I’m Kevin, 27, an only child born and raised in Tucson AZ until moving out to San Diego CA 6 years ago. Where I’ve lived since. I mistakenly spent the majority of my life in too much sun. Jobs.. hobbies…free time. I had a suspicious mole checked out on my back in 2007 that turned out to be melanoma. An area of my back was removed and the doctor said I was good to go. Got check ups regularly. 3 months, 6 months, Year…
In 2010, a couple bumps popped up under the skin in the same area of the surgery. Felt like cysts, but a biopsy showed it was melanoma, now stage IV.
PETCT and MRI showed tumors on my back, one on my chest, one in my liver, bunch in the lungs, and one a little nodule in my brain.
One round of Stereotactic Radiation successfully took care of the brain lesion. Happy for that. I did IL-2 in September 2010, 14 bags first round, nine the second. But it unfortunately was not the magic bullet for me, although my liver did seem to clear up. Scans show nothing there anymore.
Next was a clinical trial, “Adoptive Cell Therapy with Young TIL and IL2” at the NIH in Bethesda MD. Got the ball rolling in November 2010, a long process and a lot of flights, over 50 in one year, but well worth it. It was very beneficial for some time. Although the shrikage was minimal, I felt pretty good, it kept everything in my lungs pretty stable for 7 months and the little nodule on my chest disappeared.
Then the lungs started getting worse, so next was Yervoy, here in San Diego. I did the four rounds, one every three weeks and finished that on Dec 20th 2011. No side effects at all, but sad to say, it didn’t seem to be helping.
On Jan 13th 2012, MRI shows at three new tumors in my brain, so more stereotactic radiation was scheduled. I had two seizures, as a result from swelling in my brain, so I was put on a temporary steroid. More lesions showed up in brain scans in preparation for the radiation. But all that could be taken care of was taken care of by the radiation.
There were a couple questionable “spots” that were so small on scans they might be blood vessels, so were left alone. But something they were going to monitor.
I started Zelboraf on March 7th 2012. A Brain MRI looked good and I tapered off the steroid and was completely off Mid-April. A PETCT in April and another MRI May 1st showed good results, Zelboraf is helping, nothing new is showing up, things are smaller, and metabolic activity is down.
Since the beginning of all this, some days are better than others, but I’m trying to stay genuinely optimistic about the situation. One bridge at a time…
A brain MRI a few days ago, on July 23rd, coincidentally exactly two years from the stage IV diagnosis, shows some tumors progressing in my brain, none over 1 cm though.
A PETCT and a “detailed MRI” have been ordered for the next week to give a better idea of what is exatly going on, what to expect and what steps can be taken.
Hoping for the best.
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