Friday, December 19, 2014

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

To the first nurse on my cancer journey, thank you

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:45 AM
Dear Bonnie, You don’t know me, although we met once, two years ago today. (Well, it was two years ago today when I wrote this; due to some medical-related travel, it’s now two years and a week!) It was a lovely South Florida summer Sunday evening, the kind that makes us appreciate living... Read more

What Daddy would say, if Daddy were still alive?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 5:30 AM
Jen is an estate planning attorney, which means she deals with end-of-life planning, and preparing a family for the death of one spouse, on a daily basis. True family planning is more than just wills, trusts, and power of attorney CYA paperwork, as it begins well before “I Do” and lasts... Read more

What a difference two years can make

Thursday, August 14, 2014, 4:32 PM
So this is why I am not really a good blogger. I started this post on Tuesday, since there was some material specific to that day, and here I am still writing on Thursday. Granted I was a little busy, but a blog is supposed to be a quick, timely read, not War and Peace. So as quickly as I can, here's... 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

T.J. Sharpe
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