Well, there wasn’t much to report for quite a while and I was out of town for a time, so there has been silence on the blog. Behind the scenes there was much back and forth over scheduling and then rescheduling a needle biopsy to confirm whether or not the lung mass seen in my CT/Pet Scan was a melanoma or something else. Additionally, during this time my husband and I joined extended family members on a glorious, previously planned trip to Peru, which included Macchu Picchu and the Amazon rain forest. I must say, I originally thought the vacation was scheduled at the worst time for my illness, but it turned out to be the best timing ever! I was able to totally relax, forget about health issues, and have fun with my fabulous family. I hiked every day like crazy, at high elevation, long distances, and even up a mountain, with no problems at all. The trip was a real gift for my mental and physical health. Peru is a clean and beautiful country with wonderful people. There are ancient indigenous ruins everywhere, history, and the rain forest was beyond description. It was an amazing trip in every way.
Back to the tedious melanoma, I ended up having a needle biopsy performed at UCSF a couple of weeks ago, just two days after my return from vacation. I chose UCSF over Stanford because UCSF had the capability to run additional genetic testing on the tissue collected due to the clinical trials offered at UCSF. This would allow more targeted treatment options. A couple days ago I met with the UCSF oncologist, and indeed, the lung mass is a melanoma. The genetic results haven’t yet come back. This oncologist recommended I enroll in a clinical trial where I take a drug combination of Nivolumab (anti-PD1) and Ipilimumab (Yervoy). This is a highly effective treatment, though the side effects might be rather uncomfortable (aren’t they always!). This doctor was recommending I start next week, though I’m still doctor/hospital shopping. I’m not thrilled with UCSF for a variety of reasons, and can get the same treatment from another facility. I currently have an appointment with a well respected oncologist on Monday who practices at a private hospital in San Francisco. This oncologist comes from the highly esteemed MD Anderson and he has access to the same clinical trial recommended to me by the UCSF oncologist, and more. We’ll see. Either way, I’m moving forward on getting rid of the melanoma. Yay! Things are finally moving from the assessment phase to the getting-rid-of-it phase. Frankly, I’m ready to be done with this whole thing, Ha ha! Heck, my immune system fought the melanoma off for almost 16 years, so I just need to get things going again. No room for complacency in my internal immune world! No laying down on the job, girls!! It’s back to boot camp for you!
Thanks for your continued support, good thoughts and prayers. This is just a bump in the road and soon enough I’ll be past it!