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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Second Infusion and feeling better

I had my second infusion yesterday at the Providence Cancer Center. It takes about 4 1/2 hours with two different drugs, blood draws, meeting with our nurse practitioner, etc. So far the only side effect we've noticed is fatigue. So... I slow down a bit and take naps. That I can do!

It seems to me that there is less pain in my hip and shoulder tumors. Maybe the medication is working! I still use my cane to relieve the pressure on my hip joint.  Less pain is a welcome relief!

The tumors we can feel, just below the surface, might be getting smaller. At least they are not getting bigger. We are hopeful.

Thank you for your heartfelt concern, good thoughts, faith and prayers! It's already working!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Keytruda here we come!!

I had my first infusion Friday. It was 1 1/2  hours of IV feeding with an hour break in the middle. The first hour was the clinical trial drug Galectin Inhibitor and the last 30 minutes was the Keytruda. The most common side effect is fatigue - and I got that! I don't have much energy. I sit and lie around most of the day. I have some occasional nausea, but not too bad. We are hopeful that the fatigue means the immune system is busy taking down the cancerous tumors:-) I also still have the pain from a tumor in my left hip which makes me hobble a bit and pain in my left shoulder and a few other places. My feelings seem a bit tender, too.

I am so grateful for all that I have. I have a wonderful wife that helps and supports me through everything!! I love her so much. I have a delightful family, our children and their spouses and their children are just amazing. My mother and sisters are also so supportive and loving as well as their spouses. I have wonderful supportive friends at church and work - I am so amazingly blessed!! I know why I am here on this earth and where I am going afterwards, and I know that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me and has wonderful plans for me. I am blessed in so many ways!!

I hope you have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Is this what it feels like to be a real cancer patient?

My first radiation therapy was Friday on a tumor in my spinal column that is pinching nerves and one in my pelvis also causing pain. Afterward the nurse suggested I take an anti-nausea pill "just in case". I did. She left and the doctor came in. After a few minutes I asked her if the nausea side effect was just that or could it turn into vomiting? She said just nausea. A minute or so later I asked if I did have to throw up where would she like me to do it?  She looked at me, as if to say "Really, I just said that wouldn't happen", but she could see I was serious so she handed me a plastic trash can which I promptly filled!

The doctors involved indicated that the pain might get worse before it got better and they were right! I was amazed. Thanks to Oxycodone for pain relief and an anti-nausea medicine along with ginger bread, ginger ale, ginger chicken, etc., we have made it through. I think this must be more like what real cancer patients go through. The past few years I have been blessed with cancer side effects light.

We have one more radiation session this coming Wednesday and start infusions of Keytruda and GR-MD-02, a Galectin Inhibitor - it sounds like a new Star Wars weapon to restrict the inhabitants of the Galectin Star System. Early on we were told that Keytruda was seeing 40% success rates. Which is true: 40% get positive responses to the infusions but only 15% have complete response and something less than that are durable. But, some are durable! We hope to be in that group!!

Thank you for your faith, prayers and good thoughts. We are sending them back to you as well.

With Love, Faith, Hope and Gratitude,
Mark and Ane