My name is Brett and I was diagnosed with Stage 2 melanoma in April of 2012. I had a mole on my left calf that started turning black and my wife told me I should have it checked out. I made an appointment with my doctor and he performed a punch biopsy on the mole. Within a few days, I got a call from my doctor that he needed to see me. When I arrived at his office, he told me I had malignant melanoma. He referred me to a surgeon and I had a wide excision of left calf and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy on my left groin. The SNLB came back clean.
In April of 2014, I noticed a lump in my left groin area. I went to see my doctor and she ordered an ultrasound to see what might be going on. With the results, she referred me to a surgeon. The surgeon performed an excisional biopsy that confirmed the melanoma had spread to my lymph nodes in my groin. I went to see the local Oncologist, who with consultation from Mayo Clinic, recommended I have a complete Lymph Node Dissection of the left groin area. At this point, I knew I had to find someone that specialized in melanoma. I did a lot of research on melanoma clinics and was intrigued with MD Anderson in TX. I was able to self refer myself to MD Anderson and within five days I was on my way to Houston, TX. I first met with Dr. Wen-Jen Hwu. She referred me to Dr. Anthony Lucci to look at Lymph Node Dissection as the primary option to stop the spread of melanoma. I met with Dr. Lucci and it was decided LND was the best option at that time. Dr. Lucci had performed hundreds of groin dissections, so I felt comfortable with him performing the surgery. I had surgery on 29 Apr 2014 and remained in the hospital for five days to recover. It was a pretty rough recovery from surgery. My leg will never quite be the same but I'm managing with the help of a great Physical Therapist. Since the surgery, I have had a PET-CT scan and a brain MRI in mid-July. The brain MRI was clear but the PET scan showed the melanoma had spread yet again. I now have tumors in my liver, lungs and bones. I again met with Dr. Hwu and she decided to test me for the BRAF mutation. A couple weeks later the results confirmed a BRAF600V mutation. I again traveled to Houston and met with Dr. Hwu. She suggested I start taking targeted therapy drugs Dabrafenib and Mekinist. I have been taking Dabrafenib and Mekinist for approx 6 weeks. The first month was okay, no side effects. The last two weeks I've had some of the worst headaches I've ever had. I've also been running a low grade fever up to 100.5 at times and have been extremely fatigued lately. Dr. Hwu seems to think the symptoms are a result of side effects from Dabrafenib and Mekinist. I was just wondering if anyone has taken or is taking Debrafenib and/or Mekanist and have had any of these side effects. I will be traveling back to Houston to complete CT scan and Brain MRI on 16 Sep. Crossing my fingers the tumors are at least shrinking.