Welcome to Rollie's CaringBridge website. He was diagnosed with Merkel Cell Carcinoma in the fall of 2016 with a primary tumor on his nose. Following surgery to remove the tumor, the cancer spread to his cheek in early 2017. He had a second surgery followed by radiation, which he completed in May. The main side effects of the radiation were dry mouth and a loss of ability to taste food, and he has slowly been regaining the ability to taste over the summer. At this point he will happily tell you that he is able to enjoy a few bites of a variety of foods at every meal, including the occasional old fashioned along with his favorite chocolate malted milks. In early October a combination PET/CT scan confirmed that the Merkel cell has spread into the bone in his shoulder blade. He will begin immunotherapy treatment in late October and will receive infusions every two weeks -- his doctors expect to know by the end of the year whether he is one of the roughly one third of patients whose cancer responds to the treatment. If so, he'll continue receiving infusions every two weeks indefinitely until the cancer stops responding to it. There are no known cures for Merkel cell carcinoma so we are hopeful he will respond well to the immunotherapy. He will continue to have scans every two months to monitor the status of the cancer and I will update this site as his treatment continues.
Thank you for supporting Rollie and Lois! We are committed to managing life with this cancer as well as it can be done and we very much appreciate all of you.