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2005 – 2006 – Few small melanomas removed (wrist and shoulder).

Yearly dermatologist checks from ’06 – ’10

March 2010 – Hard lump on my head removed after it began weeping/crusting. I was Stage III and referred to my surgical oncologist Dr. James Spellman.

April 2010 – Split thickness graft on my scalp (about the size of an orange juice can lid, both sides of neck biopsied.

May 2010 – right neck – full dissection.

Sep 2010 – clear 3 month re-check

Jan 2011 – re-currence on scalp – pinch graft

March 2011 – re-currence on scalp – pinch graft

April 2011 – two combined surgeries: Dr. Patrick Swier (plastic surgeon) re-sected entire scalp to prepare for radiation. Dr. James Spellman excised several neck nodes on right side.

May 16, 2011 – Stage IV after PET/CT scan shows lesions in my left lung. Two second opinon consults @ U of Penn/Philadelphia and Johns Hopkins – Green Spring Station. Both suggest Ipilimumab/Yervoy once every 3 weeks, x 4 weeks.

May 27, 2011 – Began Yervoy (Ipi).
Minimal side effects throughout ipi treatment: fatigue, mild dizziness, some nausea.
July 29, 2011 – Completed Yervoy

Rapid health decline end of July/early August. Multiple ER runs, admitted, lungs drained every 4 days…sent home with oxygen. Starting to panic and seriously worry about living to the end of the year.

August 8, 2011 – Began BRAF meds – response within 2 days! Egg sized neck node visibly shrinking/lungs staying clear/off of oxygen

late August – temporarily off of BRAF due to rash/low white count. Still maintaining on lungs and neck reduction!

8/30/11 Re-started BRAF at lower dose. No side effects other than occasional joint pain on ONE finger of a hand…resolves in a day or two. Rash pretty much resolved, although skin still feels “bumpy”.

Nov 8, 2011 Three months on BRAF. Excellent response. Floating arthritis in hands, thinning hair/lashes/brows. Painful lumps (ereythema nodosum) that flare and fade in about 3 days. SCANS are great. Lungs virtually clear, neck down by more than half.

11/14/11 Terrible joint pain in right wrist/thumb; lungs filled; chest x-ray = 50% fluid

11/15/11 Lung drained

11/17/11 Dr. states BRAF failing; tweaked dose higher to see if holds off fluid longer. Possible to combine with Temodar (oral chemo) after he consults w/ Dr. Sharfman @ Johns Hopkins. Next appt 12/1/11

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Initial Diagnosis Month


Initial Diagnosis Year


Stage at Diagnosis

Stage 3

Current Stage

Stage 4