Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Latest PET Result Indicates Progression

I know that it's been a couple of months since I've last posted. I had just received the results that indicated my treatment plan was working. I was basically living with a clear head and not scared about my melanoma, after all it was the cancer, not me that was dying. -- I know that I've worried some of you by not posting but, after two years of living with stage IV melanoma, it was nice to have a period of time where I could live a little and spend some real time with my family while not worrying about cancer.

That time has once again ended. My latest scan results shows that the cancer that was dying out in my last scan has returned and is active once again. This progression qualifies me for another round of Ipilimumab (Yervoy).

Over the past few weeks, I had the same skin irritations and flare ups as I did during my first treatment phase which indicated that the drug was working. Because of this I had high hopes heading into this PET scan. At the same time, I had new pains as well as my leg pain had started to get worse which were all signs leading towards progression. I suppose I was in denial, which is probably why I was a little lackadaisical in getting the scan scheduled in the first place.

June 3rd -- I'll go back in and discuss further treatment options. I believe I'll start the re-induction phase of Ipilimumab. We also talked about it being time to get a biopsy of a live tumor to see if I have the BRAF mutation which would make me eligible for another trial drug that has had some real success recently.


jimmy_B said...

Sorry to hear about your scan results. Question,when did you start Ipi and how many doses have you had? I am trying to establish a timeline so we might be able to find a way to reactivate the T-cells. You may be lacking enough IL-2 to keep the CTL's functioning.
email me at

Laurie said...

Mike Brockey, I'm so sorry that the news was not what we had been HOPING to hear. But keep in mind that you have seen success when the journey became hard before...and this is just another bump in the road. You CAN succeed because you ARE a SURVIVOR!!

Continue to beLIeVE in the healing power of ipilimumab and remember the value of the Gerson diet when you were having trouble keeping food down the last time.


I love you Mike Brockey! Sending up prayers to make God's ears RING!!!!

Amy, I'm carrying you and the kids in my heart through this too! ANYTHING..that's what I'm here for!!

<3 Laurie

The Atheist Missionary said...

I have followed your blog for some time and I also am a father to three young children.

I trust you will appreciate why I will not bother to offer you any prayers but I do extend my sincere best wishes. In the meantime, enjoy your kids - I consider life's biggest tragedy how quickly they grow up.

Very best regards from the shores of Georgian Bay, TAM.

Olivia said...

Mike, I am so sorry too about the scan results.

But you already have come this far and like Laurie said this is another bump in the road. You are young and strong and will beat this s... melanoma.

I send up prayers every day too. Take care Mike,kindest regards,

Joanna from Finland

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike ~ as a fellow cancer fighter I know all to well that feeling of not hearing what we want from tests. So, go ahead get sad...get mad, but then do what we all do best - you keep fighting. Take a deep breath, keep lov'n on that gorgeous family and know there are many people sending good intentions your way. Maureen

"Throw back the shoulders, let the heart sing, let the eyes flash, let the mind be lifted up, look upward and say to yourself... Nothing is impossible!"
~ Norman Vincent Peale

M. said...

Sorry to butt in, and I know you probably hate hearing about "miracle cures that are sure to save you", but this isn't a miracle cure, just a treatment suggestion should the ipilimubab stop working for you (or you could use them together, if the protocol allows, but I assume the doctors wouldn't like that). I'm not selling anything, just trying to help.

Low dose naltrexone is a form of immunotherapy which increases secretion of endogenous opioids. This boosts NK cell function and the opioids (especially met enkephalin) may also have direct antitumor effects, as some cancers have opioid receptors. No clinical trials have been done in melanoma, but LDN is known to work against most types of solid tumors and there are two published papers about its mode of action:

Murgo AJ. Modulation of murine melanoma growth by naloxone. Cancer Lett. 1989 Feb;44(2):137-42.

Murgo AJ. Inhibition of B16-BL6 melanoma growth in mice by methionine-enkephalin. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1985 Aug;75(2):341-4.

Overall there is a whole bunch of papers demonstrating the antitumor effects of low doses of opioid antagonists or the opioid peptides whose secretion they increase (mainly met enkephalin, also known as opioid growth factor). For a larger list see this page.

In absence of clinical trials the evidence for its efficacy in melanoma may not seem overwhelming, but LDN very rarely causes any side effects (in some trials for other conditions the side effects have been similar to placebo) and is also inexpensive at about $20-30 a month. (And tends to improve quality of life!) So while it's not a cure, it wouldn't hurt, and with luck could help a great deal.

Anonymous said...

I'm using Hyperbaric Medicine to treat my grade IV brain tumor: see my latest post

Anonymous said...

Be hopeful, be strong, keep fighting. I'm pulling for you.

dpkaye said...

Mike...I joined your Blog after listening to Amy at the library yesterday at the ACS Prayer Breakfast. I was diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer April 2010. I used to think I was tough: born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, 25 years in the U.S. Army, 3 combat tours in Vietnam, 214 parachute jumps but nothing scared me more than that diagnosis. Aftter a very aggressive treatment protocol I am in remission but of course it is always in the back of our minds. you're right; cancer sucks. I live in Frredeerrick and make a point of supporting every cancer patient I can. I told Amy yesterday that I would and try to keep my word. I am 65 years old and survived radiation therapy twice a day 5 days a week and once-a-week chemo therapy for 7 weeks and you can get through this. You have a beautiful family and I want you to know, for what it's worth, I too am here for you. Stay POSITIVE, stay STRONG, and believe in the power of prayer. David

LiSa said...

Hi Mike,

I am also a stage IV melanoma and have been following your blog for the a while. I too was on ipi and did not have success. I now am only doing natural and homeopathic and having great success. There is this one product, called cellect, that has literally been killing my cancer cells. My blood work is really good and my tumors have either dissipated or disappeared. This product was created by a brilliant man that cured himself of pancreatic cancer. Please check it out at From one stage IV fighter to another, I truly know that this will help you.

I wrote about it in more detail on my blog