Hearing those dreaded words “you have cancer” just once is tough enough. Hearing it again years later is even worse. Both times, Clinton and Rhonda Ward said “there’s life in cancer.” They were determined to return to the CyberKnife Center of Miami to get treated and to share their CyberKnife technology experience in the hope of helping as many people as they can.
Rhonda wanted to be sure and immediately began researching every prostate cancer treatment option available, because as she says, “Nothing but the best will do for Clinton.” After reading everything she could about surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and other types of radiation treatments, they determined CyberKnife Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy would indeed be his best treatment option.
It requires only 5 radiation treatment sessions instead of 42 with other types of radiation and because of its missile guided, pinpoint accuracy, CyberKnife can deliver high doses of radiation beams which target the tumor site, leaving the surrounding areas unharmed. That greatly reduces the risk of side effects including impotence and incontinence. That was vital to both Clinton and Rhonda. But especially Clinton, because as Rhonda puts it, “He’s a strong, proud, virulent, southern Black man from Georgia and his natural manhood is crucial to him.”
The next step was finding the best cancer treatment center and doctor that used CyberKnife technology, so Rhonda called the company that manufactures CyberKnife, which is Accuray, located in California.
Rhonda says, “We were prepared to travel from Florida to California and stay as long as necessary for his treatment, but they told us, you don’t need to travel all the way here, there is an excellent CyberKnife center, with one of the most experienced teams right where you live in South Florida. It is called the CyberKnife Center of Miami located on Kendall Drive.”
Rhonda called CyberKnife Miami and as is standard procedure for this team of cancer experts, Clinton got in right away and began treatment.
The treatment was a success. Clinton and Rhonda spent the next decade living life to the fullest, as she says, “And I mean to the fullest in every way. The treatment did not affect Clinton physically nor intimately. All fears were laid to rest as many men fear.”
Rhonda says, “After his CyberKnife treatments I asked his doctor if he’s cured now and he said we’re doctors, we’re not God but you’re doing the right thing by choosing CyberKnife.” Clinton was treated by Dr. Mark Pomper, the medical director at CyberKnife Miami and a board-certified radiation oncologist. Dr. Pomper says, “There is always a chance the cancer can recur down the road. Typically, we do not see that happening, however Clinton had an intermediate risk of the cancer coming back because he had a high PSA score when he was diagnosed. We do the best we can, but we cannot diagnose microscopic disease. His PSA was over 14 so there is a greater chance it may come back. Plus, prostate cancer tends to be more aggressive in Black men.”
Fast forward 11 years and, sure enough, Clinton’s prostate cancer had metastasized. This time he had tumors in the bones of the lower pelvic and spine area.
Rhonda says, “Right away we asked Clinton’s other doctors about CyberKnife treatment and again we were told it would not help. But we knew it would and went right back to CyberKnife Miami and started treatment in January of 2023. Immediately we felt a sense of relief, it eased our stress knowing we were in the best hands.”
She adds, “The medical care and service they provide at CyberKnife Miami is excellent. Like none other. They treat you as if you are the most important person in the world. Like you are the president of the United States or leader of any country. Their bedside manner is excellent and so compassionate. Gail Suarez, the vice president of operations and radiation therapist is amazing, so knowledgeable, kind, and helpful. Radiation therapist Mario Tobon is just a Godsend. They are meticulous with your treatment plan. And Maria Kristina Borgen, who we spoke to first, scheduled our appointments and made the entire process as easy and simple as possible. No cancer center works with you like they do. And God bless that CyberKnife robot. After the second day of treatment, the pain Clinton felt from the tumors had already eased.”
Rhonda says, “Clinton’s 88 now and being married to an older man I cherish every moment and take nothing for granted. We celebrated 23 years of marriage and the CyberKnife treatments never affected him. He is still a vibrant man enthusiastic to have a meaningful way of living.
Clinton is on hormone therapy now to help stop the cancer from spreading and that of course is like a medical castration, but we had to balance the scales and choose intimacy or life, we choose life.”
“We have taken all the steps we can to target the cancer and he is doing great. Even his doctors, including his oncologist who told us CyberKnife would not work, are impressed with his results. Today his PSA level is less than 0.02 and his scan results are excellent. We were not expecting any more cancer, but we wasted no time getting back to CyberKnife Miami for treatment.”
Clinton’s twin brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the exact same time. Despite their efforts to persuade him to choose CyberKnife, he chose chemotherapy and died of prostate cancer 3 years later. Clinton and Rhonda believe he would be alive today had he been treated with CyberKnife.
Rhonda adds, “I do not have any stock in CyberKnife, but Clinton and I tell everyone about this technology. My friend’s son was just diagnosed with prostate cancer, and she said you are always talking about CyberKnife, tell me more and now her son is being treated with CyberKnife in Nashville. I am from the Bahamas and our Prime Minister died of prostate cancer it made me determine to share the experience of the excellence of Cyberknife treatments for prostrate and bone cancer. There must be a broader platform, others can help us spread the word.”
The good news is, as more people hear about CyberKnife cancer treatment, they are asking for and even demanding it. As more doctors learn about it, including those in medical school, they are recommending it.
There are more than 30 years of research proving CyberKnife’s safety and effectiveness, so the technology is becoming more readily available as more cancer centers are adding CyberKnife to their arsenal of cancer fighting tools.
As for Clinton’s prognosis, Dr. Pomper says, “He’s 88 and has multiple areas of metastatic disease, we can’t cure it, but we can slow it down and help him live longer and without pain.” Dr. Pomper adds, “If you saw him, you would be amazed. He is always perfectly dressed. He does not look frail or old he really looks good.”
Rhonda says, “I feel God has allowed my husband to go through cancer a second time to live and tell people about CyberKnife. We have much to be grateful for. This is a day of rejoicing and celebration. This cancer is stage 4 but when other doctors said CyberKnife will not help Clinton, and even family members and friends told us not to do it, I thought oh no, if he is going to die, we are going down trying, and we have no regrets. Our God is FAITHFUL with a capital G. We are not here forever but give me some extended years. You must find the right people, positive people like Dr. Pomper and his team at CyberKnife Miami who are going to work with you.”
To find out if CyberKnife cancer treatment can help you, call our team at 305-279-2900. Our promise is to get you treated as effectively, safely, quickly and easily as possible, and we do it with great compassion to our patients and their family. We will hold your hand every step of the way.
Just for fun take a look at this video on our YouTube Channel and see Rhonda, turn the camera on the CyberKnife team for a quick interview with Gail and Mario.