Bill

02 February, 2021
In this picture, Bill is practicing awesome sun safety with a hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing. Knowing him, he most likely had sunscreen on too!

This is one of my very favorite pictures of my Uncle Bill who passed away on December 21, 2020 from metastatic melanoma. His full names was Bill Burns and he was my Mom's brother and he was only 61 years young when he died. Just less than 2 years ago he had a spot of melanoma on his right shoulder removed with the Moh's Procedure. He had 2 out of 3 sentinel lymph nodes positive for melanoma as well so he was put on Opdivo immunotherapy infusions monthly for a year. The only side effect he developed from the Opdivo was a dry nagging cough from pneumonitis, otherwise his 3 PET scans were all negative throughout and after his immunotherapy. His cough mysteriously continued after the immunotherapy but his Oncologist ensured him that he just had lingering inflammation in his lungs that was causing the cough. In September 2020, Bill developed a worsening cough along with shortness of breath with minimal exertion so he saw a Pulmonologist and they found a mass in his right lung on a chest CT scan. It was deemed inoperable because it was so close to his trachea and esophagus. So the only option offered by Oncology was another immunotherapy drug called Keytruda. Bill did one dose and then he had to quit it because he didn't have a protein in his blood that would work with Keytruda for it to work on the tumor. His condition worsened quickly and on December 14th he went into the hospital and he had a thoracentesis that pulled 1,500 ml off of his right pleural sac. Two days later he had another thoracentesis and they pulled 900 ml off. He was discharged home on Hospice on Friday 12/18 and he died very suddenly sitting in his chair on Monday 12/21 morning with his wife near him. He leaves her behind (with a huge broken heart) as well as triplet boys who are just 29 years young.