Woodward, Okla. —
FEW SIDE EFFECTS
Billy said the main reason he chose proton therapy is because it presented fewer side effects and shorter recovery time than other treatment options.
For example, while still undergoing his own proton treatments in June, Billy returned to Woodward for the Relay for Life walk.
While at the Relay, Rita said they saw one of their friends who was undergoing treatment for brain cancer and "his head was so swollen from radiation."
"I had known this man for 30 years, but did not recognize him," Billy said.
In comparison, he said that with his own proton therapy, "I had no side effects."
Although he understood the treatments can affect some people differently, Billy said that he could hardly tell he was being treated.
He said he would go in and lie on a table and then it would take the nurses and doctors longer to make sure the table was in the exact right spot, so that the protons would be aimed directly at the prostate, than it would take for the 5 minute treatment itself.
"I would always kid them and say 'I don't think you're doing anything.' Because I wouldn't feel anything," Billy said.
He said there was "no comparison" between how much better he felt with proton therapy over chemotherapy.
Where he had been tired after chemo treatments a decade before, he said he had plenty of energy after his daily proton therapy treatments.
"I want to stress that I felt good enough to work all afternoon after my treatments 5 days a week," Billy said.
After receiving his treatments in the morning, Billy said he would go help one of his grandsons with making renovations at his home in Oklahoma City. He said he helped on a variety of projects at the house from building fence to laying concrete.
The couple said the proton therapy gave them a great opportunity to spend time with family, because in addition to helping one grandson renovate his home, a second grandson gave them a place to stay at his apartment in Oklahoma City on weeknights while Billy received his 44 proton treatments.
And on Friday afternoons the couple would return to their home southwest of Woodward and catch up on yard work during the weekend before returning for the next week of treatments on Monday morning.
Even after traveling home following the Friday treatments, Billy said he had enough energy to tend to his lawn, which thanks to this summer's heat, was no easy task.
The couple said they met several other people who had similar stories of experiencing no ill-effects following their treatment.
"We met this one girl from England who was getting treatments 2 times a day, and she said she had no side effects either," Rita said.
"She'd get done and be ready to go dancing," Billy said. "You just have to see it to believe it."