At ARO, we’re dedicated to our patients’ care and sense of wellbeing. Here’s what some of our patients and their families have said about their treatment experience.
Initially I was reluctant to share my Cancer journey, but I eventually chose to do so, in the hope that it would reach someone experiencing a similar challenge.
Life was good. My golf game was churning out creditable scores with frequent regularity, my wife was enjoying her career, my eldest daughter had just scored a job in London, my youngest daughter received a promotion at Sky TV, and I was enjoying semi-retirement.
But at exactly 1.22pm on Thursday 12th January 2023 my world came crashing down with an almighty THUD!!! Happy New Year John!!!
On that fateful day I sat face to face with my Doctor at the Canterbury Urology Dept. His comments were earth shattering -
“John I have some bad news for you. The recent tests we conducted revealed that you have Grade 2 Prostate Cancer - if you leave it unchecked you have 4-8 years to live. Now the good news is we have detected it early so there are some options.”
Thanks to my annual health check-ups I was able to detect (via my regular blood tests) elevated PSA prostate readings which prompted further tests. Enough said! My Doctor then presented me with some options to consider. From that moment on, I became a “man on a mission” obsessed with exploring the range of available treatments.
Fortunately, I had recently seen a TV news item promoting the arrival of some cutting-edge radiation treatment. The Auckland Radiation Oncology Department (MercyAscot Hospital - Epsom) had just purchased some robotic radiation technology called 'CyberKnife' This piece of technology had been in the USA and UK for about 10 years for patients with Spinal Cancer, Brain Cancer and Prostate Cancer. The more I researched this option the more convinced I became that this was the treatment I wanted. I immediately saw my GP and insisted he refer me to the relevant specialist. Job done.
After a few consultations, the successful injection of 4 gold seeds into my prostate, placed as markers to fence off the cancer, followed by MRI & CT scans to map the dimensions of my prostate, I was ready to rock and roll. During my 3 week wait for treatment, the Radiation Hospital Technicians were beavering away programming the CyberKnife with my personal data, so it could act with impeccable precision.
On Monday 1st May, I arrived at the Auckland Radiation /Oncology Unit ready for the first of 5 twenty-minute radiation treatments (planned for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday and Wednesday). The treatment theatre resembled a Spaceship, and in the corner sat the CyberKnife, motionless. In fact, seeing it for the first time took me back to my viewing of the 'Aliens vs Predator' movie.
The nursing staff then positioned me to lie flat on my back on the centre table. After correct alignment they were kind enough to ask what sort of background music I liked during treatment. My immediate thought was the theme music to 'Star Wars' but then I relented to easy listening. Next minute they would leave the theatre for the adjacent Control Room filled with computers and screens. So there I am lying still, waiting in anticipation, just me and CyberKnife. The music starts followed by an electronic humming sound. CyberKnife comes to life. The robotic arm then moves with incredible agility and accuracy over me, side to side, even underneath the table in order to zap my prostate from every conceivable angle. There I lay completely mesmerised by the machine’s grace and power. The humming sound ceases after 20 minutes and the CyberKnife retires to its corner for another day. On reflection the event seemed like a 20-minute X-Ray. I was even able to squeeze in a round of golf on my day off.
By the time you read this message, I will have completed my 5th CyberKnife treatment, after which I will have further blood tests. I plan to maintain the armoury of my annual medical check-ups, so I can try to detect any cancer before it creates havoc. Besides I now have a new girlfriend in my life. Her name is 'Mrs CyberKnife'. Life’s good.
The other point to note is that CyberKnife is only available privately and is not cheap. Fortunately, I was covered by Health Insurance.”
This testimonial and information contained herein, should not replace advice or treatment recommendations from your registered Health Practitioner, nor should it delay or postpone you seeing your Health Practitioner about a health problem.
John, Prostate Cancer, CyberKnife
"Thank you for the work that you all do. I really appreciated how well I was cared for and made to feel comfortable especially going through something like this. I would highly recommend ARO to anyone who has to have this type of treatment. Your care for your clients was at a very high level of excellence. Thank you. "
"The whole experience from the initial set up appointment through to the 5 radiation treatments was professional, caring and reassuring."
"Very happy with the treatment & level of care - many thanks!"
"Excellent care from nursing staff, radiation techs and doctor. They all combined to make my experience less scary. I had been very fearful and nervous before treatment."
"Thank-you, everyone made a daunting process as good as could be."
"Your team was fantastic in all respects, and made my experience so much easier than I was expecting."
"Amazing care & attention from all staff. Nothing was too much trouble & every query/problem had a workable solution."
"The whole team were absolutely brilliant - and they worked as a great team. Everyone - from the wonderful smiling people on reception, the education and nurse people, the doctor and the team of radiation therapists. They were caring and careful and respectful all the time."
"The radiotherapy staff down stairs along with the reception staff and nurses were all gold standard. They all communicated like they knew me and cared. I can honestly say you have an special group of people who are dedicated to their work and care about people."
"Friendly, professional staff that care about your comfort and answer any questions that you may have. They check that you understand and are ok at all times."
"Excellent service across the whole team. Great communication and timeliness."