Thursday, July 11, 2013

Emotions Running High

It has been awhile since, I guess you can say, I was emotionally ready to write anything about my crazy life of all things Melanoma! But this post was needed in so many ways, mainly to get my head straight about all that has transpired in the last few weeks. 

I am just going to back track a little first about my love/hate relationship with my frenemy I call "chemo in a bottle", (to the medical world Zelboraf). You see this friend has been one of those 'people' who tend to treat you very very harshly but in the end seems to be able to shove a big fat 'I told you so' right back in your face and....THANK GOD!! 

I have been on Zelboraf for the last 5 months and as you have probably read, seen or heard me complain LOUDLY I have endured many many side effects while on this drug. However, scan after scan this drug has also proven its point.. hard work does pay off!!!
But now it has come time to say a bittersweet farewell to my friend and I can honestly say, "Zel buddy sorry you will NOT be missed."  

Before I go on to talk about my new adversary.. I know many people are wondering why my doctors suggested a breakup with Zel since he was showing some wonderful results. The reason is simple.. The plan was to only take Zelboraf for a somewhat short amount of time to get my tumors more under control and then to move on to another chemo called Yervoy, which is potentially less harsh on the body. However, my recent great scan results came at just the right time and my Dr. Wonderful was able to secure me a spot in this new clinical trial that has been showing to be extremely successful. 
And they will keep Zelboraf waiting around just in case my tumors need a friendly reminder that they messed with the wrong girl!!! 

So now it's out with the old in with the new...

New Clinical Trial:
Ok bare with me here as I am still learning as well, but the things that I do know about it equally fills me with so much hope and excitement, while utterly scaring the crap out of me!!!

The hope part comes into play in the statistically stand point.. it is WORKING for many people. 
The scared silly part is my whole life for awhile is going to change.. Because the commitment to this trial is HUGE!! Especially for me as I am still planning on working during this time as well.

So the plan is this... I will be involved in a research study that is combining two different types of drugs that has been showing great promise in the Melanoma field, Yervoy(Ipi) and Anti-Pd1. I will start the trial on August 1st after I undergo a few more tests to make sure I officially qualify such as: Chest X-ray, EKG, blood work, and a Brain MRI. And then once I am approved the schedule will be as follows: *All appts. will be at Memorial Sloan in Manhattan

Week 1: Blood work, meet with Dr., get an infusion of Ipi, get infusion of Anti-pd1
Week 2: Blood work, meet with RN
Week 3: Blood work, meet with RN
Week 4: Blood work, meet with Dr., get an infusion of Ipi, get infusion of Anti-pd1

Repeat this cycle 3 more times.

Week 12: Scans

Week 13: Blood work, meet with Dr., get infusion of Anti-pd1 only

Week 14: break

Week 15: Blood work, meet with Dr., get infusion of Anti-pd1 only

Week 16: break

Repeat this cycle for 2 years until either medicine stops working, side effects become too severe, or I become NED(no evidence of disease) and I decide I need a break!! 

SO basically to sum it up for the first 12 weeks I will need to go in once a week for blood work and/or treatment. After that I will go in once every two weeks for blood work and treatment.

My biggest obstacle and the one that is giving me the most inner turmoil at the moment is my job. It you don't already know teaching is my life.. it's my passion.. and I am not ready to give it up. It is the one part of my life that truly takes me out of my forever stay at "Hotel Melanoma" and makes me feel like I am just a normal underpaid..hehe teacher!!

However, and I KNOW I have mentioned this in the past, my principal and co-workers have been amazing through this journey so far and I am in GREAT hopes that something can be worked out.. Where as I will be able to get another 'combo treatment' of a mixture of my normal life and my life LIVING with Cancer.

Thanks for reading and holding my hand once again on this crazy journey. I love you ALL and remember PLEASE PLEASE WEAR SUNSCREEN!!


  1. Hope you can make it work-job plus treatments! Sounds heavy!

  2. Julie I miss you and I am so glad you are doing so well! I'm so happy and excited for your healthy future, you're an inspiration! Love you!

  3. Hi Julie, I just got reading through a few of your posts and I had a quick question about your blog. I am involved in the cancer community and was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance. Thanks! - emilywalsh688(at)