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At three thirty this afternoon, my wonderful husband Brian will take his last radiation treatment.  Some of you know that he has had prostate cancer, and that we’ve been working with doctors for the last eighteen months to enact a permanent cure.  I’m super busy today, but I just wanted to take a moment to express my thanks to the following people.

To the nurse at Christus Santa Rosa Westover Hills who made a bed for me in the hospital room at five o’clock in the morning after we’d spent the night in the emergency room to address the septic infection that resulted from the prostate biopsy.  I don’t know what your name is, but I hope the universe blesses you for your act of kindness to my weary soul.

Brian’s family physician, Dr. Lloyd Van Winkle, who consistently checked Brian’s PSA levels and referred him to specialists at the right time, but also knew when to intervene when Brian developed post-surgical Deep Vein Thrombosis.  His wisdom in this incident is especially appreciated.

For the insightful and wise advice of doctors from the San Antonio Urology Practice, with special thanks to Dr. Michael White, who performed the miraculous robotic surgery to remove the prostate gland. These doctors sit behind a screen and literally travel hundredths of an inch with the movement of their fingers.  In an area that is full of nerves and valves, a hundredth of an inch can make a real difference in a patient’s life.

Finally, to the doctors at the START center, who have made the discovery of left over cancer cells bearable for us through their willingness to give us their time and expertise.

Dr. Louis Rodriguez, our oncologist, spent a great deal of time talking with us about our options for treatment late on a Monday afternoon when he could have been home with his family.  After that visit, we started to feel a peace about pursuing radiation therapy.

Meeting our radiation therapist, Dr. Ardow Ameduri, was such a pleasure.  He took a great deal of time to explain what the radiation therapy would entail.  He even drew us pictures of the area so that we’d know exactly what the treatment would be like.  I sat in that appointment with a lump in my throat, and tears were dangerously close to the surface as the reality of more treatment sank in, but Dr. Ameduri’s calm and friendly demeanor settled my nerves.  At the end of the appointment, he provided us with his email address and his cell phone number.  Brian emailed him some additional questions after the appointment, which he answered promptly and with a level of technicality that satisfied my engineer husband’s needs. I don’t need to tell you how special and unusual that level of care and attention is in the medical profession.

None of us knows what the future holds.  Before we made this journey, I was familiar with the saying, but I now know it deep down in my bones.  Each day is a gift; and as we mark this milestone I want to publicly acknowledge my gratitude for another day with my wonderful husband, my family, and my friends.  I want to say to all of you that I’m thankful for everything God has given me.   I hope you have a blessed and peaceful holiday season.

Joni Koehler

p.s. Have your PSA checked.  I know it’s sort of a sensitive subject, but early detection and intervention have the best outcomes. Don’t assume that it’s just an old man’s disease.  Have regular checks, and women, the same message goes out to you.  Get those mammograms up to date!

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