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Cancer Stage IIB Prostate Cancer
Completed Treatment 2011
CTCA Hospital Treated at
Care Team Included
Treatments at CTCA
"The main goal for me once I completed treatment was to get back to work and enjoying life. Working at my restaurants, getting back to what I did before the cancer, meant everything. It’s my thing to be with my customers and serving the community, and I’m so happy to be doing exactly that."
Jimmy Goodwin, Ruidoso, NM
In November 2010, I went to see a doctor after months of experiencing a health problem. I had quite a bit of testing done, including a test for PSA. My PSA level at that time was 14.0. I was immediately sent to have a biopsy and that’s when I received my second cancer diagnosis. I had stage IIB prostate cancer.
I wanted to look into treatment options other than what my doctor had recommended. In particular, I did not want to have surgery. I thought if I could do anything to take care of the cancer without surgery, that's what I wanted to do.
I knew a number of people from our village that had gone to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) and liked it. I had also seen some ads for CTCA on TV and in a magazine. I thought it was worth looking into. Also, because we live in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a rural resort community that’s 7,000 feet up in the mountains, we’re a good three-hour drive from the nearest big city, Albuquerque. I had already been driving many miles and hours back and forth between Ruidoso and Albuquerque for radiation treatment for lymphoma, so no matter what, I would have to travel some distance for treatment. In my mind, traveling further didn’t matter. What was most important was getting the best treatment for myself.
My wife Janet looked at the CTCA website for information and chatted with John, an Oncology Information Specialist. The next day, I had a 20-minute phone conversation with John, who answered my questions about CTCA and provided additional information. I gave him my insurance information so CTCA could check to see if my carrier would help cover the cost of my treatment at CTCA. I didn't have to do a bunch of research. I didn't have to dig through files and make phone calls to see what my deductible was or anything. CTCA took the ball and ran with it.
Within a couple of days, John called to let me know my insurance qualified and I could go to CTCA for evaluation and treatment. They set up my travel arrangements and about 10 days later, Janet and I were on our way to the CTCA hospital outside of Chicago by the first of May.
Getting treatment options at CTCA
When I arrived at CTCA, I quickly registered as a patient. I was given a printout of my schedule for the week, which included several appointments with doctors and other care providers who were onsite at the hospital. In five days, I would have every medical test I needed and a treatment plan from my care team. By this time, my PSA was up to 19.
I met with my medical oncologist, Dr. Thompson, who walked me through my treatment options. I then met with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Patel. They recommended hormone therapy (Lupron shots) and radiation treatment (Calypso® with Image Guided Radiation Treatment). I made my decision right then. I was confident my CTCA doctors could take care of the prostate cancer without surgery.
Dr. Patel explained to me how Calypso worked and I was amazed. I started treatment that month. I received radiation treatment five days a week for three months. In total, I had 40 radiation treatments. I also had hormone therapy for six months.
Toward the end of my radiation treatment, I did have some side effects, primarily diarrhea and trouble urinating. I took medication for the urination problem. My doctors did everything they could to alleviate the side effects. My naturopathic provider also offered suggestions for supplements to help lessen the side effects. Once I completed the radiation treatment, the side effects gradually went away.
My entire care team was terrific. My doctors spent a lot of time getting to know me. They asked about my feelings and what experiences I had as I was going through treatment. When they came up with a treatment plan, they asked me, "Does this sound comfortable to you? Is this what you want to do?" And if it wasn’t exactly what I’d wanted to do, they would tweak the plan. They made the treatment plan fit me.
As part of my treatment at CTCA, I also received Reiki therapy, acupuncture and massages. Both Janet and I are trained in Reiki therapy, so to find a hospital that endorses and offers supportive modalities fit our lifestyle. All of the supportive therapies CTCA offers go along with making you feel better. They give you the relaxed feeling that everything that can be done is being done. I know from my previous cancer treatment at another facility that I didn’t have any of that feeling of support.
Overall, I felt pretty good during my treatment. When I wasn’t at the hospital for appointments or treatments, or resting at the nearby CTCA Guest Quarters where I stayed, I went to the Lake Michigan beach that was a few miles away to do one of my favorite things—soak up the sun. I also rented a car and made trips to Milwaukee and Chicago to sightsee. And I’ll never forget driving with Janet to Illinois Beach Park to watch the fireflies one night. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing those fireflies as it’s something we don’t see at home.
What I like about CTCA…
People were friendly at CTCA. The staff knew me and called me by name every time I was there. And they anticipated my needs. They made my life during treatment as easy and stress-free as possible. That's why they even have their own travel department to coordinate airline reservations and transportation.
We couldn’t get over the fact that the hospital doesn’t look like a hospital. It felt like we were in a fine hotel. There’s a beautiful atrium, carpet on the floor nearly everywhere, and it doesn't smell like a hospital. There’s also a concierge. Have you ever seen a concierge in a hospital? That's just unheard of. The concierges helped facilitate needs we had like checking luggage and telling us where things were located in town.
Another thing I was impressed with was I hardly ever waited in a waiting room for more than 10 minutes for any appointment, test or treatment. And whenever I would have lab work done, everything was done onsite and I got my results the same day.
I felt like everyone that worked at CTCA gave from their heart. They were truly concerned about me and wanted me to get well. My care team totally listened to me and did whatever I was comfortable with. They gave me recommendations, but I had the final choice on my treatment.
One of the really neat things about CTCA is they take care of the caregivers too. They know for the patient to be taken care of, the caregiver has to be healthy and focused on helping the patient get better. Janet was able to eat the same healthy and delicious meals I ate, and enjoy some of the supportive therapies like massages. She was also able to go with me to appointments. CTCA understood it was important for her to share the experience with me.
I never had a doubt CTCA was where I needed to be for prostate cancer treatment. I successfully completed my radiation treatment on July 22, 2011 and had my last hormone injection that fall. I will continue to go to CTCA periodically for checkups to ensure the cancer does not return.
The main goal for me once I completed treatment was to get back to work and enjoying life. Working at my restaurants, getting back to what I did before the cancer, meant everything. It’s my thing to be with my customers and serving the community, and I’m so happy to be doing exactly that.