Living with Melanoma - An Ongoing Journey

  • In Praise of Immunotherapy

    Last week I was told that the results of my latest CT scan showed a Complete Response and that I would now stop my ongoing immunotherapy treatment around 9 months earlier than the planned two year course.

    Complete Response is defined as - The term used for the absence of all detectable cancer after your treatment is complete response (CR). Complete response doesn't necessarily mean that you are cured, but it is the best…

    • 7 Apr 2020
  • Recovery with the help of animals

    When I wrote my first blog post around a year ago I’d just spent a week on holiday in a cottage on the coast, with a dog for company. That companionship of a loving pet provided a lift to the spirits and a recognition of the importance of compassion, kindness and friendship.

    It made me realise how good animals are at taking your mind from the often negative thoughts and worries associated with going through treatment…

    • 24 Jan 2020
  • Focus on what matters and persevere

    Don’t waste time!

    I’m sure we’re not consciously doing that but there’s a lot of life lessons from the Stoic philosophy of the ancient Greeks that I think we can apply just as much to a life being lived with a serious illness as one that’s illness free. It’s useless to wish things in the world were different, some things we can’t change, and that includes living with our fears…

    • 19 Nov 2019
  • Encouraging a Sense of Perspective to Help Living with Cancer

    One of the aspects of living with cancer is the sense of perspective it gives us. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. By that I mean it causes us to re-evaluate what we’re doing. To pause, reflect and check. We can call it the value of Acceptance and Letting Go.

    We need to let go of some things and to encourage others. Ideally it wouldn’t be cancer that is the stimulus, but it is in my case, and I’m sure in…

    • 15 Nov 2019
  • What Now? Life Is What You Make It

    The last blog post I wrote made me think further about living well in the face of living with cancer, and transitioning into feeling positive intuitively.

    I was thinking that living with cancer is amongst other things a time of living with both reflections and actions. Looking backwards can be a little dangerous and frustrating, because that old question “what if” can’t be answered. I think everyone with,…

    • 24 Sep 2019
  • The Mind is a Powerful Thing

    Having cancer imposes a tough challenge on us and raises at least one big question. Can we take control of the situation and get on with our lives? That depends on many things, not the least of which is the severity of the illness of course. I can only speak from my experience, which is currently responding well to immunotherapy treatment for malignant melanoma after eight rounds of single drug treatment with Nivolumab…

    • 30 Aug 2019
  • Keep Going Keep Strong

    I'm a few months into my single drug immunotherapy treatment with Nivolumab and my most recent CT scan back in April showed further reduction in size of the growths I have. I'm told they've all reduced by a third from the previous CT scan, and that scan had shown some had reduced by a half, whilst the others had stabilised, compared to the one before that. So it seems like good progress.  

    It's a very positive…

    • 31 May 2019
  • Belief and Recovery from Lymph Node Block Dissection

    Right here right now I’m feeling quite mellow, let’s say cautiously positive, things could be heading in the right direction, maybe for the first time since my journey with melanoma began. I hesitate to be overly positive as we all know how cancer has a habit of not conforming

    I’m receiving immunotherapy treatment on a 28 day cycle of Nivolumab infusions and have the second one coming up this week. I previously…

    • 5 Mar 2019
  • Think Well, Act Well, Stay Strong

    This is a difficult subject. I’ve talked about it in other blog posts, but I believe it is so important it warrants more focus. In facing up to melanoma or other cancer being positive is essential, it may be hard sometimes, but it’s possible, and can provide benefits to physical as well as mental health. State of mind can be very powerful in challenging disease and illness.

    There’s a huge range of emotions…

    • 18 Feb 2019
  • Fit to fight the battle

    Physical health and mental attitude can be your strongest weapons in the fightback against cancer. This is a story of how diet and personal fitness can help you make a good recovery from surgery and respond better to immunotherapy. It's from my own personal experience, which I'd like to share to encourage others, and it would be great to hear of others experiences too.

    From November 2017 to March 2018 I had three…

    • 11 Feb 2019
  • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy – should I or shouldn’t I? Yes you should!

    A little bit of background first. My melanoma started on my upper leg just above my knee, on pretty much the line where my shorts would end. I was diagnosed on 1st November 2017, some months after earlier wrong diagnoses, but that’s another story for another blog post. The tumour was removed in the same month and I was told a wide area excision would be needed after some time.

    I was asked to consider a Sentinel…

    • 10 Feb 2019
  • When you find yourself in a position you could never conceive, what happens next?

    This is a question I asked myself throughout my journey with melanoma, but particularly at the start of 2019 as I was half way through my immunotherapy course of ipilimumab and nivolumab combination infusions.

    I recently finished that series of four combination infusions and I've come through it pretty unscathed. I have some very good results and I have now commenced on a single drug infusion programme with Nivolumab administered…

    • 9 Feb 2019