Late February of 2012 Mark was diagnosed with stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma Cancer. This is written for our family and friends who have so caringly expressed a desire to know of the current situation. We so appreciate the love and support that has been shown to us and we lovingly empathize with and pray for many of you that have had or are currently going through trials of your own. In love, hope and faith, Mark and Ane

Friday, July 6, 2012

Challenges, but Life is Good - by Mark

More hair loss and skin cancer removals, limited energy but lots of gratitude as we pass the four-month mark since diagnosis.  We have had some wonderful times with our children (a Caribbean cruise), a fun 4th of July, and yesterday Ane and I celebrated 34 years together.  Life is good and we are happy!!!
The monthly checkup on July 2nd with Dr. Urba, our Oncologist, was educational but not as encouraging.  His patient that has been on Zelboraf, the medication we are on, for 16 months has just relapsed with lots of cancer of a more aggressive type.  We mentioned that we thought he said there was a potential cure of about 2-3 %.  He looked puzzled and indicated that this drug was just a stall, not a cure.  He also was concerned that if the cancer comes back more aggressively there may not be enough time to do the next treatments, Interleukin II and Yervoy.  He also discussed the clinical trials that were in process with the combined Interleukin II and radiation and said they were not going as well as the pre-trials had indicated.  Additionally, we asked about the new drug that just came out last month and he indicated that it was not a cure either and did not have as good of a response as the Zelboraf, so he wouldn’t recommend it.  All in all, the doctor was upbeat, but clearly not expecting a cure just a bit more time.  That was not as encouraging as the last visit. 
My heart has been in A-Fib or A-Flutter for over 2 months now.  The medications have slowed the pace and helped it be a bit more regular, but have also caused unpleasant side effects and can cause other long-term issues. Dr. Urba would like to shock the heart back into regular rhythm, but that can’t be done unless the tumor is gone.  Next month’s visit will follow another echocardiogram so we can see what has happened inside my heart. 
Good news – I’ve lost the weight that I’ve wanted to lose for a long time!  We’re still following a mostly plant based diet, juicing, and doing whatever we can to be healthy.
We are still hopeful and are pursuing a path of: prepare for the worse and plan and pray for a cure.  We are so grateful for the many prayers and good thoughts that have been offered by you and others.  We believe it has and will make the difference.