MY STORY

 
DETECTION

Beginning in early November, Chris was having blurry vision in his right eye and headaches on the right side and back of his head. He started to have some light sensitivity and his headaches got worse over Thanksgiving weekend, so we visited an optometrist in Buffalo, who recommended he get an MRI.

While we waited in the ER, we made an appointment with an ophthalmologist at Tufts in Boston so that he could see someone as soon as we returned here after the holiday weekend. 

TESTS

It took a bit after the appointment at the neuro ophthalmologist to get insurance to approve the MRI, but as soon as he had the scan, things happened pretty quickly.

The MRI determined he had 3 lesions in his brain; one tumor sits on the optic nerve, which helped to explain his vision issues, in addition to two in the cerebellum.

A CT Scan two days later found growths in his lung, liver, and kidney. 

DIAGNOSIS

Chris had surgery the following day to remove tissue from the tumor behind his eye for a biopsy. The neurosurgeon was able to access the tumor through his nasal passage, and he didn't even need stitches post-op.
 

It was a very successful procedure, removing plenty of tissue for sampling and helping to relieve his headaches. We spent a night in the hospital for monitoring, but he walked out of the hospital on his own the next day, and aside from a small nose bleed, he's been back to playing video games and yelling at the Cuse basketball team since we got home.

The pathology came back to show that he has a very rare type of cancer -- metastatic melanoma; the origin site is still unknown, it may have been as small as a mole that developed (even though he had a biopsy done in October which came back negative) - and likely always will be - but it's metastasized to other areas of his body, including the lesions in his brain.

TREATMENT

On the last day of 2018, Chris received his first immunotherapy treatment. Scans from that day showed that the tumors in his brain had grown since his initial MRI and when he started to have worsening vision and headaches on New Year's Day, we brought him in to Brigham and Women's Hospital. 

His oncologist met with the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist and together we decided to have surgery to relieve pressure on the optic nerve in the hope of regaining some of the vision that he'd lost in his right eye. The surgery was extremely successful; they were able to remove 80% of the tumor and his vision has been significantly increased as compared to before the surgery. 

Since then he received 6 days of radiation to stop the growth of tumors in his brain, and is now on a more steady dose of immunotherapy that will continue monthly for the foreseeable future.

We are so blessed to be in Boston, with access to such amazing doctors who are willing to explore all options and try new treatments to give him the best chance to relieve symptoms and get him back to feeling like himself as quickly as possible.