Hi! I went to Chicago today for an appointment with Dr. Richards. He looked at the CT scans I took last week and reported that my tumors had remained surprisingly stable over the last six weeks. Some had grown a little, some had shrunk a little, and some had stayed the same. The best news is that the suspicious spots in my lungs appear to have gone away. The worst news is that a 5 x 5.5 cm mass in my liver has grown to 5 x 13 cm. This explains why I have been experiencing acute pain in my right shoulder. Evidently this mass is pressing on nerves that run up to my right shoulder, causing sudden sharp pain sensations in that part of my body. Dr. Richards said he suspects that this mass is probably evidence of a tumor hemorrhage (a unique characteristic of melanoma lesions is that they are known to bleed), which is neither positive nor negative. The tumor may bleed because it's growing or because it's dying. Either way, he suspects that the enlarged mass is mostly a puddle of blood and not cancer. Dr. Richards said the bleeding will stop on its own and he wasn't especially worried about it.
As a result of all this, I will be resuming my antiCTLA-4 trial on Wednesday. This is good news. Not only is the medication (called ipilimumab) easy on my body, it also is proving to be more effective than doctors initially thought. Being able to get back into the trial is probably the best news I have received from a doctor this year. It certainly gives me hope that maybe we will be able to get this cancer under control. I will post another blog after my infusion on Wednesday to let you know how it goes.
In other news, Kelly starts her new job tomorrow. I can't wait to hear how it goes!