West Coast Update

Hi folks,
As you may know we recently flew to Southern California to meet with my “UCLA Doc” about a clinical trial.  Searching for clinical trials is something we (by we I mean Rachel) does routinely in the Melanoma world.  Because metastatic melanoma is so difficult to treat there is no real “standard of care” for it.  Or at least, the standard of care isn’t very promising.  Rachel found a clinical trial that looked very promising at UCLA and emailed my doctor about it.  At first it looked promising, but almost as soon as we booked our flights the doctor emailed back with the crushing news that I actually did NOT qualify for the trial.  But Rachel and I felt a strong sense that we needed to go ahead with our trip, as planned, and meet with him anyway.  Boy are we glad we did!  At this visit the doctor changed my existing medication (BRAF inhibitor) and added another one (MEK inhibitor).  You may recall these sound familiar to you.  We had tried this before, but at that time, there was a communication / logistical problem getting me started at UCLA and then transferring to Vanderbilt.  Now, however, the two drugs are FDA approved and no longer require bi-weekly follow-ups at UCLA!  Even though I have VERY close family and friends in So. Cal, and an amazing network of supporters, that many cross-country trips would not be sustainable.  Though the data suggests that the combination of drugs is BOTH more effective and less toxic than taking either drug alone, taking the two drugs together is not yet FDA approved.  But because my UCLA Doc is so cutting-edge he’s already prescribed this combination for several patients.  Let’s just say he “works a little magic” with the insurance companies to get them to cover both drugs simultaneously.  So he offered to do this for me as well.   While this is great news, the data also shows that even though this combination is very effective, the cancer will develop a resistance to it in about 6 months and it will no longer be effective.  So “on paper” we have “bought some time” as it were.  But with God I have as much time as He grants me.  As we try to remind ourselves “Praise God for another day”.

9 thoughts on “West Coast Update

  1. Thank you for keeping us updated. You and the entire Hill family will continue to be in our prayers. Wish we could have seen you this trip. Maybe the next one though. May the GOOD Lord bless and keep you all, always!

  2. Dear Kevin, we are standing strong in faith with you, your family and friends, with the Body of Christ for your complete healing. You are covered and immersed in God’s Grace… grace upon grace. It is absolutely God’s will that you be healed. For encouragement, if you haven’t read “God’s Will is Always Healing”, I highly recommend. Here is a Facebook link: facebook.com/GodsWillIsAlwaysHealing. God bless you Kevin. Be healed in Jesus name.

  3. Dear Hills, despite the blog name change you are some serious fighters and you are quite the inspiration. I’m very thankful that you made the trip and saw your doctor and that he’s pushing the envelope with your treatment. Sending you all health, peace, rest, wishes for continued safe travels, and loads of quality time together.

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