. I also owe Dr. Patrick Walsh, "Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer", a thank you for showing me a series of graphic drawings of the procedure known as radical prostatectomy, which depicts how easily nerves could be damaged in the operation.

My family doctor in Wartburg, Tn. had never heard of Proton Therapy. My Urologist took up his paper scraps and reached for the doorknob. Finally I located an Oncologist who was delighted to hear that I was interested in the UFProton Institute, and commented that he wished more of his patients could go there, but it was expensive and 450 miles from Oak Ridge, Tn. He wished me luck and off I went to Jacksonville.

I still can't believe I had a cancer. There was no pain, no fear and I had complete confidence in the procedure once I had done my homework. So far, so good. I have had no side effects other than a small amount of rectal bleeding every 6 months or so, and lately even less. Meanwhile my PSA has fallen to 0.27 in these 3 years. I feel I made the right choice, and was very fortunate to be able to go there for treatment.

My best wishes to you all.....

Charles Coryn

UPDATED

March 2013

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm a cancer survivor, it's been 5 years coming up this fall, and the same old questions come up: How is that possible? I've had no pain, neither before nor after treatment. The treatment itself, Proton Radiation at the University of Florida's Proton Radiation Institute, wasn't painful, or even discomforting. It was the proverbial 'country club vacation', and I enjoyed myself daily walking my dog, and exploring the older parts of Jacksonville while waiting for my next treatment.

I feel I've been one of the very fortunate ones, and catching my PC before it escaped the capsule became the deciding factor, and my watchful waiting paid off. As I mentioned earlier, while I was doing research I read the outcomes of surgery gone awry, of unintended consequences from an ever so small slip of the knife or blink of an eye. What was originally explained as the 'gold standard', was now being displaced by Proton Radiation, a non-invasive solution that likely should become the new standard of excellence.

Those men who are still undecided regarding treatment should read Dr. Patrick Walsh's 'Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer', where as late as 2007 he wrote, "If cancer is confined to the prostate, there is no better way to cure it than radical prostatectomy." To my mind this has now been superseded, and Proton Radiation is the new 'gold standard'. You have only to look at the series of drawings Dr. Walsh has provided in his book, beginning at page 273, that show the operation in step by step fashion, to realize the obstacles the surgeon is up against. As Dr. Walsh says, "If it's possible - and for most men today, diagnosed with curable cancer, it usually is - the surgeon can preserve the neurovascular bundles on either side of the prostate. To do this, the surgeon gently separates each branch of these nerves and vessels from the prostate." Right. Hopefully......

I did not receive comfort when I read the above. It did not reduce my anxiety, nor provide any real relief from my fears. It was at this point I first heard of Proton Radiation. I then talked to a local oncologist in Oak Ridge and he said by all means, if you can afford it, and have the time to do it, Proton Radiation is the way to go. At this point my nerves began to quiet, and I felt a sense of optimism return.

That was in late 2007, and again in the summer of 2008, when my PSA went to 14 and I knew my watchful waiting time had run out. I called the UFPRI and scheduled an appointment.

It's been 4 and a half years now since the treatment, and I feel that every man in a similar situation should investigate Proton Radiation before choosing a treatment plan.

Charles Coryn, 75, east Tn.

UPDATED

May 2013

I've kept a graphical reference of my PSA results since 1995 or so, and I wondered if such a document would be of any value to others. I originally selected 'Watchful Waiting' when my PSA started out at 1.2, then over the years I noticed the upward slope of my PSA was beginning to look like an exponential function, i.e. it was continually increasing at an ever faster rate. And of course, once I completed the Proton Radiation at UF Jacksonville, the value plummeted until now at 0.19, my latest reading.

PSA History

UPDATED

April 2014

Greetings

It's now been 6 years since I completed the Proton Radiation Treatment program at the University of Florida, Shands Hospital in Jacksonville, and as I've mentioned in previous notes I feel as if I never had a cancer. I had a few episodes of blood in my stool, maybe every 6 months or so for a few years, now more like once a year if at all.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, at 76 I still am having erections and orgasms at will, without any medications such as Viagra, which I've noticed has a high rate of fatality associated with it. Also there was no problems with urination or bladder control, other than what I had previously.

PLEASE do your homework and check out Proton Radiation.......

Charley

UPDATED

May 2014

Greetings:

Since completing Proton Radiation Therapy at the UF Shands Hospital in Dec 2008 I have had 13 consecutive drops in my PSA tests, the most recent being 0.09 in April 2014.

Thank you Proton Therapy.

charles coryn,76, lancing, tn.

UPDATED

June 2015

It's been 7 years now since my treatment in 2008, and I couldn't feel better. Except for my latest bout with sciatica that is. I chose the Proton Radiation primarily because I knew it was the best option to escape any chance of damaging the nerves and vessels of the urethra and seminal vessels, i.e., no dribble, and I can get an erection at will. I appreciate that more than about anything at this time of my life. In fact I've never had any trouble since my treatment, and I hope you all have the good fortune that I have had. Best of luck to you all......

charley, 77, east Tenn

UPDATED

September 2015

It's now early Sept and I've finally asked my doctor about FloMax, as urination has become very difficult in the morning, etc., but that's another problem. The doctor asked for an updated PSA, and it came back the lowest yet following my treatment in late 2008, a 0.07ng/ml.

Happy camper here!

Best wishes to all for a very good recovery....

UPDATED

November 2016

I can thank proton radiation for allowing me to celebrate my 79th birthday yesterday. My proton radiation and cancer is already a distant memory, and there has been nothing in the way of side effects recently. My only suggestion to you young men is to get your regular PSA tests and watch for the rising pattern which indicates the possibility of PCa. Then find the nearest proton radiation center and go there.

UPDATED

November 2016

I can thank proton radiation for allowing me to celebrate my 79th birthday yesterday. My proton radiation and cancer is already a distant memory, and there has been nothing in the way of side effects recently. My only suggestion to you young men is to get your regular PSA tests and watch for the rising pattern which indicates the possibility of PCa. Then find the nearest proton radiation center and go there.

Charles's e-mail address is: corynski AT yahoo.com (replace "AT" with "@")


RETURN TO INDEX : RETURN TO HOME PAGE LINKS