5. Getting Started

On August 30, 2016, we leave San Antonio en route to Knoxville, Tennesse. We don't like long drives, so we stop in Texarkana, and then near Nashville, arriving iin Knoxville early afternoon of Septermber 1.







Through Provision we discover a lovely cottage, completely renovated and newly furnished on Deane Hill Drive, convenient to Kingston Pike (a main commercial route), half a mile from Whole Foods, and only three miles from Provision (a ten minute drive).






Two bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, one bath, and a back porch that looks out on two acres. We couldn't be more satisfied.








Our route to Provision. No need to go on busy highways.














We arrive in time for the fall color. This tree is at the end of our driveway.










Finally, we know we have arrived when we see this sign. Actually, in May, 2017, they changed their name to Provision CARES Proton Therapy Center. I guess they will need a new sign. Many of the references on this website and in my books still use the former name.






Linda snaps this photo before I enter the building for the first time.








Upon entering, we are greeted by Sharon, with whom we will interact daily for the next two months.








The waiting room is more like a comfortable living room.





Here is a quick anatomy lesson. A year ago, I couldn't have located the prostate or told you what it does.







Before the procedures can take place for my simulation (the set-up for my treatment) I need to give myself an enema. Fleet makes it easy with these disposable bottles.










On the first day they implant fiducial markers like these into my prostate, two straight ones and one bent one. Every day they take x-rays that use these markers to make sure I'm in the right position.




The doctor injects a special SpaceOAR hydrogel to act as a spacer so the radiation won't affect my rectum. Not covered by insurance, this costs me $3,000, but it beats the alternative (see below).






This is the previous system, to insert a balloon into the rectum and fill it with saline water to stabilize the location of the rectum in relation to the prostate. This would need to be done for each of my thirty-nine treatments had I not chosen the SpaceOAR gel.




We soon learn that Knoxville goes nuts over the University of Tennessee football team. I duly get a Tennessee T-shirt. In the parking lot we notice that the Provision cars are orange and white, Tennessee colors. This did not happen by accident. The founder of Provision went to the university here for undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees. Saturday afternoons Knoxville looks like a ghost town while everyone watches or attends the game.


When you get your ticket for a home game at Neyland Stadium it says whether to wear white or orange, thereby producing this checkerboard pattern.







The cradles hang on their rack awaiting the designated person. They keep the legs from moving during the treatment.









CT scan room. My CT scan and MRI are melded to get the best view of my prostate and neighboring organs.








Here's a photo of Sharon, who operates the front desk and keeps things running smoothly. Provision wooed her away from a good paying nursing position. The employees are very well treated. In return, they are happy, dedicated, and professional. I interacted with many interesting people at Provision. I'm just using Sharon as a representative of the whole staff.








You may also be interested in our list of proton centers around the United States, found at:

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