Look Ma, a Hickey

Melanoma.

Go figure.

One can always hope, as I did, that the lump on my neck was the result of a benign swollen lymph node.

Unfortunately no.

The “C” word.

Cantaloupe? Cacafuego? Catch-fart? Confuddled?

Nein!

Cancer.

Some mild progression got me summarily kicked out of my last and fifth trial.

So onto the next party at a clinical and/or research oncologist somewhere hopefully remotely near me.

My friend Dr. Omid Hamid, who I had the pleasure of seeing in LA a few weeks ago, put a very positive spin on that; that is my situation. In general, after spending a good hour and half with me and re-acquainting himself with my dictionary sized charts, he said that I am doing well and the lack of disease in my more important bits – like vital organs- is proof that the interventions (eg the different treatments) are working.

I know I have talked “epigenetics” in other places in this blog (queue the snarky, ‘ahem, when you are here’) but having someone of his reputable position be human and positive, does my body good. In my view that sort of thing is as important as prayer, nutrition, exercise, and Jack Handy affirmations.

He even gave me a hug at the end and said “you were a good save.”

Thank you Dr. Hamid and to Martin and Cheri for schlepping me around the City of Angels.

So next.

Onto another set of treatments…fortunately in Colorado…more names that are hard to pronounce – nivolumab and ipilimumab, also known by their US brand names using two parts instead of three…guess the marketing folks must think it easier for those of us syllabling challenged simpletons to remember, opdivo and yervoy.

I will also be getting biweekly injections of, wait for it, talimogene laherparepvec, known by US brand name Imlygic which someone had the good sense to just acronymize to “TVEC.”

T-VEC is an oncolytic virus therapy, a treatment that uses a virus to infect and kill cancer cells while avoiding normal, healthy cells. T-VEC is made from a genetically modified herpes virus, commonly known as the cold sore virus. The therapy is designed to replicate inside melanoma cells to kill those cells. It may also enhance the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. https://www.curemelanoma.org/patient-eng/melanoma-treatment/immunotherapy/t-vec-imlygic/

So yeah, not sure if you caught it or if your eyes rolled into the back of your head when you started reading the gripping description, but I’ze gonna getz mez some herpes baby!

Want a kiss?

And while waiting for questionable cold soars, I can fend off questionable looks to my neck, where the doctors probing needles have resulted in a rather sketchy series of black splotches.

Just like the old days…college…

No, wait a minute.

I wasn’t that cool.

Image result for funny hickey meme

WARNING! GRAPHIC CANCER CONTENT BELOW. SOME IMAGES MAY BE UNSUITABLE FOR YOUNGER AUDIENCES
Cancer Hickey:
NOTE: OBJECTS IN THE PICTURE (LIKE MY NOSE) MAY APPEAR SMALLER THAN THEY ACTUALLY ARE