I'm just going to blurt it out...it's Melanoma. Aaron had the biopsy on Wednesday, and he had an appointment to start immunotherapy infusions on Friday. We're still not sure why they made the appointment when they didn't know whether the pathology report would be back yet. We are pretty frustrated with the lack of communication that goes on at UCLA. Someone in the office where the infusions take place called on Thursday to confirm the appointment, and when Aaron asked if the biopsy results were in--because why would we start the treatment if the biopsy came back negative for melanoma--the lady "looked it up" and said, yes, the results are back. We were quite surprised by this because this was only about 24 hours after the biopsy took place. So...she obviously couldn't tell us what the results were--that has to be done by a doctor, so we asked if she could have the doctor call us. We never heard anything. We went in Friday morning for the scheduled (but unneeded) infusion appointment, and since we didn't have biopsy results yet, we spoke to the doctor first (Dr. Chmielowski--pronounced Him-a-lou-ski). He told us Aaron would not be starting the Yervoy infusion (which is immunotherapy, not chemotherapy as some genius at UCLA misinformed us) because the biopsy results were not back yet and probably would not be until Monday. We were obviously very anxious before we spoke with the doctor and I am almost glad we didn't have any news at that point because it gave us the clarity to ask Dr. C all the questions we needed to ask. We also had time to relax and just put this out of our minds until Monday. Let's just enjoy our weekend, is what we decided.
Then we got the call that confirmed our suspicions. Dr. Chmielowski called around 4:30 on Friday afternoon and said that yes, the cells they took in the biopsy tested positive for melanoma. However, they were not able to perform the genetic mutation analysis that they needed to do in order to determine if Aaron could get the latest drug that was just approved by the FDA last week (Zelboraf) because the cells they took out were dead cells. Which, in my understanding, means that Aaron's body is already fighting this nasty disease and is killing them off. Even without the immunotherapy. As I said, that is what I took away from that--I am not a doctor, so I could be totally wrong. But we are ready to fight whatever remains in his body with healthy diet and the Yervoy treatments.
Aaron will begin the Yervoy immunotherapy infusions on Monday at 2pm. It takes 90 minutes to receive a full dose, and he will receive the doses every 3 weeks for 4 total doses. (So a total of 12 weeks.) The side effects of the therapy are very minimal especially when compared with traditional chemotherapies. There won't be any hair loss, nausea, lethargy or other completely debilitating side effects. The most severe could be some gastro-intestinal issues and potentially a skin rash. This will be quite appreciated as the Interferon treatments he received last October were very rough, with respect to side effects. At the end of the doses, they will perform another CT scan to see if anything remains. It WILL be gone! God WILL see us through this!
I am completely humbled and overwhelmed at the amount of prayers being lifted up on our behalf. We want you all to know that we love and appreciate every single one of you, and your prayers are not going unheard! We feel God's presence every minute of every day! I will never be able to express how thankful I am that you all care so much about my husband and our family. Thank you thank you thank you! Praise be to God, our Great Physician!