My proton therapy treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic

After retiring from a 35-year career teaching and coaching at my dream job, I’d planned to spend time with my wife, Joanna, and enjoy my favorite activities — hunting, fishing and training my three Labrador Retrievers. Two months later, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My prostate cancer diagnosis After my brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011, I started getting annual prostate cancer screenings. For years, my prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level was at a borderline level of 3.9, with no physical abnormalities. But in July 2019, my PSA level jumped to 4.9.  Since a PSA level of 4.0 or higher is a possible sign of prostate cancer, I had a prostate biopsy in October 2019. The pathology initially showed a Gleason 6 cancer. At that point, my urologist suggested I seek prostate cancer treatment.  My path to the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center I researched prostate cancer treatment options and reviewed the potential side effects for each one. I was interested in proton therapy because it often has fewer side effects. Shortly after that, I met a cancer survivor in my hunting club who’d undergone proton therapy at MD Anderson. After hearing about his experience, I contacted MD Anderson and was scheduled for a consultation with Dr. Seungtaek Choi. As soon as I walked into the Proton Therapy Center, everyone made me feel at home. Dr. Choi was incredible, too. He was very thorough, but he explained things in terms I could understand. MD Anderson’s pathologists reviewed my biopsy again and found that it showed a Gleason 7 cancer. That meant the prostate cancer was more aggressive...