Melanoma in families - who's at risk?

Robert said in his initial email to family and friends about his melanoma that it was a risk factor for his blood relatives. I’ve done a little studying on the subject, and my assessment of that statement (whatever THAT’s worth!) is a little different now. But the bottom line remains the same: please have a complete scan of your body, if you haven’t already, and discuss your risk factors with a dermatologist.

GVAX Cycle 3

Up early – easy drive, no traffic. Everything went as expected. Three down, one to go!

Robert’s appointment at Johns Hopkins for the third set of injections of the melanoma GVAX vaccine was scheduled at 8:30, so we were up and out by 7 a.m. – way too early for a retired person like me. But perhaps that’s why the traffic was so light and we ought to ask for early appointments from now on!

Melanoma GVAX - Cycle 1

However you look at it, yesterday was not a normal day for Robert and me. We had already cast our ballots, thanks to the early voting offered by D.C. I did an early run to the park with Chewey, and we were off to Johns Hopkins at about 8 a.m. to get the first of four doses of the GVAX melanoma vaccine that will be administered for the clinical trial Robert is enrolled in. It was the start of another one of those days that didn’t go quite as planned.

A fresh start on setting priorities

Nearly five months ago I suspended my consulting and freelance business in the face of Robert’s then-impending surgery to remove a large melanoma from his scalp. I was too distracted, not to mention too busy with medical appointments and emotional upheaval, to concentrate on work, and I didn’t want to let any clients down by not meeting deadlines or by handing in sub-par assignments.

Now that the scare of a four- to eight-month prognosis is behind us and Robert’s status is “healthy” and “No Evidence of Disease,” the question comes up from time to time: am I “ready” to go back to work? And the answer is – NO!


NED my friend - so happy to see you again!

We heard from Hopkins today - all Robert's tests and scans were clear. There was no evidence of disease in his body, and we are cleared to begin the GVAX trial on November 6. YAY!!!

Shorter - but still long

Our day at Johns Hopkins on Friday turned out to be shorter than we expected - they called at the last minute to say not to come until 10. We were very busy (yes, a little "hurry up and wait") until 3 p.m., and we left with only one reservation - that we still didn't have much more information than we left home with. I promise to post again as soon as we know something - and if you don't really care very much what our day was like, feel free to skip this post. Check back in a few days to find out the results.

My delayed date with NED

For those who were looking for an update from Robert’s first follow-up appointment – sorry, it will come a little late. That’s because he is hoping to enter the GVAX vaccine trial at Johns Hopkins, and the earliest appointment when they can do all the screening on one day is October 18. I’m happy that we know what’s next, but unhappy about the delay – I was looking forward to another date with NED long about now!


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