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My story began in July 2015 when I found a spot on the back of my head that wouldn't heal. I was diagnosed with melanoma and had a scalp resection and a sentinel lymph node biopsy. The biopsy was clean and the recommended course of action was to observe and scan at regular intervals.
In October of that same year, I found a node in my neck. The doc recommended that I have a neck dissection to remove all the nodes on that side, which I did. The one I had felt was indeed melanoma. They then recommended that I start on an immunotherapy treatment, Yervoy, in January, 2016. I was supposed to have four treatments, but I only made it through three because the side effects were so bad. I was put on Prednisone to help counteract those side effects. I had many problems trying to ramp down on the Prednisone, but I did have clean scans, so I concentrated on trying to wean myself off the Prednisone.
Until November of 2016. I had a ct scan which showed something near my trachea, which turned out to be melanoma. On my birthday, January 10, I went in to have a thoracic surgeon remove that bit of melanoma. However, when she went in with a scope, she detected melanoma covering the pleura and couldn't remove the spots near the trachea. The next recommended treatment was Keytruda, which we started in January 2017. On Friday, May 5, I will have my sixth treatment of Keytruda. Although I have not experienced negative side effects from the Keytruda, the diseased pleura is irritating the chest cavity and much extra fluid has built up. So on April 6, I had a PleurX chest tube inserted so that we could drain the chest cavity at home. That became clogged, there have been many issues and I have had three hospital stays in April 2017.
Consequently, we have decided to seek other opinions and are traveling to Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in order to see their melanoma team on Monday, May 8. We hope that they will have a course of action that will help end this nightmare. We appreciate all prayers, thoughts and positive juju!