Thursday, January 3, 2013

1 year Cancerversary!!

What is a "cancerversary"?  It means so many different things for so many different people.  Some people use it as the anniversary of hearing the words every warrior wants to hear "NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE" (NED), some people use it as the anniversary of hearing the words no one wants to hear "You have cancer", some people use surgery dates, it is a little different for everyone.

Well, today is Steve's "CANCERVERSARY"!!  One year ago today, Steve had a fine needle biopsy that later confirmed metastatic melanoma.  Later it was confirmed even further that it was Stage IV melanoma.  Survival rates for Stage IV melanoma are grim.  Many reports state less than one year.  When Steve and I were told, we both sobbed.  How could this be?  Why?  This can't be happening?!  So many thoughts raced through our minds.

Over the last year, Steve has had a grueling round of biochemo which entailed him being hospitalized for a week every 3 weeks, a major surgery (and hospitalization) to remove his right adrenal gland and the adrenal tumor attached to it, he has taken Zelboraf (with horrible side effects), he was hospitalized with a very serious virus for 11 days, he had numerous blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, and most recently has started a new drug (Yervoy).  Today Steve went back into the office for the first time in several months.  How fitting that he was able to return to work on his 1 year "Cancerversary".

I am so proud of Steve.  He has had many ups and downs over the past year.  But, he is still here fighting.  The melanoma that he started with last year is the same melanoma he currently has (minus the adrenal gland).  We would have loved to have him NED, but everyone is different and you just have to find the right medication while beating the clock.  Steve's current medication is a 90 minute infusion every 3 weeks for 4 rounds.  Then 4 weeks after the last round he will have scans.  That is a total of FOUR months before we know if the current treatment is working or not.  That is a long time to wait.  But, like I try and remind Steve every day, he is fighting to live......so we are living!  We may not be living the same life we were a year ago, but we are living.

We still find the time and energy to celebrate holidays and birthdays with family.  We attended MD Andersons Moon Shots Announcement.  We still try and squeeze in some dinner dates with friends.  We were able to take the kiddos on a mini vacation this summer.  Steve and I were able to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary in New Orleans and go to our first Saints game.  Steve and I have been to the casino's a few times during the last year.  We had poker at our house once over the last year.  We were able to take the kids looking at Christmas lights.  Sure, there is plenty we wanted to do but couldn't, but we are still living.  Steve is still fighting. 

In 3 1/2 months, if we find out that this current treatment is not working, we will move on to the next one.  I eat, sleep and breathe melanoma and have the next two treatments lined up if needed.  We are lucky that there is so much research and advancement going on in the melanoma world.  There is still a long, long, long way to go.  But, they are so much further along than even a couple of years ago.

Thank you to everyone who has been there for us over the past year, we sincerely appreciate EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!

 

23 comments:

  1. Sending you love!! Thank you for sharing the journey. XOXOXOOX!

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  2. There is nothing more powerful than prayer, and having a wonderful person by your side to go through something like that. Jennifer, Steve must be blessed to have you in his life i will continue praying for your family keep up the fight Steve as you know you are not in it alone. may god bless your family. Your friend, Joe Culpepper

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  3. Happy Cancerversary Martin Family and Many More!!

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  4. Jennifer, you and Steve are a true inspiration to many! You have introduced me to a woderful support group and have provided me with a wealth of information on melanoma and for that I thank you!

    You have a beautiful family and I am sure your strength and attitude toward life are the heart and soul of what is keeping them smiling in the face of this challenge that you have been facing for the last year.

    Thank you again for your inspration...

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    1. Thank you, Donna! I am happy to have "met" you along this journey :)

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  5. Your family is ADORABLE and I hate that melanoma haunts both of us....BUT, STEVE is amazing, to fight so hard and continue to LIVE. Keep on keeping on!

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  6. Happy Cancerversary to all of you! You are all always in my thoughts and prayers. I pray for Steven to be cured, strength for you, and peace and understanding for your beautiful girls. Love to all of you. Happy New Year!

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  7. You are doing great! Keep on keepin on!

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  8. It's quite amazing how similar our stories are. My huand was diagnosed July 2012. Some of the same places adrenals, lungs, armpit, lymph, and a few more. Thank you for sharing your story! We are still on the zelboraf 1/2 dose and doing stable with small improvements. Your journey gives me hope Ony down days. Thank you! -holly

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    1. Thank you for reading the blog, Holly. If you would like to Facebook friend request me, you can do so from the right side of the page. I have a great melanoma caregiver support page I can add you to. I wish you and your husband nothing but the best!! <3

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  9. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?

    Thanks,

    Cameron

    cameronvsj(at)gmail.com

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  10. Thank you for your blog. I've been reading it for awhile and wanted you to know that you all our in my prayers. Hang in there!! I had to laugh when checking in at MDA melanoma and saw that you were the mayor.

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    1. Thank you for reading the blog, Beth! Yes, unfortunately we spend too much time at MDA so I usually maintain that mayorship! Ha! Are you a melanoma patient? If you have Facebook and would like to add me, I have a link on the right side of the blog to my Facebook page. You hang in there too!

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    2. It was so great to read your blog tonight! My husband is 30 and we have two young children as well... And was just diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma this week at MD Anderson. We will be starting the. IL2 treatment next week, and it was inspiring to see how you got through it ... And we can too! It really helped to get a perspective of what we will be up against. Praying for your family and hope everything is going well for you!

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    3. Thank you so much for reading the blog! If you dont mind, what is your husbands name? We will be at MDA next Wed and Thur and have to come up to the 10th floor to visit some other friends we have made over the last year and I would love to stop by and meet you in person. DO you guys live in the Houston area? If you have Facebook, there is a link to the right of this page for my Facebook page. Please add me :)

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    4. My husbands name is Bennie Lunsford. I would love to meet you, and it would be nice to talk with someone who has gone through this before. It's hard right now not knowing what all is in store for us. We will be there all day on Thursday for tests and an office visit. We do live in Houston in the Spring area. I will definetly add you on Facebook.

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    5. This Thursday he will go in for all the tests, and the next week he will be admitted for the IL2 treatment.

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  11. vatanajame@yahoo.comMay 7, 2014 at 3:18 AM

    My dad has rectal melanoma and now the disease spread to his liver and brain, so sad. Doctor is checking his blood if they can do the targeted therapy or use the ipilimumab. Anyone know if those 2 medicines can cure the melanoma or those 2 just prolong his life? Doctor said my dad can't do the surgery because the melanoma already spread. I'm so sad n really pity my dad.

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  12. I am sorry to hear about your dad. It is hard for anyone to say if the medicines will work on your dad and get him to No Evidence of Disease or just prolong his life. These medicines all work so differently from one to another. Is your dad being seen by a melanoma specialist?

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