26 Jun Lana’s Story
In the Summer of 2013, I nicked a mole on my right calf while shaving; It bled a bit, but I didn’t think anything of it. I have always been covered head to toe in freckles and moles, and I had suntanned when I was younger, so I agreed to get a skin examination. The Doctor I went to decided it would be best to apply liquid nitrogen and burn the mole off. This procedure resulted in a keloid, which would eventually be diagnosed as melanoma in January, 2014. Two weeks later, the mole and surrounding lymph nodes were removed, revealing that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I began taking interferon and radiation treatments. Aside from some side effects, I responded positively to the interferon; however, the radiation prevented my surgery wound from healing. After three extremely painful debridements, a vacuum was placed over my wound for ten months to help it heal.
After my interferon treatments ended my wound healed quickly, and I was optimistic. However, my six month checkup revealed that the melanoma had returned and metastasized to my lungs. I began receiving the drug Nivolumab, which I was scheduled to take for two years. In the following months, more tests would reveal that the cancer had metastasized to my breasts, skin, and my brain. I had begun taking the combination trial of Ipilimumab and Nivolumab in four cycles every three weeks, which demonstrated positive effects on my lung and brain lesions. Since October 19th, 2016, I have been on maintenance treatment of Nivolumab every two weeks, and my most recent CT scan in April showed a complete response!