One year ago today, on January 23, 2013, Danny took me for an MRI which we thought was going to be a breeze. I needed it to qualify for a new clinical trial testing Merck’s Anti-pd1 drug which was showing VERY promising results. I was set to be the first patient at my cancer center on this trial. Emotionally, we were feeling very positive at the possibilities offered with this new trial although we were a bit nervous about ending up in the chemo arm of the trial. I felt good after the MRI, so my sweet husband took me to Jerry Bob’s for breakfast.
One year ago today, just as we were finishing eating, my cell phone rang and it was my trial nurse coordinator asking if we were free to come in to sign some paperwork she had just figured out we needed to fill out. (Liar, liar, pants on fire! We won’t fall for that trick again!)
One year ago today we were ushered into an education room where my nurse practioner (my oncologist was out of town this day), trial nurse and oncologist’s nurse sat us down to tell us the MRI had shown two tumors in my brain. I needed to treat these and would not be eligible to begin the trial.
One year ago today I had a meeting that afternoon with Dr. Stea, the head of radiation oncology at UAMC to plan the Steriotactic Radiosurgery I would have within the week which would use seemingly Star Trek lasers to kill my tumors from the inside out with just one treatment. We also planned for me to also began two chemotherapies (oral Temedor and Avastin) the very next day.
One year ago plus a few days, I responded beautifully to the treatments and got into the trial I originally hoped for just a few months later than we planned. And although my immune system attacked the dead tissue in my brain this September and 2013 seemed to be the year of brain trouble, I have not had any new tumors, brain or body, since January 23, 2013! One Whole Year! The anti-pd1 trial has stabalized and is shrinking my tumors. I have been on this treatment longer than any other I’ve attempted (excluding the year long interferon treatment I did when first diagnosed.) We have so much hope that this stability will continue.
One year ago today was probably the scariest day of my melanoma journey so far. And although the emotions of this journey continue to be a roller coaster, I am a walking miracle today with stable disease. God has been good to us. God would still be good if I had died 6 months or even 3 years ago. He would still carry our family; but we are very thankful for our sweet family of four being able to hike this weekend and enjoy the beautiful 80 degree Tucson weather in January! Thank you for those who have stood with us in prayer and friendship.