Sunday, January 12, 2014

MD Anderson Blog

Link to my latest blog for MD Anderson.....

Click here

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Biopsy update

Just a quick update, the pathology from the biopsy Steve had at his last appointment came back clear.  No melanoma and not atypical.  Nothing further will need to be done.  Just another battle scar :)

Wear sunscreen.  Wear sunglasses.  Wear a hat.  Do monthly self exams.  See a dermatologist annually.  Don't use tanning beds.  LOVE THE SKIN YOU'RE IN!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2 year Cancerversary!!!

Last year I explained what a Cancerversary is to us and also recapped the first year of our battle.  You can read that blog here.

Today marks Steve's 2 year cancerversary.  2 years that "we" have been fighting the ugly black beast, melanoma.  I say "we" because it takes the whole family to fight it.  Steve does his part, which is by far the hardest.  I have my role as caretaker which ranges from changing bandages, arranging/rescheduling appointments, researching, making sure meds are refilled, etc.  Then there are our precious kiddos.  They play a huge role as well.  They are what makes Steve's fight worth it, they give him the drive he needs to continue fighting everyday.  Then there is our immediate family that helps us at a drop of a hat with anything we might possibly think of needing.  Last, and certainly not least, there is our ever growing melanoma family.  Wow!  What we wouldn't do without these folks.  Whether it is late night questions that need quick answers, rants that just need an ear, constant love and support, whatever the case may be they are ALWAYS there. 

Recapping this year is much easier than last year.  Last year was a real struggle for our family.  This year, Steve did remarkably well and we lived a pretty "normal" life.  In January, Steve had scans after 2 rounds of Yervoy (Ipilimumab).  These scans showed that his melanoma had shrank by about 50%.  Later in February, Steve finished his 4th and final round of Yervoy.  In March, Steve had scans again and they showed another 40-50% shrinkage in the melanoma.  Yervoy has a delayed reaction for many, so this was great news to us and very promising for future scans.  On that day in March, we also met our sweet friend Kara, and also met Eric and his wife Kerry who is battling melanoma.  That is my very favorite part of this journey....meeting our online melanoma friends in person.  Like I mentioned, they are all so special and such an important piece of this journey that meeting in person is amazing!

In June, Steve and I participated in The Art of Survivorship - 101 seminar at MD Anderson.  We both spoke to groups of cancer patients about our journey blogging and how it helps us.  I hope some of those patients went on to start blogs of their own.  Later in June, we put our house up for sale and it sold in FOUR days!  We are currently in an apartment and close on our newly built home on January 10th!!!  It was definitely a scary move to make.  Melanoma is very sneaky and to be honest we could never be sure Steve would live long enough to see the new home finished.  We close in one week.  I am beyond elated that Steve will be here to see the new home finished, live in the new home, enjoy the balcony together on the new home (something he has ALWAYS wanted).  June's CT scans also showed an additional 33% shrinkage of the melanoma.

On September 16th, 2013, we got the news we had been waiting for for over a year and a half.  NED!!  No Evidence of Metastatic Disease!!  What an amazing day that day was!!!  We KNOW that melanoma can come back at ANY time, but as a stage 4 melanoma patient, the best you can ever hope for is NED.......and there we were!  On December 31st, we received the same news again....NED! 

Steve will have his next scans March 30, 2014 with results on the 31st.  We hope that he stays NED but until then we will continue LIVING life!  We close on our house in 1 week, we are going to New Orleans to celebrate with friends this weekend (and hope that our Saints win their first playoff game of the season!!). 

Thank you all for being a part of our journey this past year and thank you to those who have been around to be a part of this journey the last TWO years!  I hope I have many, many, many more "cancerversary" blogs to write over the years.

Happy 2014 to all of you!!