Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Graduation Day!!!

Yesterday Steve had his 3 month scans.  His doctor, Dr. Patrick Hwu, chose to switch from CT scans to PET scans.  This was the first PET scan Steve had since his diagnoses in 2012.  Read here about the difference between PET and CT scans.

Waiting on the news!!

Steve celebrated one year NED (No Evidence of Disease) on September 16, 2014.  So, between having a different type of scan and just celebrating 1 year NED, we felt we might be a little jinxed.  But thankfully, as soon as we were brought back to a room we were greeted and let know that the scans were good.  NED!  No Evidence of Disease!!! One year and 8 days (who's counting???)!!!


We waited for the dermatologist to come in.  Steve doesn't leave without 1 or 2 biopsies, it's pretty much a given.  Luckily for Steve it was only one biopsy this time.  The biopsy needed an 8mm punch.  We should hear the results in the next 5 business days.  I suspect that it will just be dysplatic nevus as in the past, but we will see.

The hole...

The biopsied skin....

Pretty stitching......

About 3 weeks ago I had to take Steve to the ER due to what seemed to be an allergic reaction to something.  He had welts and lots of itching.  They gave him steroids and benadryl through IV and also a prescription for home.  Although most of it has cleared up, Steve has still been having welts/red swollen areas anywhere he scratches.  After talking with the dermatologists and also after his skin reacting/swelling to the pen they circled his biospy with, they diagnosed him with dermatographism.  This is not very well understood and the cause is unknown.  Only 4-5% of people will experience this. Who knows?  Was it prior treatment?  An allergy to something?  Stress?  The world will NEVER know!!
Swollen skin under pen marking.

Swollen skin after scratching.

When Dr. Hwu came in, we already knew that the PET scan and MRI showed No Evidence of Disease.  Dr. Hwu said that he is really, really impressed with Steve's body's response to Yervoy.  He said that every single time that Steve comes in and shows No Evidence of Disease, the risk of recurrence decreases.  Today was also graduation day, Dr. Hwu also graduated Steve from scans every 3 months to scans every 4 months!!  Not only does this count down on time missed from work, one less scanxiety per year, but also less RAD counts per year. 
NED ~ Celebrate LIFE!


Steve, Me and our girls celebrated with dinner out tonight.  - Shhhh, for all those that know that I don't cook usually anyhow ;) 


  1. Outstanding! Continued blessings for you and yours...

  2. So Happy For You Guys.......,,Judith Paterson....N.E.D. 2002..

  3. Have You read this?

    Absolutely amazing!! New weapons against melanoma everyday!! :)

    from Hungary

  4. I just wanted to say that it is great to find blogs such as this one which is so inspiring to me as I have been battling stage 4 metastatic Melanoma since January 2013. Its funny I found this and your husband has become NED from Yervoy because it is next on the list for me but I have been resistant due to very limited responses and high toxicities. God bless you and your family and I hope Melanoma will never burden your lives again.

  5. Steve's story is so like mine, I received the news of my stage III metastatic malignant melanoma, after my surgery on the lymph node in my left neck behind my ear. I awoke 9 hours after the surgery with a compression bandage and the explanation that I had stage III cancer. They removed the swollen lymph node and kept going for at least 14 others in a 12" line down to my thorax. I had intense precision radiation (focused beam) X3 per week for 6 weeks, then 6 months of X5 a week chemo (from 8am to noon), then I had to inject inferon B X3 per week for a year. I have had 2 NED pet scans this year, and finally gained back 40 lbs... (I went from 180 down to 124lbs), I have had at least 3 MOHS done this past year and about 4 carcinomas removed... I don't go out without some kind of skin protection but it doesn't seem to matter.
    Have steve get a bone density check if it hasn't been done already, I had a compression fracture last year lifting a motorcycle... well, I tried to lift it.....
    I did not read your full blog and came across it while looking up life expectancies of our particular type of cancer.... what can I say.....
    Thanks for putting out there the struggles we have to go through.... not everyone will read this blog, but enough folks will to maybe get a good perspective of what to expect if diagnosed.
    Sending good vibes your way... fist bump for Steve.....

    Bill McGraw

  6. Outstanding!
    My friend Ray was given a terminal diagnosis of Stage IV Melanoma... given only 2 months to live, but only if the doctors could amputate his leg. He decided to keep his leg and found Perseus PCI (personalized cancer immunotherapies) and pursued treatment with them. Ray experienced ZERO side effects of their treatment and today is cancer free! You can see more at and Maybe this will be able to provide some hope for others suffering from the devastating effects of cancer.

  7. Hi Jennifer,

    I'm an editor at Health Monitor Network. We're producing a guide on advanced melanoma and I came across your blog. I would love to interview you and Steve for my story—you can reach me at Thank you!