MPIP: Melanoma Patients Information Page

The MPIP is the oldest and largest community of people affected by melanoma hosted through the Melanoma Research Foundation. It is designed to provide support and information to caregivers, patients, family and friends. Once you have been touched by melanoma—either as a patient or as a family member or friend of a patient—you become part of a community. It is not a community anyone joins willingly. But if you must be part of this group, you will find no better place to find the tools you need in your journey with this cancer, and the friends who can make that journey more bearable.

The information on the bulletin board is open and accessible to everyone. To add a new topic or to post a reply, you must be a registered user. Please note that you will be able to post both topics and replies anonymously even though you are logged in. All posts must abide by MRF posting policies.

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DeniseK's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 8/5/2011 - 1:44pm

Hi all!!  I had a horrible night last night with pain in my neck, collarbone area, and shoulder.  You know the area right where you neck meets your shoulder.  Anyway, I was real close to  packing up and going to the ER.  I put some ice on it and it helped and took some pain relievers.  I woke up with what appeared to be a bruise in this area and tenderness but the deep pain was gone.  I think it may have been a muscle spasm but I've had this pain for a long time.  I've told my surgeon and Dr. Weber in San Fran but no one thinks it's related to the Melanoma due to the scans coming back clear. 

I go next week to the onco so I will definately tell him about the pain.

The pain is on the same side that my tumor was about 6 inches above.  I honestly don't think it's a coincidence.  What kind of scan is better than a PET?  Or is that the best? 

Has anyone else had this kind of pain/spasm in the area of their excision? 

Thanks everyone!!  Denise


Cancer Cannot cripple love, silence courage, destroy friendship, shatter hope or conquer the spirit.

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arnie and sherry's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/5/2011 - 12:48am

my husband had gama knife end of june five brain mets, what can we do next?

keep on trucking

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Jydnew's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 8/5/2011 - 1:48pm


I am so saddened by the recent posts on the board, and hope that my post can give a seed of hope to others who are facing their melanoma diagnoses. 

My husband had his last CT scan today at 1:00 and we got the results by 3:00 - No Evidence of Disease.  Thank you to the nurses, staff and doctors at the St. Luke's Hospital Cancer Center and the Imaging Center in Bethlehem for always going above and beyond for us.  For any of you in the Lehigh Valley, PA, or surrounding areas, I absolutely recommend this hospital.

Anyway, I just wanted to post the specifics of my husband's cancer and follow-up so that if someone is searching for a long-term survivor, they will find this post.  He was diagnosed Stage IIIA at age 26 back in January 2002, just a week after we returned from our honeymoon.  His lesion was 1.3 mm, Clarks level IV, not ulcerated - mitotic rate was not given back then...  It was on the tricep area of his right arm.  After the initial surgery to remove the mole, he had a wide excision and sentinel node biopsy.  Microscopic melanoma was found in 2 nodes - one had less than 2 mm deposit and the other had "not more than 10 loosely scattered cells."  Both were subcapsular.  He had a complete lymph node removal, no other interventions.  He had CT scans every 3 months for 2 years, every 6 months for 3 more years, and then every year since then.  He has bloodwork drawn every 6 months, visits his oncologist every 6 months and visits his dermatologist every 6 months.  He eats what he wants, but we rarely eat processed foods (not as a result of the cancer diagnosis, we just always have), he drinks lots of beer, he exercises regularly, and he gets a good nights' sleep.

Since 2002, he has earned a teaching certificate, a masters in education and has 5 years of teaching middle school under his belt.  We have traveled the country, have moved 5 times, bought a house, got 2 dogs, and have had 2 children, one who died before birth and one who was born prematurely at 28 weeks and is thriving at age 2.  There have been lots of ups and downs, but most importantly, there has been lots of living.

My best to you all in your journeys,


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NYKaren's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 8/5/2011 - 11:06am


Last night I woke up with a 101.4 fever.  Shivering, the whole bit.  My normal temp is 97.8 - 98.  I called Dr. Wolchuk's office today and the nurse said to call if it gets that high again and I'd talk with the fellow (I think Wolchuk's out of town??) about what to do...don't even take tylenol until I call.  Also, my whole body aches.

Ayone experience this?


Many thanks,


Don't Stop Believing

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mom3girlsFL's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 8/5/2011 - 9:24am

I am just going to ramble, so if you've even opened this post...I am a mess.

I have nothing to complain about.  I dealt with the beast most of last year, but since PET, nov 2010,  I have been okay.  A CT of abdomen and pelvis in March was clear also. What is my problem?  I NEED to be here - I have a 12 yr old special needs daughter who requires full time care and 2 younger girls who are amazing and beautiful.  I have a wonderful, supportive husband and a great extended family.

My last derm appt (july) was perfect, not one thing taken and/or frozen off.  My next onc appt is at the end of this month.  Probably a scan due.  Okay, maybe scanxiety,  Maybe feeling sketchy about the "watch and wait" approach? No, don't think so.  Then, WTH???!!!

I think maybe I just might be pissed off.  Angry that we've lost such an amazing warrior in Eric.  Angry that one post talks about hospice and the next post is a clean scan.  Angry that the beast does not discriminate, does not follow "rules" is a roller coaster ride that never quite reaches the drop off point - just keeps you hanging, awaiting your fate.  IT'S NOT FAIR!!!

I hate feeling like I can conquer the world one day and wonder if I'll be able to conquer the world the next day.  I hate pretending that everything is back to normal, when in realtiy it not always is.  I hate complaining when others are dealing with such heavy loads.  I hate knowing I've been there, I know.  I hate feeling grateful I'm not there now.  I hate that my young children had to go through a living hell last year.  I hate that I am not prepared to deal with a fight again if necessary.  I hate being emotionally exhausted.

Mostly, I hate posting this.  This is me.


Do not fear tomorrow, God is already there.

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Lisa13's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 8/4/2011 - 10:27pm

Just came back from all the screening for the ipi (yervoy) clinical trial I'm starting next week. My brain is clear!!  This is VERY good news since the last time my brain was scanned was mid February! 

I may have small mets to my lungs, but I'm going to enjoy this day because it's a good day!

Best wishes and prayers to you all,


Many impossible things have been accomplished for those who refuse to quit

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nickmac56's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 8/4/2011 - 8:16am

My wife and I went in for her MRI brain scan results today, Bad news. She has six new brain mets. So that pretty much rules out any trials of any sort. Or a standard course of IL-2 (the only non-clinical trial drug she could go on - after having already tried Ipi). With active extracranial disease (lungs and who else knows where by now) and very active central nervous system disease, it's all right now about trying to buy time. We meet tomorrow with the radiation oncologist - it's either gamma knife or whole brain radiation. They are spread all over - and we have to assume there are more lurking. We'll see what onc recommends. We are game to do the WBRT - our doc said any dementia side effects would kick in long after she is gone - so it's worth it to try to buy some time. She's already lost her hair from the Cyberknife so that's no big deal. She is definitely bothered by the probable side effects of short term memory deficits, but it beats the alternative. She will continue on the Temodar and may switch to Taxol in a month if it looks like it's not doing anything.

The hardest thing we've had to deal with today is expectations around life expectancy. Since she's suffered some cognitive deficits as a result of her stroke, it's been hard to get her to understand. She gets that she won't get through this; she does want the time to get her final projects done (the letters to the boys when they get married, have kids). But she doesn't want the pressure - which is kind of unavoidable. 

Despite a very sad, emptional and teary day - she is a remarkable woman who is showing tremendous grace under all this stress. She is very loved by a very broad and deep community of friends and family who will support her on this leg of her journey. I just wish there was a different path...


Her motto: "Don't wait for the storm to pass, love dancing in the rain".

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Ranisa's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 8/4/2011 - 7:35am

I know that with the lose of Eric she could sure use the extra prayers right now! 

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Becky C.'s picture
Replies 5
Last reply 8/4/2011 - 12:53pm

Hello. I have been reading on this forum for awhile now and there seem to be some very knowledgable people here.  I was diagnosed last month. I had a mole removed from my right foot that came back a superficial spreading melanoma, Breslow depth 1.57, no ulceration, mitosis was high at 18, biopsy showed no vascular or lymphatic invasion, margins were clear. I then had my WLE and SLNB. Surgeon did a graft on my foot which is doing great, two nodes removed, sentinel node had microscopic cancer cells, second node was clear. Naturally, this has been the scariest thing I have ever faced.  I have done lots of reading, probably too much.  I am having rest of nodes taken out next week. My oncologist really expects them to be clear. Also had CT scan, it was clear. One of the fears I have is of cancer cells getting in the bloodstream. My oncologist said that the cells seek out the lymphatics. Everything I have read says the same thing. From what I have read, thicker lesions are the most likely to penetrate the bloodstream. Does anyone have good information about how often this happens. My oncologist also said, when i asked about recurrence, that it does not recur very often. My doctor came very highly recommended, and he has given me a good outlook.  Also, I am concerned about lymphadema. Has anyone had an experience with this in their leg. I would greatly appreciate any feedback.




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EricNJill's picture
Replies 60
Last reply 8/31/2011 - 10:06pm

At 12:12 a.m. Eric is now an angel in heaven.  My heart is broken.  Now that Eric is finally at peace, my battle is just beginning.  Please pray for God to give me strength.  Eric is my hero, my soulmate and now my angel.  I love you forever, Eric.

JillNEric in OH

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I am curious if anybody has participated in these trials at NIH?  Dave could not qualify at this time for the TIL and TBI trial due to the surgery being too risky to harvest the tumor.  If he progresses and there is disease that is resectable, then he could.  These were two other options presented to us if his tumor shows either of these expressions.

Any info would be greatly appreciated!!


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Julie in SoCal's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 8/2/2011 - 11:10pm
Replies by: mombase

Dear Friends,

I'm just posting to say hey and that I'm now 3 years NED.  There were days I didn't think I'd get this far, but thanks to God's care and good doctors, I'm in mainland Southeast Asia (mostly Thailand & Cambodia) doing dissertation research. Whowuddathunkit!?!

I don't post often but as often as I can I read and try and keep up with you all on this board-- saddened to hear of a warrior's passing and rejoicing with each clear scan.  You all have been a great source of information and realistic encouragement to me!  I'm grateful!

Here's wishing NED to you all!


Julie in So Cal

3A, primary on back of hand,

SNB, LND, HD INF, 11 mos  GM-CSF.


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benp's picture
Replies 24
Last reply 9/23/2011 - 9:41am


I was wondering if anyone knows if it is possible for foreigners (in my case, Australian), to take part in clinical trials held in the US? Has anybody here done this before? 



(Stage IV)

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WalterA's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 8/3/2011 - 2:48pm

In March I had RFA treatment for liver mets. I had a follow-up scan yesterday, and it was really good. Nothing but scar tissue showed up, and my oncologist was pleased.

"Thus I am!" -- Guido in "The Ring and The Book "One day is worth two tomorrows." -- Benjamin Franklin "If it ain't baseball, who cares?" -- Me

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AlanM's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 8/22/2011 - 10:39pm

I had a brain MRI in April to check for issues that might cause the ear-ringing I am experiencing. They found no inner ear issues but did find one 7mm met on the left frontal lobe. This took from me from 3C(diagnosed June 2010) to stage 4. Subsequent PET/CT scans have shown no other mets. In May I had the brain met zapped with a Gamma knife and that appears now to be stable. My oncologist is recommending Yervoy as a way to finish off the one met that I have and to put the brakes on progression. Has anyone here used Yervoy in a similar situation?  Given the possibile side-effects of Yervoy, I am weighing the options of only using Yervoy IF something else presents vs using it now and taking the risk of an immune system run amok.... Any thoughts?


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