On August 10, 2010, my Facebook status update was "Best summer ever."
On August 11, I learned I had malignant melanoma. Yes, sometimes life is like a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. I underwent surgery that removed a 5 cm circle from the top of my head. I now a rock a great combover, but my tonsure is even fiercer.
A year after my surgery, I was diagnosed with melanoma again. The cancer had broken off and spread to my lung, and I had a tumor on my back, which meant that it was getting very bad quickly. My doctor helpfully informed that "Stage 4 isn't what it used to be," which is good, because Stage 4 distant metastatic melanoma usually means you're going to be dead pretty soon.
I was lucky enough to enter a Phase 1 immunotherapy trial at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and, wildly, have so far had a complete response. It helps when your doctors are a bunch of geniuses. That's the story to this point. It's still a work in progress.
I've been chronicling my experiences for Salon.com, and it's been an amazing gift to do so. In 2012, I was nominated for an Online Journalism Award for my coverage of my experience in my clinical trial. I'm now writing a book about it all that I hope to get in your hands in late 2015. I am so grateful for my readers, and the stories they have shared with me along the way. Thank you.