A hearty hello to friends and family who are visiting our CaringBridge site. We are starting to share here at the recommendation of our medical oncologist - so here goes, we figured transparency is the best path forward. Thank you all for the good vibes, prayers and support!
By way of background, Steve visited his general practitioner, Mary Ellen Ritchie (who is amazing btw) the week before Halloween for laryngitis. They ran a standard lung scan and on Halloween afternoon, we learned that they had found a 10cm mass. From there Steve underwent a series of tests; scans; MRI's etc.
It has been determined that Steve has Stage IV metastatic lung cancer, having traveled to other areas including his shoulder and spine. We are now with the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Fantastic team of oncologists!
Steve started radiation therapy for pain management the week of Thanksgiving, and finishes up December 11th. That was to simply help reduce the two largest tumors in lung and spine and help alleviate any discomfort.
We learned yesterday that his biopsy revealed he tested extremely well for the PDL-1 marker, which indicates that he should respond well to immunotherapy! This was great news to us -- as this is cutting edge therapy and the results are phenomenal. He will begin this treatment 1x every 3 weeks. If he responds well -- then no Chemo! If not, then we will move to Chemo in concert with Immuno -- Chemo for 4 sessions and Immunotherapy indefinitely.
So here we are -- ready to celebrate the Christmas Holidays with more Joy than ever! He will have three weeks of no treatments -- thus will be looking forward to making his famous Bloody Mary's and having a beer or two with friends and family. His humor is at it's best! So no doom and gloom -- we are ready to ring in the New Year with positive spirits and continued good vibes from our tribe. Love you all.
I hope everyone had a safe holiday season. Now let's catch up.
December proved to be quite the roller coaster for Steve/us. He had a worrisome CT scan that indicated possible disease progression. He then underwent a PET scan as well as another brain MRI December 9th. Thankfully the tests came back negative for any growth - which is positive!
We remain on course -- and can't believe that we are closing out on two years of immunotherapy treatment. Next Wednesday, the 19th, will be his last treatment. The course for immuno is a two year run, and we have learned that it is rare for a patient to actually complete the full two years. Steve has battled and will continue to do so. He will receive scans every three months to monitor the disease.
Is he cancer free? No. However he/we have been able to enjoy a wonderful quality of life despite the diagnosis. We will keep you posted -- and thanks for all of the support.