Patient Spotlight: Abe DeLeon aka Proton Man
You may have seen a man outfitted as Proton Man in the halls at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute this summer. Under the mask and cape: Abe DeLeon from Roswell, Georgia, who was being treated for prostate cancer. A friend made the costume for Abe, and he said, “It depicts the persona of a superhero. Superheroes are known to conquer things… they stand for victory and not defeat; they are known to power through challenging situations and come out victorious in the end.” This is exactly how he’s chosen to live and persevere through his cancer diagnosis and treatment.
His cancer journey began with a prostate cancer diagnosis in February 2021. In the fall of 2021, he was told his cancer had become more aggressive and an action plan for treatment was necessary. Abe took time to reflect and research his treatment options. He says he was fortunate to have been referred to various individuals in the medical field and solicit their advice. From there he also read many books about proton therapy, talked to other proton therapy patients, and prayed – he says this is what ultimately led him to choose proton therapy at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute.
“Quality of life is important to me and thus came my decision to choose proton therapy – so that I can obtain treatment while preserving my quality of life and only having to deal with minimal impact in terms of adverse effects,” said Abe.
While on treatment, Abe was able to work remotely as well as spend time with wife Ana when she was not back home managing the household, working or visiting their adult children. When asked about cancer survivorship, he says, “This is teaching me to live my life now as opposed to putting off everything that I want to do. It is teaching me to seize the moment and not procrastinate about matters that I’ve always wanted to pursue.” He continues, “This experience has drawn me closer to God, my wife and family. It has allowed me to appreciate the things that matter more.”
Abe completed his course of treatment led by Dr. Randal Henderson in July, and upon returning home to Atlanta is enjoying spending time with friends and family.