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Prostate Cancer Survivor
|Mike McKelheer, Redmond, Washington|
Thanks to his diligent annual physicals, Mike McKelheer learned of his prostate cancer before it was out of hand.
Mike is a thriving guy and one of the healthiest people you could ever meet. In his late 60s, he works out four to five times a week and is a regular practitioner of yoga. In his heyday, Mike was one of the top five water skiers in the world.
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His diagnosis of prostate cancer in September 2007 was bad enough, but the health-care system his family used made his experience even worse.
“I got too many indicators that the place was bad news,” Mike recalls. From mixed up records to hastily scheduled scans and a rushed push to jump into treatment, Mike felt very uncomfortable.
At the recommendation of family friends, and from doing his own research on the internet, Mike decided to contact Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for a second opinion about his prostate cancer and subsequent treatment.
In December, Mike saw Drs. William Ellis, University of Washington urologist, Ken Russell, radiation oncologist, and Evan Yu, medical oncologist at the SCCA Prostate Cancer Center, located at University of Washington Medical Center, who told Mike he had advanced prostate cancer because of his high Gleason score. His treatment began with injections of Lupron to slow the growth of cancer cells in his prostate. Simultaneously, Mike received daily external beam radiation treatments for several months.
In addition to the expert care he received from his doctors at SCCA, Mike says the ultimate reason he chose to have his treatment at SCCA was because they used the most advanced technology available, referring especially to the Calypso Manufacturing equipment called GPS for the Body®.
“I feel more confident knowing that the radiation treatments are going just to the prostate gland and not to other parts of my body, where it doesn’t need to go,” Mike says, which is what the GPS for the Body does. It tracks the prostate gland because your organs naturally move during radiation treatment and doctors cannot predict which way or how much your organs will move.
Still working out during treatment, Mike admits that he does get a little tired by the end of the day, but he says that’s because he’s an early riser as well.
“My overall outlook is very positive,” Mike says. “I will be cured!”
Anxious for his PSA test results (which will occur three months after his last radiation treatment), Mike is confident he made the right treatment choice.
“The outcomes for surgery versus radiation are not the same,” he says. “I feel surgery for me would not be best, the percentages of radiation at my stage are 35 percent—that outweighs surgery just slightly. Who knows for sure as every case is different, that’s why I never compare myself to someone else, it’s my battle and I’m damn sure to win it.
“I have a deep down feeling that I chose the right path. I can’t tell you why exactly, but I just know it was the right choice. I don’t think radiation alone would do the job, but by doubling up with Lupron, it should knock the hell out of this disease! Let’s hope and pray that happens."
Mike completed 44 treatments at the end of March 2008. He is very excited, but he recognizes that without his family's support, "the road would have been impossible. My son Denver made me face up; and my daughter Toshia helped me with appointments and my final decision of which treatment to go with; my beautiful grandchildren give me the courage to smile and keep on living; my beautiful wife Chris who keeps me strong and diligent."