"I'm surprised I've lasted this long," Mick says with a grin. He quit smoking nine years ago — after having smoked for 40 years — and readily admits he hasn't always made choices that are good for his health. But at age 65, after a cancer diagnosis, he quickly became his own health care advocate.
Mick, a retired CAD designer living in northern Minnesota, knew from clinic visits that his PSA (prostate specific antigen) was high at 4.1, but when it got up to 5, he went into action to get more testing and doing research online. Physicians had talked to him about different treatment options, like conventional radiation and cryotherapy (freezing and destroying the diseased prostate cells). But when the biopsy came back with a cancer diagnosis, Mick already knew which treatment option he wanted to pursue.
After the many hours spent online looking at treatment options for prostate cancer, Mick had already decided CyberKnife® treatment would be his first choice, due to his age and desire to maintain a semi-healthy sex life (which can be an issue with other prostate cancer treatments).
One of the closest centers to Mick's home was HealthEast's CyberKnife Center. He made the call. During his first appointment with his CyberKnife radiation oncologist, she determined he was a candidate for CyberKnife. They set up the prep work for the treatments, which Mick describes as "a little uncomfortable."
When he came to the Twin Cities for treatment, Mick found the process to be easy and convenient. He was even able to stay in a hospitality room at St. Joseph's Hospital. Mick was scheduled for three treatments the first week and two the next. "You just lie on the table for 90 minutes, listen to music or take a nap and when you're done, you just get up and leave." As with most CyberKnife patients, Mick found that he felt fine after treatment and could easily get back to normal activities right away.
The CyberKnife staff also made a big impact on Mick. "They were a knowledgeable team with great personalities, from the doctors to the receptionist" he says. In fact, they were a pleasure to be around (given the situation)." Throughout treatment, staff was there to help. "If you have a question during treatment, you just put up your hand and the staff will answer you but the machine never touches you and you don't feel anything."
Three months after treatment, Mick had a follow-up appointment with the CyberKnife radiation oncologist. His PSA numbers are coming down and are expected to continue to drop.
Mick is enjoying life after CyberKnife. He and his wife just came back from a seven-day cruise to Barbados, a trip they'd been planning for over a year. Even though he'd completed treatment not long before the trip, he felt great and was able to thoroughly enjoy the vacation.
"In my opinion, CyberKnife was the way to go," Mick said. "It was easy, there were no problems and it fit my lifestyle. It was the answer so far. I'll have to wait and see about long term."