As most of you know, In the spring of 2017, Steve was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a head and neck cancer. In July of that year, he had major surgery to remove the cancer from his neck, and completed his radiation/chemo treatment in August of 2017. He remained clean for three years after. At that time, it was all so new and frightening that we decided to shoulder it alone with family and a few close friends.
Then this past August, Steve went in for his scheduled 3-year CT scan and it indicated an inflamed nodule in the upper left lobe of his lung. After a biopsy it was determined to be squamous cell carcinoma, the same cancer he had in his neck. It had metastasized. This is a common site where, if it returned, it would find a home. At the time, we were feeling optimistic since we had caught it early, and it appeared to be isolated to the one lobe. As a result, Steve’s oncology team made the decision to remove the upper left lobe of his lung, with the hope of eradicating the cancer for good. Following surgery, Steve had a scan every 3 months to keep an eye on any new growth.
Sadly, after one year of clean scans, the cancer reared its ugly head in Steve’s lower left lobe. After reviewing the various treatment options, Steve decided to try an immunotherapy treatment that sounded incredibly promising. The amazing aspect of immunotherapy is that the drug triggers your T-cells to identify the protein on the cancer cells, thereby only targeting those cells, which make this much more tolerable than the toxic chemo drugs. We were thrilled after his first treatment, that he had no side effects at all. We were hopeful that this would keep his cancer at bay, and he would be able to continue to “live” indefinitely with cancer.
Unfortunately, after 3 months of treatments, and 2 days before Christmas, Steve’s scan revealed that the therapy wasn’t working. The cancer continued to propagate in his lower left lobe. Needless to say, we were very discouraged, but were hopeful that our Plan B would be more effective. Plan B was that Steve would enter a very auspicious Clinical Trial that his oncologist was leading. On that same day we found out the immunotherapy wasn’t working, Steve’s doctor informed us that he did not qualify for the trial due to a particular genome sequence that is required to be effective. Feeling somewhat defeated, we were faced with a decision about chemo treatments that we weren’t prepared for.
We decided it best to share this news and keep everyone updated on CaringBridge for our wide circle of friends and family. Your support and prayers will help carry Steve and our family through these challenging times. As you know, Steve is a positive upbeat fighter. It is the essence of his being. Therefore, he remains very optimistic and positive about conquering this battle. His journey is eased by simply putting his faith in God’s healing hands.