Barrington man fighting cancer with proton therapy
George Thomas of Barrington has been receiving proton therapy treatment to treat his prostate cancer. | Contributed photo
Updated: November 27, 2012 10:38AM
BARRINGTON — George Thomas has been a carpenter and general handyman since before he and his family moved to Barrington more than 30 years ago, working on everything from classic cars, buildings and his own home.
When he was told he had prostate cancer, however, the now-retired Barrington resident realized that his body would require more than the usual quick-fix.
While two urologists recommended he get his prostate surgically removed, Thomas began considering an option neither had recommended: Proton therapy. Nearly two months and 44 proton therapy sessions later, Thomas said that he still hasn’t had to spend a moment’s time in recovery.
In addition to the studies about proton therapy that Mayo Clinic has said show promise in its treating several kinds of cancer, Thomas is further encouraged by both the recovering patients and the personnel he’s met at the CDH Proton Center, a ProCure center, in Warrenville.
“Being a car guy, my thing is to cut out the bad piece and weld in a new piece; but after going through this whole program, I know it works different with your body,” Thomas said.
Q: Why did you choose to live in Barrington?
A: I built my own house: When my wife was in nursing school, she said she would get a job at the new hospital so I bought the five acre lot nearby and built our house. Her first two years she worked at Lutheran, and then the next 20 years at Good Shepherd.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I’m originally from Schaumburg. My wife and I both grew up there.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have a son who is 45, and he is superintendent for a construction company. I also have a daughter who is 42. She was a corporate pilot for 10 years, and for the last eight years she’s been a charter boat captain in the Bahamas.
Q: What do you like about Barrington?
A: Barrington is great. It’s pretty well diversified, and so is the high school. That’s one thing that I really like a lot.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: Cruise nights, for the cars and for the people too.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in town?
A: The Pizza Factory — it’s easy to get in and out, and it’s a friendly and quiet place.
Q: What got you interested in proton therapy?
A: Two years ago, my wife met a woman in church whose husband had prostate cancer. A week before I was supposed to go downtown to have my surgery set up, she happened to see my wife again and told her about proton therapy treatment. The husband then turned me on to a book called “You Can Beat Prostate Cancer: And You Don’t Need Surgery to Do It.”
Q: What did you like about proton therapy?
A: It didn’t change anything for me — every third day I would get tired, but I’m not sure if that was from the treatment or driving an hour there and an hour back every day. I could still cut down trees, mow my lawn, feed my fish .. everything. It didn’t stop much, and it didn’t change my quality of life, which is what it all amounts to. The side effects from the alternatives are different.
Q: Where are you at in your treatment?
A: I finished up my 44 treatments on Oct. 17. They get the results back in 90 days, and you have 3 months to do another PSA blood test. I’m going on Thursday or Friday, and will be back in January.
Q: Do you have goals for the future?
A: I’m happy right now, but my daughter and her boyfriend bought an island in the Bahamas, and I am helping them develop it. There’s a show on called “House Hunters,” and there’s going to be another one coming on in December for islands that they’ll be on.
Q: What are your favorite cars?
A: My favorite car would be the ’56 Chevy, which I don’t have. I do have a ’64 Ford Galaxie convertible with a V8 4-speed transmission, and a ’49 Ford 2-door Business Coupe with a Mustang motor and automatic transmission. I was a Chevy guy for a while, and then I found this Ford by accident. I belong to a Chevy club, which is a bit unusual for a guy who has Fords. It’s all about the people in that club, though. They’re all just car guys.