Steven Bienz Steven's Warrior Journey

First post: May 8, 2016 Latest post: Oct 15, 2016

In December 2013, Steven went to his dermatologist to have a mole on his chest looked at that was concerning. Dr. Voss biopsied the site and called us a few days later with the results. We were informed that it was melanoma and were referred to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. On December 23, 2013 Dr. Byrd, Steven's oncologist, removed a large amount of tissue on his left chest and all the sentinel lymphnodes from his left armpit.

For the past two and a half years Steven has been going to his follow up appointments at SCCA and with his dermatologist. In January of 2016, Steven began having stomach issues including food sensitivities and extreme weight loss. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him, even after multiple blood tests and procedures, but diagnosed him with a lactose intolerance.

At the end of April Steven started experiencing bad headaches, nausea, and vision issues in his left eye. Around this time small, hard lumps about the size of frozen peas started appearing on his chest. On Saturday, April 30th Steven starting having intense headaches accompanied by vomiting and vision issues in his left eye.  He went to an urgent care clinic where he was prescribed medication for migraines.

On Sunday, May 1st he lost his peripheral vision in his left eye, the headaches were causing extreme nausea, and even though he kept taking the medication he had been giving there was no relief. The next day he went to work and was incredible pain. His manager ended up driving him to the Emergency Room at Swedish in Edmonds. An MRI was done showing at least 30 brain tumors ranging in size from a small pea to a half dollar. The largest tumor is on his left optical nerve which had been causing the vision issues in that eye. The doctor suspected cancer and referred Steven to the neuro unit at Swedish Cherry Hill. His brain was swollen, he was considered high risk, and was transported via ambulance to the neuro ICU that night.

After numerous tests and a PET scan, Steven was transferred to the oncology unit at Swedish First Hill. The PET scan revealed multiple tumors from his feet to his brain. The diagnosis is Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. While this was a shock to Steven and our family he is ready to battle. There are new treatments called immunotherapies that have had great results for other patients with advanced melanoma. Steven will start whole brain radiation next week as his brain is the first concern, after 2 weeks another MRI will be preformed to access progress. We meet with the Oncologist Wednesday to find out which drugs and when we will start therapy.

We will keep this page updated. We ask for your prayers, thoughts, and support. If you have any questions, please use this page and we will respond as soon as possible.

Thank you. We love you all and appreciate all your support

- Steven's family

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