David (Mac) McElhaney
“I started the six weeks of sessions in early March of 2020, right as COVID was hitting. I went from having lots of interaction with patients and doctors to a lot of isolation. That was tough.”
In the summer of 2019, I was being treated for a kidney stone and my urologist was alarmed at my PSA readings. He wanted me to get tested, but the truth is, I pooh-poohed his concerns. I blew it off for a while and then had a positive urine test. I finally had a biopsy in October and was diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer.
I wanted to make sure I had done my research, so I went to three urologists and four oncologists. I decided to go ahead with surgery. But then I talked to the brother of a friend of mine in California who said, “Mac, be your own advocate!” He urged me to check out a couple of proton therapy centers (none of the doctors I had met previously had mentioned proton therapy treatment). Although my wife was hesitant about me forgoing the surgery, she went with me to check out the facilities.
We were both impressed with the folks at the University of Florida, and it did not take long for me to realize this was the treatment for me.
I started the six weeks of sessions in early March of 2020, right as COVID was hitting. I went from having lots of interaction with patients and doctors to a lot of isolation. That was tough.
But otherwise, my experience was very positive. I had no trouble getting approval from my insurance company, and my latest tests show my PSA going in the right direction. My faith, my wife, and “Mac’s Angels” at the University of Florida Health Proton Therapy Institute got me through this challenging time.
While I was going through my research and treatment, I amassed a four-inch notebook of information, and I have actually turned that into a book that I have published. I have also started a group on LinkedIn for men who have had similar situations, and an online support group. I really hope and pray that anyone who has a doctor who says they would benefit from proton therapy treatment will not run into obstacles. It’s stressful enough just dealing with cancer!