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Video: Bruce Cooper - Prostate Cancer SurvivorProstate Cancer Survivor
Cancer Stage II Prostate Cancer
Completed Treatment 2011
CTCA Hospital Treated at
Care Team Included
Treatments at CTCA
- Bicycles 500 miles across Kansas each year
- Celebrating more anniversaries with his wife Sarah
- Enjoying time with his family
"My ability to stay active was a huge concern for me during the treatments, as I wanted to maintain my normal lifestyle of being as active and as healthy as I could be. CTCA has an on-site fitness center with trainers, which was a huge plus. I was even able to participate in our yearly ‘Bike across Kansas’ trip..."
Bruce Cooper, Kansas
When my doctor first recommended I have a biopsy of my prostate, I worried about whether or not I’d be able to maintain the active lifestyle my wife Sarah and I had grown to enjoy. We were on our way to the gym the moment they called my cell phone with the diagnosis.
The nurse said, “Bruce, we found cancer.”
After I received the call confirming my diagnosis, Sarah and I went about our day as usual. I didn’t feel sick at all, so it didn’t hit me that I had cancer. We showed up at the gym and told our trainer that we might be a little shaken, as I was just diagnosed with prostate cancer.
When I was ready to choose a place for treatment, we knew right away that Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) was the right choice for us. When Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years earlier, she was treated at CTCA. We really like everything they offered her and we appreciated the integrative treatment approach, with therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition and counseling. We always knew that if anyone in our family ever got cancer, or if she had a recurrence, we would go back to CTCA.
When we got home from the gym, my wife went online to contact CTCA. Her hearing isn’t great, but she knew we could chat with someone right away on their website. She communicated easily with them via the web, sent over my medical records and in no time they called me to schedule an appointment.
The CTCA experience
The CTCA hospital in Tulsa looked like a nice hotel, and as soon as we walked in we were greeted at the door. The valet service took care of our car, and the concierge helped make sure we were set up to meet with my treatment team as quickly as possible. We felt as though we were taken under their wing and shepherded through the whole process, which is exactly what we needed.
I met with my treatment team right away and they all came to me in the same room. Chemotherapy wasn’t an option for my prostate cancer, so I was put in the hands of Dr. James Flynn, the head of radiation oncology. He’s a great guy, very upbeat, very matter-of-fact, just all- around kind and compassionate. He teamed up with Dr. Theodore W. Pollock, my medical oncologist, and they presented me with a treatment plan and gave me a few options.
My treatment began with four months of hormone shots and radiation therapy, and then I started brachytherapy . During my treatment, I also met with a nutritionist to make sure I was eating right and getting enough protein, especially for my muscle and bone loss. I then met with a naturopathic clinician who helped me with supplements to counteract my side effects like fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain and hot flashes.
My ability to stay active was a huge concern for me during the treatments, as I wanted to maintain my normal lifestyle of being as active and as healthy as I could be. CTCA has an on-site fitness center with trainers, which was a huge plus. I was even able to participate in our yearly “Bike across Kansas” trip, which is a 500-mile bike ride across Kansas. I rode almost 300 miles the week before my brachytherapy treatment.
The brachytherapy took 36 hours, and the recovery from that was remarkable; I actually played racquetball four days later! Everyone knew that we liked to go out and do things and they made sure that there were a lot of thing for us to do, like passes to museums and the aquarium. We even celebrated our anniversary while I was in the hospital. One of the nurses had heard we liked Santana and wanted to attend the upcoming concert in Tulsa. On our anniversary we were having dinner at the hospital and one of the servers brought us a cupcake that said “Happy Anniversary.” Along with the cupcake was a map of where we were going and tickets to the concert.
Emotionally I knew that I needed to be a Cancer Treatment Centers of America, not only for my health but for my mental well-being. But it was still hard being away from home and my family, especially during the summer when normally I would be out biking with my wife or playing golf with my kids and friends; it took an emotional toll on me. At one point I showed up in tears, and right away the nurse came to make sure I was okay. They arranged an appointment with the psychologist Dr. David Wakefield, who had actually been Sarah’s psychologist 10 years earlier! Being able to talk with someone there made the whole process easier on me.
What also helped was having Cancer Treatment Centers of America reinforcing and reassuring us constantly that what we were thinking and the challenges that we faced were normal. The doctors and the rest of the staff let us know it was okay to feel overwhelmed and they were there to help us through it. They were always there for us every single step of the way.
Life after cancer
Typically, after completing your treatment at CTCA, they want to see you back in three months. But I was doing so well that Dr. Flynn said I didn’t have to come back for six months! During the time between my treatments, I still continued to see the naturopathic practitioner, and I also kept up with my acupuncture and spoke with my nutritionist.
Every person we interacted with was beyond gracious. Even in our most difficult times, they treated us with respect and care and I felt like I was a part of their family. CTCA made life easier and manageable when my wife and I were put in such a difficult situation. It’s not only how healthcare should be, it’s how the world should operate.