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Jeff Brown

Prostate cancer

This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.

View CTCA treatment results for prostate cancer

Overview

My story

A whole person

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August 2010. My PSA level had been climbing; over the course of one year, it had doubled from 3.4 to 7.8, which was a red flag. In light of my family history of prostate cancer, I knew such a diagnosis was entirely possible, if not likely. Looking back now, I can see other symptoms, such as frequent urination at night, were ongoing, but at the time I didn’t realize they were connected to prostate cancer.

The first specialist I saw was a urologist here in Nashville, Tennessee. I felt like he treated me as a disease, and not as a whole person. A few weeks later, at another local clinic, another urologist did the needle biopsy that confirmed my prostate cancer diagnosis. He performed a prostatectomy (prostate removal) using the da Vinci robotic surgery system. But even though this surgeon informed me that the cancer had not spread beyond my prostate, my PSA level never became undetectable.

During the next few months, my PSA level continued to rise, from 0.2 to 0.4 to 0.8. I was told that this monthly doubling indicated that cancer was still present. My doctor told me I should undergo radiation treatment. When I asked if he would first try to find where the cancer was in my body, he told me that because the low PSA score indicated just a minimal cancer presence that it would be difficult to locate. I was disheartened that he would not suggest at least trying to look.

I decided to call CTCA, and in late March 2011, I went to the Chicago area hospital for an initial evaluation and returned a week later to begin radiation treatment.

Feeling guided

From the start, my experience with CTCA felt guided, both in terms of the careful attention from the team there and in terms of something greater than ourselves. So many people I met during my treatment there have become good friends, beginning with Carrie, the Oncology Information Specialist who answered the phone when I first called.

I spent eight weeks in suburban Chicago undergoing radiation treatment. I stayed at the Guest Quarters West, which is for outpatients receiving care for a longer period of time. Regular activities were planned for us to get out and socialize if we cared to. Help was always at the other end of the phone line if anything was needed.

As a preacher and pastor, I love speaking with people, and I spent many hours at the hospital and in the dining room talking with the staff and patients at CTCA. I was even invited to speak to Mr. Stephenson and the Board of Directors of the hospital, and during my second month, I spoke with other groups of employees about coping with a cancer diagnosis and my experience with CTCA as a patient.  Being able to engage with others in this way was an important part of my healing experience.

When difficulties arose, the medical care was excellent. Not unexpectedly, the radiation caused some minor irritation, particularly toward the later stage of the treatment. My naturopathic oncology provider was able to recommend some supplements to help.

In September 2012, when my wife, Annette, and I visited the Georgia hospital during the grand opening of the new CTCA facility there in Newnan, my radiation oncologist from CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center, Dr. Eden, was also there. He called to us from across the lobby, having recognized us right away. A moment like that is an indicator of the personalized experience and care that CTCA exemplifies.

The diagnosis of cancer is terrifying, there is no denying it. Even after treatment, a kind of terror can remain about it coming back. But at CTCA, it’s the contrast between treatment and care that makes the difference. In some places, you are treated for cancer. At CTCA, you are cared for as a whole person with "care that never quits." I’m grateful for having been led to CTCA.

The importance of family

My wife has been part of every decision I’ve made about my cancer care along the way. As my caregiver, she has been included as part of my care team by the doctors and nurses at CTCA. They want to make sure that she is fully informed, knowing how important it is to have not only another set of ears but also another heart.

In the wake of my cancer diagnosis, my faith and my family are more important than ever. Annette and I have been married for 42 years, and we have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. One of the best moments in my life since completing treatment was baptizing my oldest grandson, Colby. But even the little moments are more meaningful today than ever before. I am thankful to have a strong partner in marriage, and going through this experience has brought us closer together.

Perhaps the biggest transformation in my life, though, is my outlook on life. I’m better at finding the good in life and remaining optimistic, no matter what. Cancer has had a major effect on my life ... and I’ll never look back.

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