Unfortunately, bad news travels fast and I wanted to share something with the members of my personal Great ’68 before it gets broadcast to a larger audience.
Last week I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic malignant melanoma. I had found a couple of small areas but was otherwise asymptomatic. I was in northern Michigan at the time but contacted Fred Ferlic who did his usual turnaround of getting me in to see an oncologist and get CT scans in less than 24 hours. Since I had a past history of removal of a stage 2 melanoma 5+ years ago at Ann Arbor, the oncologist was suspicious of recurrent melanoma and a biopsy performed the following day proved him right.
There have been a lot of new breakthroughs in the immunotherapy of melanoma in the past 6 years, and this continues to be a fertile field for research and new drug trials. I started immunotherapy yesterday with Opdivo and Yervoy, and will eventually transition to Opdivo alone for two years. My disease is not curable and the goal will be to keep things under control for as long as possible, with hopes for new breakthroughs in the interim.
All of us have hit high points and low points in our lives, and all of you have been significant participants in helping me navigate my life’s journey. Like many of you, I had a particularly difficult time in 1968 and 1969, and your collective support made the difference in what has been a thoroughly satisfying life since then. I can never thank you enough for what your friendships have meant to me and what each of you individually has taught me.
Covid, sadly, has potentially disrupted opportunities for us to get together in our usual fall and reunion activities and we continue to have an uncertain future because of that. We are on target to try for a class reunion during ND alumni weekend in 2021, and I have every intent of being there.
Nancy has been great in her support and love, but it has been tough on our boys. If you see them, some words of support go a long way. Personally, I feel like I am in a good place. Notre Dame has its own ambience of peace and transcendence and I have been tapping into that.
God bless you all,