Kevin Brooks, Stage IV
My name is Dr. Kevin Brooks and I am now 62 and 5 months. I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma in 2016. Kind of hard to believe it has been that long. I knew the score when diagnosed. I am British born and grew up in Florida. Played baseball all my life and was in the sun after that as a golfer….but I have had at least 38 skin surgeries that required sutures. Five of which were melanoma. My treatment was up to date. But was fortunate, by the grace of God, to be lead to Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Where after further tests, I was found to have none of the known markers. We elected to do both Opdivo, and Yervoy at the same time.
After my third treatment, my liver became toxic and I truly felt like dying. But a round of steroids got me better fast. I was removed from more treatment until my liver recovered. But the pet scan showed no sign of tumors or activity. My wife and I didn’t know how to react. But soon we celebrated. After 3 rounds of Keytruda, I chose to stop treatment as it made me uncomfortable. I felt it was overkill. Soon I developed terrible stomach and colon ulcers and didn’t eat much. I found myself waking from a 2 to 3-week stay in the hospital, feeling great. Lost 70 lbs. but was alive and starving. I had had meningeal meningitis, but after 3 months fully recovered.
I am retired and miss my patients and my practice, but am thrilled to be an example of new therapies! My wife and I travel with friends and family. I tell everyone I can, when appropriate, about immunotherapy. My next appointment is tomorrow and I am looking forward to a good result again. I am reminded though about what my parents said when I revealed my diagnosis. They looked at me and said, “You will be fine.” I said you realize the severity of this. And they said, ”You don’t lose. You hate to lose.” So attitude is huge! Carry on fighting.