The story so far
On August 10, 2010, my Facebook status update was "Best summer ever." On August 11, I learned I had malignant melanoma.
A few days later, I underwent surgery that removed a 5 cm circle from the top of my head. I now 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 subcutaneous tumor on my back, which meant that it was getting very bad quickly. My oncologist helpfully informed that "Stage 4 isn't what it used to be," which is good, because metastatic melanoma traditionally means you're going to be dead pretty soon.
I was lucky enough to enter a Phase 1 immunotherapy trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering, becoming one of the first human subjects in the world to try out the treatment now known as Opdivo. Three months later, I had no evidence of disease. It helps when your doctors are a bunch of geniuses.
I've written about cancer and everything that goes with it for multiple publications. For my coverage of my experience in my clinical trial, I was nominated for a 2012 Online Journalism Award and a 2016 Skin Cancer Foundation Media Award. I have now written a book that you can read with your eyes or listen to with your ears.
Great big fan of science, research, and support communities. Thankful as all get out. Here are a few pieces from along the way.
“You Don’t Need an Extreme Bucket List,” The Guardian
My journey is one the "30 Days, 30 Stories" for the Cancer Research Institute
A CBS News feature: "Stage 4 Cancer Was About to Cut Her Life Short, But..."
A few of my earlier stories on my experience, as it unfolded in real time:
"My Cancer Diagnosis," Salon
"My Life as a Lab Rat," Salon
"I Have Your Results," Salon
Media appearances, talking cancer. I’m around the 10.40 mark on the Dateline segment.