Part 5

More searching

I called a well-known urological surgeon, and I also corresponded with him by email. I asked him to recommend someone really, really good.

This time I want a medical oncologist, or someone who specializes in treating cancer. I am referred to a physician at The Big Hospital who has an Ivy League med-school degree. Makes sense to me. I mean, you would want to go to The Big Hospital too, wouldn’t you? I have a solution! This is January 13, 2004. My PSA is 2.5, and the tumor mass in my lymph node is approximately 3 cm. Could be much worse.

Three appointments later I find that “this dog don’t bark” either. He is incredibly intelligent, and he knows a lot of research, but he talks down to me from Mt. Olympus and has learned to “always say ‘no.’” He has developed a standard protocol that protects him from lawsuits, and will go no further. Appointments are limited to 15 minutes, and as that time approaches you can tell he is impatient. I get no help, and he answers none of my questions. He thinks I’m a smart aleck, and I think he’s a pompous ass. This is in the spring of 2004. Leaving him behind, I start looking elsewhere. After the last appointment, I'm almost in tears from frustration.

This is where it gets really good.

Finally! An end to the search:

If you need to know the facts about prostate cancer, and read in layman’s terms about all of the latest research, make this a prominent bookmark on your homepage and read everything on this website. Also, subscribe to the newsletter; I do.

This is my doctor--Dr. Charles Myers. He also has prostate cancer, and he is in remission. His PSA is less than 0.01. This is what I want.

In Part 6 I learn a very important rule.
Part 6

Rule number 3

In part 5, I discovered and met Dr. Myers, the prostate cancer specialist in Virginia.

I had read in his newsletter about how he had decided upon his own treatment from other specialists. (1) I was surprised to read that he, himself, had run into the same shortcomings from other physicians that I have described earlier and how dissatisfied he was, and (2) I was very interested to learn about how he approached his decision-making, with the help of his wife. Basically, it comes to this:

Rule number 3: You decide whether the treatment option or options are demonstrably effective, and if the side effects are not worse than the effects of the disease you are treating, then you must decide to go with the treatment.

I read that and thought that I had learned it.


Dr. Myers’ prostate cancer was very similar to mine, so I decided “what better example could I possibly follow?” It involved radiation therapy and also hormone therapy—reducing PSA to the neighborhood of <0.01, and then proceeding with a radiation treatment called intensity modulated radiation therapy, or IMRT.

It will be obvious why I chose it. I also met a really good radiation oncologist at St. Luke’s hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri, Dr. David Butler. He does his research, he shares it with me, and he answers all of my questions honestly. He doesn’t even mind a little debate. I consider him a friend. I met him because he was featured on the local news.

The other option was something called “3-D conformal radiation therapy,” a somewhat older method that Dr. Myers had undergone. I read about his side effects and his statement that were he to choose again—now that IMRT is an option—he would choose IMRT. So of course I did. I had 35 treatments, starting July 28, 2004 and ending September 16.

Just stay with me. Lots more equally important stuff to come in Part 7.