Tomorrow I'll head in to MSKCC for another round of Mercks anti-pd1. It also marks the anniversary of hopefully the first and last time I'll have to take an ambulance ride.
In the spring of 2012 I wasn't feeling great. I had been feeling run down. Getting colds I couldn't shake... I remember feeling weak and faint all the time. I knew something wasn't right. But in my head, thought it could be many things. Was I out of breath because of the missing wedges of my left lung? Was my heart racing so fast because I was out of shape?
I had scans done May 18, 2012. Oddly the week or so before I had been traveling for work. I remember the last day before flying home a coworker saying 'you look yellow'. I just brushed it off as the lighting.
On May 22nd I sat patiently in the exam room for the latest results. I know something wasn't right. The conversation went something like this (at least in my head it's how it went... Stress may have made me remember it differently lol!)
Doc: you look pale, do you feel pale?
Me: no, what does pale feel like? Wait... I'm a melanoma patient...I'm supposed to be pale
Doc: something showed up on your scans, but most importantly... Your hemoglobin is low... Like you only have 1/2 the blood in you a normal person should have! I can't let you leave without a blood transfusion...
That afternoon I'd be taken over by ambulance to the main hospital to get 3 units of blood. I think at one point I had 4-5 doctors all standing around me with stethoscopes on me. All trying to figure out where I was bleeding from and why I hasn't passed out! I remember a nurse telling me later that it showed how strong my body was that I hadn't just collapsed!
At the time I didn't ask to see my scan report. I was too caught up in having to get a blood transfusion. (Which luckily I can say my hemoglobin has been holding strong!!).
Here is what the report said (for those that are curious):
Now I know this is a little bit of a long post. I just wanted to reflect a liftle on that this was 2 years ago! And it's meant 2 years of cancer treatments (zelboraf, ipilimumamb, and now anti-pd1) and one major surgery to remove part of my small intestine, but I'm still here and going strong! Scans continue to show nothing new and what's left stable or shrinking. It's amazing over the short time I've been battling this how much has changed! I'm thankful to have such a great team at Sloan looking after me, access to participate in the Merck MK-3475 clinical trial, and support of my family and friends!
Here's hoping tomorrow is another 'routine' treatment! Scans are coming up June 9th with results @ treatment on June 12th.
Remember to protect the skin you're in! Melanoma is very treatable if caught early... If you haven't done so already - make your annual appointment to see your dermatologist!!