May 27, 2016 Latest post:
Nov 15, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.
Ellen was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma in May of 2016. The 2nd half of 2016 she underwent immunotherapy of nivo/ipilimumab combo therapy, which had some effect of stalling the disease, but she also developed auto-immune hepatitis and stopped treatment. In February 2017 the tumor on her chest/clavicle was growing rapidly, and she underwent a clinical trial of Keytruda in combination with a direct injection into the tumor. A reaction to this treatment, low cortisone, and drugs given to increase her blood pressure caused a cytokine storm reaction and DIC. She has spent the period of March through October 2017 recovering from this (healing leg wounds and losing fingertips). In October 2017, despite the majority of the interior tumor masses becoming necrotic, the melanoma became active again, growing around the perimeter of the chest and liver tumors, and appearing in her abdomen, back, and brain. We zapped four spots in the brain via GammaKnife on Halloween, and underwent chemotherapy to address the progression in the other areas.
Ellen enjoyed her final months, traveling (of course) through October, and with family and friends through the holidays, especially celebrating her birthday at home on December 17th. Ellen passed away on December 24, 2017. She was surrounded by family and at peace.