It’s been a six-year battle with ocular melanoma for Kellie Growl and one that just took another hard turn with two tumors showing slight growth again.
This rare eye cancer claimed the life of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco, but Growl is staying positive and grateful to the many people who have helped her. Among them is St. Charles Parish Public Schools, which has given her the leeway needed to continue working as a math resource teacher at Luling Elementary School while also getting treatments.
Growl was told she had Stage 4 melanoma, which had spread from her eye to her liver in a year.
“I’m okay with it as just another hill to climb over, but thankful that I still have a treatment option to work with what I have,” she said. “I try to find the positives in every aspect of this journey. It’s not great I have two tumors growing, but I’m happy that they have an option for me to try that will, hopefully, help shrink the tumors.”
Growl will begin this week with two immunotherapy treatments intended to stimulate the body’s immune system to defend itself from metastatic melanoma.
She completed trials with them in January of 2015, and now she will take the same treatments again. She was told all her tumors had shrunk 50 percent or more by April of 2016 during her last round of treatments.
After returning from MD Anderson two weeks ago, she determined she’d do the therapies again, but this time as formal treatment for cancer.
“I have a very positive outlook, having faith and going into any circumstance with as positive a mindset possible will help you conquer any battle.” — Kellie Growl
The road to this point has been equally challenging. Since being diagnosed, Growl has dealt with downfalls like the tumors continuing to grow that required her taking chemotherapy intravenously into the liver, but three rounds into the treatment it was determined it wasn’t working. Then she went to MD Anderson again and the immunotherapy was recommended again.
“I’m good,” she said. “I have a very positive outlook, having faith and going into any circumstance with as positive a mindset possible will help you conquer any battle.”
Six years into her fight with cancer, Growl knows the statistics show she has a tough battle ahead, but she is staying the course.
“Mindset is 90 percent of my treatment,” she said. “The 10 percent comes from the medications and doctors. God has everything in control, ultimately. I just know he’s with me on this journey and I have more to do here before it’s my time.”