Posted by: cg00n | April 27, 2013

License to Live

About a week ago, without any fuss whatever, a relatively noteworthy event occurred.  It was the fifth anniversary of my melanoma diagnosis.  At the time the prognosis did not look all that good and, certainly, looking back over the five years reveals some rough times.  Still, I am alive and bi-pedal with what appear to be good prospects going forward.  My sincere thanks go to all my doctors and caregivers whose ongoing efforts have kept me alive and healthy, and also to all of you, dear readers, who have offered so much encouragement along the way.  Doubtless you will be relieved to know that I am running low on James Bond puns and may be forced to revert to meaningful titles for my posts in the near future.

Somehow I seem to have skipped over March and most of April without finding anything of interest to say here.  Three weeks of that was spent on vacation.  It has been a long time since I have been able to get away for more than about a week or 10 days.  Medical visits, post-surgery care, and family commitments have all played their part, but finally this year the omens were auspicious.  As a result, P and I played tourist in London (England), caught up with a number of my old friends and family, had some memorable meals, drank some memorable beer,and got snowed and rained upon wherever we went.  It was all good, if a little soggy.

Other than the vacation my life has been fairly routine.  The Interleukin-2 injections continue to happen on a more-or-less bi-weekly basis and, on the whole, seem to be keeping the melanoma confined to a few sites on my leg.  The only real downside to the treatment for me is that it leaves me feeling very tired for a few days afterwards.  For some reason this is particularly true for my most recent dose which took place on Tuesday.  Today is Saturday and I’m still feeling seriously depleted.  Doubtless it will pass.  Three new lumps showed up during our trip, but that is not entirely unexpected.  There was a 6 week hiatus in the treatments because one that should have taken place just before we left was cancelled due to a drug supply problem.  Regrettably, the rather informal arrangement between Dr. G and the drug company does result in the occasional lapse of this kind.  He is putting together a proposal for a proper clinical trial or study (or whatever) but it will be a while before that comes to pass.  It is interesting to note that no one in the US appears to be using IL-2.  There are trials of similar treatments but, at least according to Dr. G, few of them seem to be as effective.  Once again, I feel lucky to be living near to one of the very few places on earth where I can get this kind of care.

While we’re sort of on the subject of cancer care in the US, and on the heels of Cameron’s story, I received another interesting email on the subject of mesothelioma:

My name is Susan Vento. My husband Bruce was a member of the US House of Representatives—until October 10th, 2000, when everything changed. Bruce died of pleural mesothelioma—a rare disease caused by asbestos exposure that kills 90-95% of those who have it. Not many people know about this terrible disease, which lead me to reach out to you; I noticed that you have an influential cancer site full of great information. I am hoping you will help me spread awareness about asbestos cancers and help to protect the rights of those who have been affected by mesothelioma and other cancers.

‘Influential’, eh?  Keep those compliments coming!  It sounds as though the US government is mulling a Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) act which many feel will further victimize the victims of asbestos exposure.  For those of you who wish to know more about this, check out Ms. Vento’s piece on the Cancer Victims Rights website.  I am glad to say that Canada has finally given up on asbestos production:  it should have happened much sooner as Aasif Mandvi reported on The Daily Show two years ago.  We’ve known this was nasty stuff for a long time.

What else can I tell you?  I’ll be getting a CT scan in early June.  Although I have no reason to suppose it will reveal anything unexpected, it is still a comfort to check things out once in a while.  I’ll be seeing Dr. M fairly soon too.  I miss him and his merry crew, but not so much the cutting and stitching.  In the meantime, excuse me while I go and launch a boat.

News Roundup

Lots of melanoma news in this edition:

And elsewhere:

Until next time, I remain your influential servant….




  1. I am so glad to hear good news.

    Here’s another one for the roundup:

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