Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Mole Can Change Your Life...

Eric's story begins February 2006.  We noticed an unusual looking mole that developed pretty quickly so he saw our Family Physician for a biopsy.  A week later he received a call from the nurse stating that the biopsy was negative.

In Spring 2008 we noticed that the mole had grown back and was looking a bit "uglier", but he had already had a biopsy so we thought it was ok but it still seemed to concern us.  Toward the end of the summer a friend (who had melanoma before) saw the mole and stressed to us that it needed another biopsy.  Eric saw the doctor (our family doctor) and she took another biopsy and we got the call a week later it was Melanoma...Cancer.

Eric was then referred on to a specialist.  After reviewing the biopsy the specialist was disgusted at the first biopsy.  He said that it was grossly done, in fact two layers of the skin were not included in the biopsy so the results were only the result of testing one layer of the skin.

So the next step was to see a Skin Cancer Reconstructive Surgeon for the Wide Local Excision and an Oncology Surgeon for a Sentinel Node Biopsy to see if the cancer had spread. This would all be done on December 4th.  (Picture above is after the skin graft from removing mole on his ankle.)

So December 4th they do the SNB and the WLE and a week later we get the results...the Lymph Node contained Melanoma. No one can prepare you for that...

He then had a PET Scan to look and see if the cancer had spread to other organs.  So our next step was a Lymph Node Dissection in his groin and a visit with a Medical Oncologist to discuss treatments. Surgery scheduled for December 23rd.

We met with the Medical Oncologist and he recommends 12 months of Interferon. The first four weeks Eric will have a PIC Line through which they will infuse Interferon for approximately an hour 5 days a week. After the four weeks are done he will get injections three days a week for the next 11 months.

On December 23rd, Eric had the LND and a week later we got the results that none of them contained any Melanoma (thank you Jesus). He is considered Stage 3C. He was released a couple of days later. We attended a Chemotherapy Training Class on Tuesday December 30th and Eric became very sick...vomiting and his incision was bulging and beat red. We called the surgeons office and they had him go to the ER. They admitted him on the 30th for infection.  He was hospitalized for almost a week.

In February 2009, Eric began his daily chemo for the next 4 weeks.   Then he did chemo injections for 8 months until we discovered his leg was inflamed with bumps.  He showed them to his oncologist and they did a biopsy.  The news again, the cancer had spread.  He has vascular tumors, tumors in his muscle and lymph nodes.  His tumors have multiplied so fast that he now has over 100 tumors.

The next phase of treatment was to try a new clinical trial that consisted of Abraxane, Avastin and Carboplatin weekly.  After two months of treatment they did scans and the news again was that the cancer has continued to progress.  This treatment has been discontinued and Eric will begin a course of High Dose Interleukin - 2 in February 2010.  This type of chemo is very aggressive and he can become very ill so he will be hospitalized for this treatment.  Before he can begin they need to perform tests on his heart and lungs to make sure he can handle the treatment.

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