March 6, 2018
2018… here we are! By the end of this year, I turn 50! Aaaaaaand… we’re quickly coming up on five years since I hit the floor of the studio in full seizure. Five years since we learned of my stage IV diagnosis. 2018… This year is kind of a big deal. To give you some idea of just how big a deal this really is, I’ve pulled up a survival statistic from the year I was diagnosed as “stage IV metastatic melanoma with multiple brain and lung lesions”. —— “Patients with brain metastases have significantly worse progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and overall prognosis than patients with no brain metastases. The median overall survival (OS) in a large retrospective review of 702 patients with brain metastases was about 4 months and brain metastases contributed to the death of over 90% of the patients. ” 4 months. I was 44 years old when this hit. Statistically speaking, I shouldn’t have made it ONE year… not even to my 45th birthday, let alone hit the FIVE year survival mark and see my 50th birthday. Booyah bitches. I say BOOYAH! Thankfully, we never asked any of the docs for a potential expiration date, and they never considered offering one. We all knew, plenty well, that this did not carry a good prognosis. However, my docs also knew that research had shown better ways to attack this cancer, and even more treatment options were in the works.
2013 — Brain surgery #1, gamma knife (twice that year), 4 infusions of Yervoy
2014 — Gamma knife (seven times that year), 4 months of “Mike’s magic pill”, subcutaneous lesion excised, a lung lobe removed, and 2 infusions of Keytruda
2015 — Brain surgery #2, Keytruda infusions every 3 weeks
2016 — Gamma knife (ugh… damn it… round 10), Keytruda infusions to July (ugh… damn it… pancreatitis and arthritis force us to “take a break”)
2017 — 3 skin biopsies (2 clear, 1 “atypical”)
2018 — I’ve got my eyes on you 2018… “Vigilance to remain within the mathematical confines of the constantly updating survival plateau statistics”. Oh, and… we’re still on that “taking a break” from Keytruda thing. Ha!
BRAIN: Tech talk — No evidence of disease progression, with stable 2 mm enhancing lesion in the left occipital lobe. No new enhancing lesions. Soooo… “Joey” is still kickin’ it up there in the left occipital. Lone wolf up there. Perhaps he’ll get bored one day and just go away.
BODY: Shortest CT report EVER. Tech talk — Stable 9 mm focus of suspected probably scarring right lower lobe. Stable 1.8 cm pancreatic tail cyst. Hmmmmm… no intussusception and no ovarian cysts. What what? NO ovarian cysts? Not even one? Ok… now I’m starting to wonder if this dude even looked at the imaging. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be utterly jazzed to find that I’ve run out of the wee eggs that cause these very regular cysts… buuuuuut… I had a very angry uterus last week, proving that is not quiiiiite yet the case! **Note to Ma Nature… Anytime now sister. I’ve been done with these parts for 27 years now.**
Having my head examined again in late April, but we don’t check the body guts until June.
Soooooooo… 5 years of stage IV diagnosis, my 50th birthday, AND my radiation oncologist (aka “brain genius”) hits 50 too! Did I mention that I recently learned the snot nosed young whipper snapper is actually somewhere between 4 days to 4 weeks YOUNGER than me!? This highly respected genius individual, in whom I’ve fully confided “control” and care of my brain…… Good gracious… I’m his elder!!! While I find myself a bit heartbroken about being “the old lady” of this great ’68 pairing, I must also admit to enjoying it a little. After all, as the baby of the family, I never had a younger sibling to pick on. This leaves me with a few questions……….
3) Who’s throwing a big ol’ year end party? We’ve got some sh** to celebrate!