Posted by pattyacosupdate on:
It never seems that it could happen to you and them it does. From a life long mole on top of her head that turned ink black in mid-June to 3 surgeries in July (bilateral malignant lymph node removal at the neck and ears and scalp patch, Patty is fighting malignant melanoma. Our SB physician recommended St John's Health Center in Santa Monica as an excellent and experienced facility for surgery oncology. That proved true as Dr. Essner carefully excised numerous lymph nodes from Patty's neck and ears during the month of July.
After surgery a regimen of chemotherapy is typically planned....sometimes lasting for 1 year of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off medication.
The challenge with melanoma is finding the appropriate oncologist to administer a chemo that works for you. Since success with melanoma chemotherapy is around 1 in 5 (20%), the first choice is important.....there may not be a second choice. So, during July and early August, Jim chased down many leads researching, talking with melanoma survivors, listening to others about the pros and cons of clinical vs. research oncologists.
So far, Patty's spirit has been indomitable. With Jameson and Julianna living in DC, a trip to Mammoth in early August was a boost. Unfortunately, in mid August the tumors came back to her neck, creating an urgency for action. Surgery again is ill-advised due to recovery time and subsequently delay in initiating chemotherapy. An interview with Dr. Ribas at UCLA proved fruitful but the opportunity to enter a program at the National Institute of Health (NIH), the best research hospital in the world led us back to DC last week. After numerous tests and scans, it was determined we needed to remain in the watchful care of Dr. Ribas at UCLA ....at least for now.
Once the melanoma is arrested with Dr. Ribas (months), we will likely return to DC to have Dr. Rosenberg and his team essentially rebuild Patty's entire immune system.
Optimism and taking one day at a time are simple thoughts for the day. Thx for everyone's love and support