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Staying Active during Cancer Treatment

Richard Braun shares his journey through prostate cancer and proton therapy. Richard: My name is Rich Braun. I live in Everett, Washington. I am married. My wife’s name is Chris, and we have a 22-year-old son who’s in college. So I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This was in 2012. It was a shock. I mean, it can’t be anything else. It just hit me because I’ve always been an active person, it’s like, “why is this happening to me?” type thing. I was with my wife when I was given a determination of the PSA reading, and I was like, what was going to happen to her and my son? At that moment we just held each other. It’s hard. That was it, I mean I thought, “what do I do now?” What was my next step? When I first did my research, the key point I wanted to find out was the side effects, the long-term side effects. I’ve been bicycling forever, I’ve fished, hiked, and camped and skied for as long as I can remember, and those are just part of who I am. I didn’t want to have to change my lifestyle just because I had cancer. I found out about the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Proton Therapy here by searching on the Internet. I was real excited because it’s close to home. I was able to go to work, my wife would come down, pick me up, take me down to the proton center, I’d go back, continue my day, finish the day off at work, and I did that for nine weeks. It definitely factored into my decision for proton therapy that the long term effects of proton therapy were minimal. And I was really impressed with the fact that they could control this release of energy at a specific point where the cancer was. It’s hitting a point where it needs to, not healthy area of your body. And it’s just very non-invasive. I continue my life as I’ve continued all along. There’s nothing to change. I continue my bicycle riding, my bicycle commuting, I continued that, and on my last day I took the day off from work and I decided I’m going to do something special. I rode my bike from Everett, down here, for my last treatment. And when I came in with my bike, everybody was like surprised, they couldn’t believe that I rode my bike in for my last treatment, but I did. My doctor at SCCA here is Dr. Fang. I definitely want to give her a great hug of gratitude. I mean she’s been just stellar. The way she explained everything, the way she gave me the confidence to continue to go through this whole process. I’m very thankful to everybody here. The whole experience from the initial consultation to everything that I’ve dealt with here, it’s been… it’s just like another family. It’s like part of my family. You’re number one. They treat you that way. It’s just a good place. When we came back for the most recent follow-up, it was both my wife and myself, my PSA had gone down. It was a very big relief and I know it’s had to be a big relief for her. It’s been six months after my last treatment. I still have no side effects at all. One I was really concerned about was incontinence, zero problems, I’ve had nothing. It’s just normal. I would recommend proton therapy for anyone with prostate cancer. It’s so non-invasive, you can keep your lifestyle the way it is. I did my research and this is what I came to, want to do. And I would highly suggest to anybody “do your research and you’ll come to the same conclusion that I came up with.” It’s the wave of the future, it’s the way to go.