Friday, October 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Mr. Potato Head gets infusion No. 28

Friday, October 31, 2014, 1:17 PM
Another busy week of Melanoma in the books! It began with a quick return visit to Philly - this time, just Jen and I. It was our first trip sans children and hospitals since Josie was a toddler. While it was a melanoma event, it was much more an adult evening, an occasion we've had very few chances... Read more

Sharing my cancer journey: 'It's not always easy'

Friday, October 24, 2014, 10:39 AM
This may be hard to believe, but writing about cancer isn’t always easy or fun. Most of the time, I can crank these posts out without too much issue. It’s not overly difficult to articulate “life”, even with the investment of time and energy required for certain posts. Sometimes... Read more

Finding the balance between real life and medical recovery

Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 12:49 PM
Ten days in New Jersey tested the limit of how well I feel. Our trip back home looked like this: infusion, 6am flight, wedding/reception (and a little too much fun after), recovery football Sunday, apple picking and out to dinner, and finally, some outdoor family fun. Halfway through the week, I am... Read more

The price of living

Thursday, October 9, 2014, 2:51 PM
Recently, “60 Minutes” ran a feature on the high cost of cancer drugs. The piece exposed the dirty underbelly of getting oncology treatments to patients – drug pricing and Medicare laws, doctors incentivized to prescribe more expensive treatments, U.S. drug prices that are double... Read more

The importance of early detection

Friday, September 26, 2014, 12:44 PM
I went to the dermatologist this week, and we had a fairly involved discussion about my therapies and life with melanoma. Mentioning the blog, he asked how often I had written about early detection, versus the latest cancer drug. I stammered out something to the effect of, “Well, uh, a few... Read more

Bristol-Myers Squibb sues Merck over Keytruda: What does it mean for us?

Friday, September 19, 2014, 1:48 PM
Somewhat lost in the hoopla earlier this month surrounding the FDA approval of Keytruda was this little footnote – Bristol-Myers Squibb immediately sued Merck for patent infringement. Um, say what? A huge oncology breakthrough clears the last hurdle to go to market, and the first reaction... Read more

FDA approves Keytruda for treatment of metastatic melanoma

Friday, September 5, 2014, 10:45 AM
The FDA today approved Keytruda – aka pembrolizumab (and before that, lambrolizumab), aka MK-3475, aka “The Thing Saving T.J.’s life” – for use in treating metastatic melanoma. Merck released a statement regarding the approval, and will begin sales of the drug within a... Read more

A triumphant note to TJ's first oncologist

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 12:34 PM
Dear Doctor Barry, I want to thank you. Two years ago, you gave me the biggest motivational speech I’ve ever gotten. You didn’t mean it, of course, but in your profession, being upfront with cancer patients is a prerequisite. You were treating me for Stage IV melanoma, a 37-year old husband... Read more

Scan results: What does the future hold for Patient #1?

Thursday, August 28, 2014, 10:25 AM
Surgery is done, scans are complete, and infusion on schedule for Thursday afternoon. It’s time to digest exactly what happened the last two weeks, and make sense of what this means for the future. The day before surgery, the entire world flipped, this time in a good way. A PET scan from the... Read more

One big, giant step towards NED

Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 11:42 AM
Want a roller coaster ride straight outta Hades? Fly back and forth to Houston for what could be the end of your miracle cancer cure, and wake up on the tail end with no evidence of that disease by the end of the trip. Before I dive into the last week, I’m throwing a tiny wet blanket over otherwise... Read more
About this blog
T.J. Sharpe is sharing his fight against Stage 4 Melanoma. A South Jersey native and Bishop Eustace graduate, he currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with his wife Jennifer and children Josie and Tommy. He was Patient #1 in a clinical trial at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa as the first person worldwide to use this sequence of treatments to fight melanoma, and is currently in a second clinical trial at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale receiving Merck’s anti-PD-1 drug Lambrolizumab

The Patient #1 blog will update the progress of T.J.'s fight against cancer, and also touch on many cancer-related topics.

Follow T.J. on Twitter and Facebook. Reach T.J. at

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