02/25/1950 — 12/19/2012
My husband Gary was originally diagnosed with melanoma by a mole biopsy from his left side in September 2011. Toward the end of Oct 2011, he went in for SLNB, which was positive (now Stage II). He had surgery on Dec. 8, 2011, to remove the tumor (Clark level 5) along with 15 lymph nodes in his left groin (two were positive). During the surgery, he received “tape burns” (second degree burns), which had to heal before he could start any type of treatment.
Fast forward to the beginning of March 2012, he began his first round of radiation along with Temodar. After 20 days of radiation/Temodar, his oncologist said, “It’s not working.” Um, we could tell since the skin mets were spreading like wild fire. Next they tried Zelboraf. Full dose for 3 weeks, reduced to half dose for 2 weeks then resumed full dose again for 1 more week. More scans, not working (mets still spreading and getting larger). Next he had a needle-guided biopsy of left arm pit … positive, now Stage III. Okay, let’s try Yervoy for two infusions. After second one, more scans. It had spread to both lungs, both kidneys, and liver. Now Stage IV.
Next doc tries a combo chemo for three infusions (3 weeks on/ 1 week off). After third infusion, he needed meds to bring up blood counts. Two weeks later, he still has low blood counts. He has another scan, mel still growing & spreading. On Dec. 4, 2012, doc says they can’t do anything else but will see if he qualifies for clinical trial. Said it was unlikely, but he’d check. Next appointment doc just wants to check blood counts. Dec. 11, 2012, doc says he may make it to the holiday, but not likely.
Dec. 19, 2012 @ 4:40 p.m. God called my Gary Home. By the time this was over, the melanoma had spread on his skin surface from his left knee up his body to just below his clavicle. It was from his back left side crossing over to his right side at his stomach and then down the groin area to his right thigh.
Valerie Rascoe, wife