In 2010, I had an odd looking mole on the inside of my knee. Within a week of getting it looked at, I was at St. Joseph's Hosipital in Orange getting filleted open in three different areas. My sentinel lymph nodes came back clean. The operation was a success and the cancer seemed to be locally abated. I went through rigorous follow up exams by three different doctors every 4 months for the first year and once a year after that.
I was training this spring to do the Camp Pendelton Marine Corp Mud Run and found a knot in my leg. At first I thought I hurt myself. Then it dawned on me that it was upstream from where I had it the original tumor removed. After a series of appointments, I found that I had a tumor in my leg that was 17mm by 13 mm and it had spread through my lymph nodes into my lungs and liver. At first the news was sickening. My blood pressure was 180 over 130 as I had not been able to sleep for days. Dr. Jakowatz at the UCI Medical Center recommended me to a couple different oncologiists. He also said, "What are you worried about? You have this and you need to get it treated. It sucks and nobody likes it. It is like taxes and you are just going to have to deal with it."
I have been receiving immunology treatments per the care of Dr. Steven O'Day at the Beverly Hills Cancer Center. I cannot speak more highly of Dr. O'Day or of the wonderful care of everyone at that center. I feel very fortunate to be where I am. After finishing my 4 rounds of Yervoy infusions, the CT scans showed my nodules in my lungs and lesions on my liver to be shrinking. The tumor in my leg however was enlarged. The Yervoy will have a sustained durable effect progressively gaining strength for up to 3 to 4 months. I would have either waitied and go through additional CT scans in 6-9 weeks or start a trial of PD1. I figured if I was going to be a bear, I was going to be a grizzly. Hence, I went with the PD1 trial.
I will be getting my third infusion of PD1 on September 15th. They purposely left the tumor in my leg to serve as a benchmark to see how I am reacting to the infusions. By touch, which is subjective, it seems to be signficantly smaller. We shall see in October when I get my last infusion and then another run of CT scans. I remain optimistic that I will beat this. I feel very fortunate to be receiving these state of the art treatments with such great care from Dr. O'Day and the Beverly Hills Cancer Center. Stay strong and vigilant!