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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I'm not sure how to say this...

I just had my first PET scan after starting on this new medication, Keytruda (6 months ago), and it was clean! There are no active cancer tumors. This is the first medication that I have taken that they say could be durable. There was a 6% chance that I would have a complete response. I am in that small percentage!  

Five years ago, when we started this roller-coaster ride, upon hearing the success rates of our few options I was rather discouraged. I told Dr. Urba that I've spent much of my life working with numbers, and I knew that a 3% chance of cure was really a 97% likelihood of death. He came back with, "Yes..., but you could be the one that hits it out of the park!" Well..., he appears to be right. I got the less than 2% response with Zelboraf, Tafinlar and Mekinist, and now the 15% positive response with Keytruda. Keytruda wasn't an option at the time. I feel very blessed.

Dr. Urba told me Monday that the likelihood of durability is higher with a complete response. He indicated that they have a long history (20 years) with IL-2, but not so long with Keytruda, as it is new, maybe some with 3-5 years that were on the early clinicals. But, indications with the other immunotherapies show that there is a greater than 50% chance that it is durable. We have hope that this could be the end of this cancer! What an amazing feeling!! I will continue with the Ketruda infusions every 3 weeks for at least the next 6 months. I will  need to have regular checkups and PET scans for the rest of my life. I will gladly take that option!

We all have a round-trip ticket. I am, as always, in the Lord's hands, nevertheless, those are wonderful hands! The same hands we are all in every day.

Thank you again for all of your good thoughts, faith and prayers. What an amazing journey! I love you all. Moreover, through this, I know that many of you love me. Thank you!