Steve’s Story

Site created on December 6, 2019

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.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Julia Sweeney

Happy 30th Anniversary to us!  What a journey - and we are fighting for many more. 🙏 

Updates -- Steve had his scheduled scan and appointment with his oncologist on the 14th.  He is still showing signs of the pneumonitis -- thus will have to continue on the steroids.  He started at 70 grams for 7 days, then 60 for 7 etc. with a taper down to 0.  He moves to 30 g tomorrow -- so  just over the halfway point.  He is scheduled for another scan on February 14th.

If the scan shows all clear -- then he can resume immunotherapy.  If scan shows continued pneumonitis -- then we have to discuss next steps, as he will not be able to continue on immuno.  We don't think they will add new treatments into his regimen at this time -- rather wait and see if the cancer remains as is, or if it begins to grow again.  So -- we are in a holding pattern for now. 

Steve has been an incredible trooper.  He continues to do several 2-4 mile hikes regularly - it feels good to keep moving.  He has struggled with a lot of dental work as well -- another side effect of the immuno.  He remains positive!

Having all of the kids home for Christmas was beyond fabulous and the perfect medicine for the soul.  Katelyn, Tristan, Sophie and Zoe were incredibly present the entire time.  We enjoyed playing games constantly (check out Disney Villainous and Blank Slate) watching movies, winter hikes and delicious meals.  We even took on the YouTube "Hot Ones" challenge with wings and an insane Scoville scale of heat.  Super fun - we even did the interview questions as well.  :)

Alas, as today is our anniversary, we were supposed to be in a townhouse in Paris.  Instead, we will be having a delicious french cooked meal at home -- soft to chew as Steve has more dental work today.  :) 

Happy Inauguration Eve all!  Here's to continued hope.

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