Survivor Stories

Randy Shutter, Stage IV

Date Diagnosed: 03/12/2010

My story started 10 yrs ago when a spot showed up on the back of my left thigh. The bad news is it was there for 2 yrs before I had it looked at. When you hear you have cancer, you think your life will change forever. I was lucky… The spot was removed, margins checked, everything came back clear and life went back to normal. I was being regularly checked and for 3 yrs I was clear.

Then in 2013, my melanoma returned with a vengeance. It had spread from the original spot. Another lump on the front of my left thigh and spread to the lymph nodes in my left groin and abdomen. We had options and chose to do IL-2 treatments. I received 22 doses. Melanoma returned within 6 weeks. I went through another surgery and then a trial of high dose Ipi treatments. I was only able to tolerate 3 doses. Again my melanoma returned. My options were getting fewer. A new drug, Keytruda had just come out of trials in the fall of 2014. So in April of 2015, I started Keytruda. In Sept of 2015, while on Keytruda, melanoma returned once again in a lymph node behind my right ear. We spoke with another specialist who said that the drug was so new that he’d like me to continue a while longer. If this drug stopped working, we had another option. So here we are 56 Keytruda treatments later with no active sign and off treatments for the first time in 5 years.

This has been a journey I would not wish on anyone. It has not been easy. There have been a couple times when I just wanted to get better or get it over with. A high school friend told me: Everything you did as an athlete and Marine has prepared you for this fight. I never stopped working and even started coaching high school track & field again after many years. Working with the young men and women was the best thing for me. I tell people to find your passion and dive in. So make memories every day. But, most of all, remember that every day is a good day!!