Metastatic Melanoma, targeted therapy and Immunotherapy and life moving on.
I’m writing this blog as a sort of way of clearing my head, and not wanting to put it in the discussions section, but forgive me as I’m not used to blog writing. I can’t say this is my first blog as back in April I was asked to contribute something for Mays Melanoma awareness month, and I think it’s easier if I just give the link to that blog.
I so wanted my blog to be one for people worried about melanoma spreading to say it’s not all doom and gloom as there have been some great advances in treatment. Back in 2015 I was told I was incurable and my prognosis at the time was less than a year. I had one treatment for 9 months and a second treatment for a year, and on the brilliant news of being clear I made a decision to stop treatment. Now you would think why do people need treatment if a scan doesn’t show any evidence of disease, well cancer can be microscopic and not be big enough to show on a scan and if not monitored can come back, so in trials for my drug Pembrolizumab the trial was for treatment for 2 years, but a common thought was is this too long when someone is clear for 6 months and has had the drug for 12 months. So I stopped, and had a year free of treatment. Then as said in the above blog I had a blip, my scan at one year showed an enlarged node, and the oncology doctor who gave me the scan results suggested surgery to remove the node. So we had a discussion, that I could have it taken out but how certain were they that it was melanoma again, as I felt fine. The discussion also moved onto the fact that my melanoma had been in many nodes previously and my ovary, and it was always said that if it returned I would go back onto Pembrolizumab, so why were they now suggesting surgery. I wasn’t saying I wouldn’t have surgery but I needed her to convince me that it was my best option as it was not the treatment plan I would expect bearing in mind the consultants words a year earlier.
So I had a biopsy which unfortunately confirmed the blip was melanoma, and the biopsy results were given to me by a consultant who said the team had discussed that my best option was to go back on Pembrolizumab that had worked so well for me before. I then asked if we were starting straight away but apparrantly there was no room at the inn, the chemo suite was chocker due to May having 2 bank holidays and too many patients I believe. I had to wait a further two weeks for a slot and as my scan was already 5 weeks old a needed another one to give a starting point to measure my treatment against as there was further spread anticipated, and in deed three nodes were affected, but that was so much better than in 2015 so I had high expectations.
It seemed ages from the April blip to August’s Scan to see if Pembro was working for me again, and in fact doing a scan after my 3 weekly treatment and getting the results ready for my next appointment proved a challenge, I arrived for my appointment and when I went into see the dr, no results. All credit to her though she apologised, went out to chase the results and promised to ring me the next day, which she did at 9am with the results. A response was shown, I should have been extstatic but I think I was just worn out from the wait. From April’s blip to August’s results I’d needed to take a couple of breaks away to give my mind something else to think about, rather than waiting for biopsies and scan and results. I was so disappointed back in April, to have a blip and disappointed to not continue to be a complete responder. I needed to get my head around hoping to get there again with this second time on treatment.
Next blog entry will be recalling November’s scan results and reaction.
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