18 January 2015

Happy New Year! Still Undefeated...

Another year is in the books.  This year had some ups and downs.  Health wise it's been a pretty good year!  (Other than a partial calf tendon tear and strain!).  The lows of the year were the loss of my grandpa Youngerberg in June and my stepdad Steve the week before Thanksgiving.  (and 2 beloved family bulldogs).

I'm a little behind in sharing my 2014 review.  I started these videos a few years ago after a tough year of dealing with Melanoma.   I wanted to share with others that even though you're going thru surgeries, and treatments, and other dealing with Melanoma, never give up hope and keep living and enjoying life!   The song I used was Chris Daughtry's song Undefeated.  His line about "You can knock me down with body blows, but you cannot break my hope' felt appropriate.

I won't say that this journey is ever easy, and sometimes we feel a little survivors guilt when others don't make it (there were several Melanoma warriors lost this year... a cure is still needed).  It's amazing to see how many new drugs have been approved since I was diagnosed in 2010, but for some they come too late.

Here's to another healthy (boring patient) year!

Summary: a few highlights to go with video

January:  I hit 1 full year on Merck's anti-pd1 trial with minimal side effects and great results.  NJ/NY hosted the Super Bowl and had some great events (although it was so COLD!!)
February: After having some friends visit for the Super Bowl, I hopped on a jet plane to meet friends in Russia for the 2014 Winter games in Sochi!  It was such a great experience!!
March: another round of scans results back in - stable minimal residual disease!
April: Not a whole of exciting things going on.  Work travel trips and participating in the Melanoma International Foundation's Safe from the Sun walk.
May: I did my part for Skin Cancer awareness month by participating in several interviews and videos.  I also made it back to Milwaukee with my awesome friends for the Block Melanoma walk at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
June: This month had some ups and downs.  My scans were once again good - no interval change, stable minimal residual mesenteric disease.  But with that also came the loss of my Gramps Youngerberg.
July: I was able to make it back home for a family reunion on my mom's side. Great seeing so many extended family members and love the support with their Team Erin hats!  Also turned another year older!
August: This month was a pretty uneventful month.  Some more work travel, visits from some good friends!   Also attended the US Open!  If only I knew more about Tennis...  
September: this month came with some major change!  Scans were once again great!  Amazing how quickly 3 months goes...  And the trial I have been on officially got FDA approval!  During this month I also left my job to start a new job.  With that came more work travel (and personal travel) so the pups took a trip to Minnesota!  I miss them terribly, but know that it's best for them!  (Thanks family for taking them in!)
October: More travel: trip to Arizona to visit Sedona and Grand Canyon with my friend Marie, a few days in Orlando for a conference (and my first visit to Disney World), and New Orleans for a Packers game with the crew!
November: More ups and downs this month.  While thankful to get to spend so much time with my family, sad about the unexpected loss of my Step-dad Steve.  Scans again, and thankful for more good results - no suspicious findings!  Unchanged nodes - probably treated disease!
December: more time home for the holidays!  Only major health issue for the year are a few colds and a pulled calf muscle!

30 December 2014

Another Drug approved for treatment of Melanoma

The FDA has approved another drug for the treatment of advanced melanoma. When I was first diagnosed in 2010, options for treating melanoma were very few. A diagnosis of stage 4 came with statistics of less than 50% of patients living 1 year. While it still sucks, it's amazing to see all these new treatments being approved! Next month will be 2 years of me being on Mercks anti-pd1 (that got FDA approval in Sept). I've had great results - nothing new or growing for 2+ years. 
.... "Opdivo is the seventh new melanoma drug approved by the FDA since 2011,” said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.  

Prior to 2011, it had been 13 years with no advancement in the treatment of Melanoma.  Hopefully getting closer every day to a cure!
Still here and going strong!  I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  

24 December 2014

'Twas the night before Christmas...

From my family to yours - may you have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Enjoying some time back home in Minnesota for the holidays!   


18 December 2014

Same treatment, different day...

I know lots of folks say this, but does it feel like the older you get the faster time flies by?!! 

And this in every 3 weeks goes fast!   It's very routine these days (I don't even remember what dose # I'm on these days!)!  Blood work looked good.  Blood pressure right about where it needs to be!  Pluse was racing.   I think it's because I seem to have messed up my calf muscle (more to come on that once I fugure out what's going on!!) so it took a lot of energy to walk to my appointment today! 

It was a beautiful day :).  The seagulls were all just hanging out watching the world go by!  Of course until I disturbed them with pictures lol!  

A brief moment to reflect... Hard to believe that in January I will have been in this trial 2 years!   It was about this time 2 years ago I was feeling my worst!  Increase pain in the tumors in my lymph nodes in my abdomen, neuropathy symptoms from taking Yervoy, the worst anxiety/panick attacks I've ever experienced!  Seems like forever ago!  That was the last time I got bad scan results! 

Hope everyone had a fantastic day!  And ready for the holidays!!  


27 November 2014

Scan results in!

A quick post.  I have some other updates to provide also...

3 month scans yesterday - still show nothing new or growing!   January will mark 2 years of the trial and good scans.  

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!!

19 November 2014

Another football Sunday

I was in Milwaukee last weekend to visit some college friends and head to the Green Bay packers game!   Apparently I have switched from being a life long Vikings fan to a Green Bay packers fan.  :).  

It's always great to spend time with some awesome college friends!   And the packers totally dominated over the Eagles!  (Oh yeah...  And the seats weren't too bad either! Thanks Lisa!)

Hope everyone has a fabulous thanksgiving!

08 November 2014

Saturday morning ABC's...

Acupuncture, brunch, and coffee (with a swing thru Central Park!)

Last weekend I thought, I'll take it easy!   Apparently I don't really know how to do that!   I've been fighting either fall allergies/sinus infection for the last few weeks.  It may be a combination of both (plus either NYC air quality or keytruda have given me constant sinus issues!).  

Anyway, to help I get acupuncture.   So I got up early to head in to the city!  I figured since I was up and there it would be nice to meet a friend for brunch!  So I strolled from the upper east side to the upper west side - conveniently through Central Park!   This really is one of my favorite spots in NYC any time of the year.  

It was a bit chilly but a beautiful, sunny, fall day in the park!  See the following pictures:

A rosebud in Shakespeare's garden

Every time I venture in the park I find something new 
Fabulous fall day!
Belvedere castle

Always well worth the walk thru the park!
Hope everyone has a great weekend!  Off to Wisconsin for a friends birthday and another packers game!   


Ps - for those keeping track, I did have treatment last Thursday (nov 6th)!  All still looking good.  Scans coming up in the 21st!