Friday, December 14, 2012

Yervoy + radiation

Madeleine’s Blog

December 14, 2012
So do not fear, for I am with you
Do not be dismayed, for I am your God
I will strengthen you and help you
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

It has been 2 weeks since Madeleine's first infusion of Yervoy, and I'm happy to report that so far she has not experienced the negative side effects - which is such a blessing! She has been able to enjoy life and all the usual activities of this season. It is so great to feel good.

Radiation mask before it dries
This time, however, has not been without its challenges. Because of a slowly enlarging lymph node, Madeleine has to go in to have more radiation targeted to that area.

On Monday, we went to the radiologist and she was fitted for a new custom radiation mask. (To do that, they stretch the form tightly over you, and then dry it until it hardens into a rigid mask that will hold you in the right position for the precisely-targeted radiation.) To be honest, this process was no fun for Madeleine because of the pressure it put on her lymph nodes, but she made it through.

So, the radiation is planned to begin on December 18th, and then her next infusion of Yervoy will be on December 21st. We are hoping that the radiation will give her some relief from the growing lymph node, as well as to work synergistically with the Yervoy against her melanoma.

Enjoying this season! (from November)
As we mentioned before, Yervoy works by taking the "brakes" off of your immune system, helping your body to recognize the melanoma as being "foreign" so that it will attack it instead of letting it grow. Because of this, it usually takes time for it to work (weeks or even months) and to get your immune system revved up enough to effectively go after the melanoma. So, we are waiting and praying in the meantime.

Madeleine's next PET scan is scheduled for January 4th. Between now and then, she's looking forward to being with friends who will be home from college and elsewhere, and she's also really looking forward to enjoying this Christmas time.

As always, thanks so much for keeping her in your prayers and for your encouragement during this time.


The Salley Family said...


You are such a rock star! My family has been an ardent follower of your blog since our Mom was diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma 2 weeks after her 70th birthday in July. Your information has provided invaluable insight and inspiration for me and my Brother.

My Mom got bounced out of bio chemo after 1 day as her heart couldnt take it. She finished her 4th round of Yervoy on November 1. She didnt have any side effects until a fews weeks later. Most recent petscan shows "mixed" results but we are hopeful.

From our research, being able to pair Yervoy after Bio Chemo is the most effective option. I think this is going to give you an excellent shot.

In the meantime, keep up with all the activities! Whoever takes a swim conditioning class from you is going to have the greatest instructor ever.

Many prayers coming your way from our Family. We are wishing you and your family a very Blessed Christmas Season and a Happy and HEALTHY 2013!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I missed you when you came by school. My loss, but I would love to get together with you whenever it might be possible and treat you to lunch. You are always in our thoughts and prayers.
Love Always,
Haas Family.

Anonymous said...

Hi Madeleine!

Thanks for the updates on your treatments! We hope they all combine to defeat that melanoma! Looks like you could get dual use out of that radiology/radiation mask and take up Fencing!

Keep up that great attitude of yours and never give up! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

You are beautiful and an inspiration to all who know you and who read the experiences you so courageously and unselfishly share on your blog.

Best Wishes possible!
Joe & Pam Klekas

Dave Cindy said...

Joe & Pam took my line about the Fencing! :)
You are gonna kick this cancers butt! I just know it! Hang in there our Sweet Girl! We love you soooo much! XXXXXXOOOOOO