Kay Haldeman-Sinniger

First post: Oct 1, 2022 Latest post: Oct 9, 2023
Hello and welcome to Kay’s CaringBridge site. This site is maintained and updated by her son, Jonathan Haldeman, to help keep Kay’s support network informed on any health updates. Thank you all for your generosity, support, and prayers as we navigate this journey. Please leave messages and notes of encouragement for Kay in the comments section or feel free to contact her directly. A synopsis of her journey is below and I will also try to post updates on a regular basis.

In August 2019 Kay was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, uveal (ocular/eye) melanoma, that originates in the pigmented cells in the eye and is distinct from cutaneious (skin) melanoma. The following month, plaque radiation therapy was performed at Will’s Eye Hospital targeting the tumor in the right eye. This radiation treatment destroyed the primary tumor and follow-up visits since then have found no signs of regrowth of the tumor in the eye.

During the placement of the radioactive plaque, a biopsy of the primary eye tumor was taken and sent for diagnostic testing. The analysis identified biomarkers that correlate with a high risk of metastatic disease (Stage 4) within 2 years of the initial diagnosis. Being identified as a high-risk patient made Kay eligible to enroll in a 1-year clinical rial at Jefferson University testing an adjuvant therapy, Sutent, that was shown in an earlier study to delay the onset of metastatic disease. Kay participated in the trial from November 2019 – October 2020. During this time, she also began a regimen of regular MRI and CT scans to monitor for any signs of metastatic disease.

In May 2021, MRI scans identified a single tumor in the liver. A biopsy confirmed that the tumor was metastatic uveal melanoma. At this time there were no therapies that were approved for the treatment of metastatic uveal melanoma. The small size of the liver lesion (< 1cm) also made Kay ineligible for the open clinical trials. After several months of monitoring the tumor and finding no additional lesions, the decision was made to destroy the tumor using an ablation procedure in August 2021.

After almost a year of clear scans, several new liver lesions were identified in May 2022. While ablation was not an option, the FDA recently approved the first therapeutic for metastatic uveal melanoma, Kimmtrak (aka Tebentafusb; Tebe). In September 2022, Kay began receiving weekly infusions of Kimmtrak and will continue to be monitored by regular scans.