A Quick Recap
After confirmation that melanoma had spread to my right adrenal gland, we were faced with a couple of options: remain on Gleevec and receive radiation therapy or try something new – immunotherapy (described below).
A New Twist
|Waiting on treatment.|
Initially, we opted to try radiation therapy. The idea was to target the adrenal gland, which would be – we assumed – less invasive that starting an entirely new regimen. After meeting with the radiation oncologists and consulting with some other folks, we decided against that route. There were too many outcome variables and too many negatives (potential damage to surrounding tissue and organs).
We just couldn’t get comfortable with that option.
Cabin in the Woods
Up until we left on our Blue Ridge vacation (see Facebook), we continued to struggle with our first option. Several online consultations, emails with others in the melanoma community, and, simply, time to reflect brought us to a new decision: no radiation therapy, stop the current oral chemotherapy, and start immunotherapy once we returned from vacation.
I feel good about the decision. Vicki feels better about the decision to go with immunotherapy. And our oncologist assures us that if immunotherapy doesn’t work, we can always go another route.
According to the American Cancer Society, immunotherapy medicines stimulate a person’s own immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively. Several types of immunotherapy can be used to treat melanoma.
Immunotherapy medicines are given intravenously, so that’s another turn in my treatment. Today, I started Keytruda (pembrolizumab), which will help my body fight the melanoma without destroying any existing, healthy (normal) cells.
|A new turn in my journey.|
What About Your Lungs?
Another positive aspect of our decision is that Keytruda will also fight the tiny melanoma tumors in my lungs. There’s no guarantee that they will be completely gone, but our hope is that they continue to stay small, or even shrink a little more.
Thanks, once again, for your thoughts and support. We truly appreciate it. As my treatment journey continues, there will likely be more frequent updates.
|Everyone should have a view like this.|
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