Chris White, Mucosal Melanoma Survivor
Date of Diagnosis: 07/02/2018
Hi, my name is Chris White. I’m currently 4O years old and live in North Dallas. I’m a Stage 4 Anorectal Mucosal Melanoma Survivor. I was diagnosed in July 2018 because I thought I had a hemorrhoid and quickly grew a lump in my groin, which caused me to go get it checked out. Pathology came back as a metastatic form of melanoma.
My local oncologist sent me to MD Anderson to see a specialist, and I went through 18 months of treatment before I entered a clinical trial for TILs. I tried every single form of treatment they had available at the time.
Within that 18 months, I went under anesthesia seven times for five surgeries and had two colonoscopies. I did six rounds of the Ipi/Nivo combo, two rounds of Keytruda, six weeks of CVD chemotherapy, two cycles of Abraxane chemotherapy, and three months of high-dose prednisone use due to the toxicity of the immunotherapy. I was fighting full-blown colitis, and each time I was to taper down from the steroids it would relapse with colitis. The first time I ended up in the hospital, and the second time, I ended up with a nutrition bag hooked up to my port for 23 hours a day for two weeks.
After I recovered from the colitis and did the Abraxane, my doctors at MD Anderson said I was somewhat stable. I was running out of options. They then referred me to a clinical trial for TILs, and so I started the process. Well, I was waiting to be admitted to the hospital for the process after I signed my consent and did my extraction but I was clinically declining and developed a brain metastasis right before I was to be admitted.
I was immediately kicked out of the Trial and told to call hospice and settle my affairs, which was a definite blow to my confidence. The only way to get back in was to get insurance approval and still be scanned by the last day possible to be admitted into the trial because the trial was closing. Within the nick of time, I was able to get insurance approval and got the targeted radiation to combat the brain mets. I got five sessions in four days and then scanned on Christmas Eve, which was the very last day to scan due to the timeline of the trial ending. I had to wait from Christmas Eve till January 3, 2020 for the results, which yielded that I had zero progression, but it was good enough to enter back into the trial. I spent one week doing the chemo depletion to bring my white cell count down to zero, so I can get my immune system ready to be given the TILl immediately followed by six doses of IL-2. I was the very last person to be dosed in this clinical trial. I was released from the hospital on January 20, 2020, and I’ve never done any treatments ever since. Within less than a year, I had a complete metabolic response and exactly one year to the date of being admitted to the hospital for my clinical trial. It was confirmed that I am officially NED, with no evidence of disease.
I think my family for being my immediate caretakers and my positive attitude for a will to live all contributed to my survival.
I’m glad to say, regardless long term side effects and sacrifices I went through to get here, I am just so aesthetically happy to be alive.
Because of my experience, I have shifted my focus toward spreading awareness and being an advocate for Mucosal Melanoma.
Thank you so much for letting me share my story with y’all, and if you have any questions or anything that I can help with, please reach out to me anytime.
Stage 4 Anorectal Mucosal Melanoma Survivor