Women: We get one thing, we want another.
I received a phone call today that changed things once again! A research nurse from Sloan Kettering called and said that I am actually not disqualified from the clinical trial. Since the melanoma was an in-situ, I am still able to participate. I will be closely monitored by my dermatologist, and it will be noted in the research that I was diagnosed with an in-situ 1 year and 9 months after beginning the trial.
At first all I felt was relief! I was not being fired! (OK, I can be a drama queen. It felt like they were saying, Hey! You aren't healthy enough anymore! Get out!) Now I'm wondering what my doctor is going to suggest on Friday. I'm on a clinical trial to see if the drug will prevent melanoma from spreading, yet I was diagnosed with a new primary.
Is it common for melanoma patients to have multiple primaries? Do I continue on this trial even though whatever I'm getting is obviously not working since melanoma showed her ugly face again? Is the drug (ipilimumab) even supposed to keep our bodies from developing a new primary or does it attack the internal organs?
I turned to Google for answers. According to Cancer.Gov, "Risk of a second primary melanoma following diagnosis of a first primary
melanoma is approximately 5% and is greater for males and older
patients.") Um, I'm not a man, and I'm not old. What does this say about me?
I can't help but remember how "unusual" my doctors said my case is. There's the age factor: my first oncologist was amazed at how young I am, my second oncologist told me I'm his youngest patient. I have no family history. According to my first oncologist, melanoma only had a 10% chance of spreading to my lymph nodes, yet it did. Melanoma was found in lymph nodes on both sides of my body which is apparently very unusual. And now I have this new primary.
I'm a mysterious woman.
I just hope my oncologist has some answers for me on Friday, including boring scan results!