Malignent Melanoma Survivors who climb

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Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 11, 2010 - 07:46am PT
Paul Humphrey here.
I am a climber and a yoga teacher. I have been diagnosed with terminal stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. It started as a mole that was taken off 6 years ago. Thought it was gone, but it returned. Now it is all through me, in my lymphic system and all through my abdomen.
Credit: Disaster Master

I am on experimental therapy using Docataxel and an experimental molucule called YM155. They hook up a portible pump to a implanted port in my chest and pump in the YM155 24/7 for seven days. Then I get two weeks off.

I would love to hear from other climbers who have gone through Melanoma treatments, or are in them now. CLIMBIERS NEED TO CHECK THEIR SKIN, EDUCATE THEMSELVES, AND NOT DIE YOUNG LIKE I MIGHT. Hopefully, this post will at least remind someone to slather on the sunblock daily before they climb.

** EDIT: As of 1/20/2011, I am on RO5185426, the pill formally known as PLX4032. It helped but seems to not be working anymore.

Click on "Last>>" near right of screen to go to the latest post.
-Paul H, 1/20/11 **

EDIT 2: As of 2/11/11 I am now on a third tril of two drugs: GSK2118436 and gsk1120212.

EDIT 3: As of 4/ 6/11 I am off of the last trial. It did not work.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 07:55am PT
Here are some photos.

Climbing on experimental cancer drugs, see the IV port?
Climbing on experimental cancer drugs, see the IV port?
Credit: Disaster Master
climbing 5.10 on cancer drugs, the bubble, calistoga, ca
climbing 5.10 on cancer drugs, the bubble, calistoga, ca
Credit: Disaster Master
good friend Tom Ogden, my WIFE Ruth Riffe, and me &#40;Paul Humphrey&#41;
good friend Tom Ogden, my WIFE Ruth Riffe, and me (Paul Humphrey)
Credit: Disaster Master
black shadows of death
black shadows of death
Credit: Disaster Master
reddirt

climber
Aug 11, 2010 - 08:46am PT
That's really unfortunate about the metastasis... and I'm sure "unfortunate" was used to describe Lance's metastasis as well.

It's great that you are in what looks like a *good* clinical trial, on a drug that has already been completely approved for other cancers...
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:00am PT
I can see your spirit, Paul, kick its ass!
rincon

Trad climber
SoCal
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:11am PT
Hey Paul,

I've had skin cancer too, though I am very lucky that it hasn't come back. They used some kind of hot scraper tool to scrape off the skin, now there's just a small white scar there. Had other cancer too...NHL has been f*#king with me since '03, been through the chemo and like you, I still climbed. Currently, I have my fingers crossed, hoping the monster inside me, doen't rear it's ugly head again.

I wish the best to you, and hope to see you posting on ST for many years to come!
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:16am PT
Yo Paul....

man you just keep getting the hits. Broken back.... shadows of death. yikes.

We're all pulling for you man!

stay strong.

Doug La Farge
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 09:18am PT
Rincon,

We are in a club not of our choosing. Good luck with your ongoing BS.

I hope this thread grows enough that I could put together sources / interviews for an article. I wrote for the mags in the day, and they could use something about this subject for climbers.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 09:21am PT
Nature,

Thanks for the word. I still got Humboldt on my mind.

-Paul
zeta

Trad climber
Berkeley
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:22am PT
Paul,

thanks for the reminder, especially as we all spend so much time outside. I used to be way too casual about sunblock, but now--after two basil cell carcinomas--I am super careful!

I am interested in this experimental therapy, as I've never heard about it. I would be curious to know what your experience has been with this portable pump...anyways, I have a climbing friend who was treated for melanoma while she was in medical school so I'll forward your post to her...perhaps she'll have some experience to share.

we're all supporting you through this...stay strong
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:23am PT
Thanks for posting.

We did just have a thread on sunscreens, at http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1237096/The-Bottom-Line-on-Sunscreens Sort of on topic.
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 09:44am PT
I am interested in this experimental therapy, as I've never heard about it. I would be curious to know what your experience has been with this portable pump...anyways, I have a climbing friend who was treated for melanoma while she was in medical school so I'll forward your post to her...perhaps she'll have some experience to share.

Here is a link to the clinical trial info:
http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01009775

Looking forward to any more stories, ideas.

-Paul
delendaest

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:46am PT
thanks for posting this. would you mind sharing what sort of sun exposure you had? did you have a history of blistering sun burns in the area? use sunscreen? climb a lot with your shirt off?
rhyang

climber
SJC
Aug 11, 2010 - 09:49am PT
Sorry to hear about the metastasis, but glad to hear there is treatment and good to see you out and enjoying life. Hoping for a fast recovery !
Disaster Master

Sport climber
Arcata / Santa Rosa, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 11, 2010 - 09:58am PT
Paul here.

I hardly ever climbed with my shirt off. If not in the shade, I used sunblock 60% of the time. I thought I was aware.

I lived in Brazil when I was 12-13. Got several lobster burns there.

Spent a lot of time outside. I was a mountaineering, backpacking, rockclimbing guide off and on.

Hung off a lot of cliffs in the sun bolting sport routes in Humboldt and other caolifornia locations.

But the first mole was on my right thigh, just below the shorts line. Only as big as a pinky nail. It was always there as far as I can remember. Then one day I noticed it looked scratched and puffy. Turned out it was Stage II Melanoma, and had already began to burrow into my lymph nodes.

An operation removed the mole, as well as nodes in my groin. They said all clear.

Six years later it came back. The cancer can lie in wait for years. It can bypass some nodes and lodge in others. Its liquid death, guys.

I'm a pale male, for sure. But almost everyone is vulnerable.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE I CAN GIVE: CHECK YOUR MOLES. IF IN DOUBT, CUT IT OUT. GET IT OFF OF YOU.
The small expense of removal is insurance against unexspected early death.
I know, you're broke, don't have insurance, are an optimist. Shut up! Cut it off!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Aug 11, 2010 - 11:56am PT

Paul
I've lost a number of friends to melanoma.
I certainly hope you beat the odds.

I'm smarting today, just had a couple of biopsies done on
my lower lip that may be cancerous. They don't think
it's melanoma, but it's not fun for sure, and I'll have
surgery on them next week even if they're just pre-cancerous.

Not even close to what you're experiencing.
My prayers & wishes are with you.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Aug 11, 2010 - 12:43pm PT
Sorry to hear about the diagnosis, best wishes with the treatment.
I didn't climb too much with it, but I had a port and a pump for 4 months for the chemo I did following a bout with colon cancer. I did try to get out biking, and I felt like it helped me out. Even though I gradually lost some strength, it was good to get out and work out some of my frustrations.
monolith

climber
Berkeley, CA
Aug 11, 2010 - 01:11pm PT
Best of luck Paul and thanks for the inspiring share.

I've seen a couple moles I've been monitoring get much smaller and one disappeared after I changed my diet to all raw, low fat, plant based, four months ago. No meat,dairy,grains. When your body has the best nutrition it can do amazing things.
Jingy

Social climber
Nowhere
Aug 11, 2010 - 01:16pm PT
Paul...


Like someone already said.. I hope you kick this things azz...

Wishing for the bext possible outcome in this case..

BUMP _ To keep us aware!

Thank you, and be brave.
Amy

Sport climber
Santa Fe, NM
Aug 11, 2010 - 01:38pm PT
Sorry to be slightly off the topic of melanoma survivors who climb, but since it is a melanoma thread I wanted to reiterate the "when in doubt-cut it out" sentiment.

My dad visited a doctor about a suspicious mole in the sideburn of his beard (you should check under your hair for moles, too) and the doctor said "let's keep an eye on it". A year later Dad went back, said it still looked suspicious, and at that point they biopsied and found it was melanoma. Dad died of it a year and a half later. The moral is, DON'T wait and see, just get it biopsied even if it means leaving a scar.

Best wishes to you, Paul!!!

Amy
nature

climber
Whereverland....
Aug 11, 2010 - 03:35pm PT
I think this thread needs some (gross) pictures. I don't have any moles that I'm aware of. but dam.... I might look again, take a pict or two, and maybe get some input on what I might think about doing.
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