After reading an article in the August edition of BOB Tales newsletter about Ron and Karen Hendricks, who remembered the James M. Slater, M.D., Proton Treatment and Research Center in their estate plan, an Orange County (CA) couple decided to do the same thing.
Frank and Sirpa Lee's journey began in March when Frank's urologist called with alarming news: "Hey Frank, you have cancer."
After his initial shock at both the news and his doctor's abrupt delivery, Frank thought he remembered seeing a copy of Robert J. Marckini's book— You Can Beat Prostate Cancer and You Don't Need Surgery to Do It—on his bookshelf.
"Sirpa had a friend from Finland," he explains, "who had advanced prostate cancer. The friend asked us to contact Loma Linda for him. They sent us a copy of Bob's book and I kept it since the friend doesn't speak English."
To his amazement, the book was right where Frank left it seven years earlier.
"It never occurred to me I might need it someday," he says. "I call it a miracle. Bob Marckini says it was divine intervention."
The urologist was not pleased when Frank asked about proton therapy. "Mr. Lee," the doctor asked, "have you been reading?"
Frank had, of course, and he was convinced that proton is safer, more effective, and less damaging to surrounding tissues than conventional radiation therapy. The urologist, however, favored surgery.
"I asked if there were other options," Frank recalls, "and he said, 'Yeah, robotic surgery.'"
Frank was surprised when the surgeon compared robotic surgery to handling chopsticks. "I can't even pick up food with chopsticks," Frank replied.
Next, the urologist sent Frank to a radiologist. "He wanted to treat me with IMRT radiation with seeds implanted in me. He also required me to have a CT scan after every three or four treatments to make sure the radiation had hit the target. I knew it would subject me to more radiation exposure."
That's when Frank decided in favor of proton therapy at Loma Linda University Medical Center. He's very glad he did.
"I had the best ever team at Loma Linda," he shares. "Everyone from Unique, Laura, and Jennifer at the front desk to the technicians—Vicki, Jan, Michelle, Kyle, Tim, Louis, Ben, Kimberly, and Savet—and of course, Amy Austin, Victoria Serrano, and Dr. Lynn Martell. These people do their absolute best to take care of the patients. I salute them!"
Forty-five treatments later, Frank marvels at the changes he continues to experience.
"He walks three miles every day now and works out at the gym," Sirpa says. "The treatment hasn't slowed him down a bit."
"I'm the poster child for proton," Frank beams. "I had zero side effects. Proton was the right answer for me."
Portions of the Lee's future estate will support proton research and call attention to the benefits of proton treatment over surgery or conventional radiation therapy.
"We remembered Loma Linda in our estate plan because we want to help others receive the help we got," Frank explains.
For more information about how to include Loma Linda in your estate plans, contact the Loma Linda University Health Office of Planned Giving at 909-558-4553 or visit our website.
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