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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jmmm's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/20/2011 - 9:46pm
Replies by: ValinMtl, JerryfromFauq, Anonymous

My husband was dx with stage 4 in January.  He had 2 surgeries to remove 2 tumors (sm. bowel and lung).  He has the c-kit marker and was put on Gleevec for 7 weeks.  A follow up scan showed 2 new tumors--one in the small bowel and one near his heart.  His dr. started him on Yervoy.  He completed his 4 doses and just had his 12 week scan.  The GI tumor was completely gone and the heart tumor was "dead" and half the size before treatment.  We were amazed.  Unfortunately, there was some activity in some lymphnodes in his belly--the radiologist believes it to be new tumors--the largest one was 2.4 cm with an uptake value of 5.6.  These tumors were not there before the Yervoy treatment.  The Dr. isn't sure what to think--my husband is the fist patient he's treated with Yervoy.  He thinks it could just be an immune reaction from the Yervoy.  Has anyone heard of a yervoy taking care of tumors, but allowing new tumors to grow??  Or has anyone heard of yervoy causing lymphnodes to appear as new metastisis??  The Dr. wants to rescan in 6 weeks, but we're both nervous waiting.  Any thoughts??

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Gene_S's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/20/2011 - 7:07pm
Live 4 today. Thank God for all he has done for us. Looking forward to enjoying tomorrow.

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RMcLegal's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/20/2011 - 4:08pm
Replies by: RMcLegal, washoegal, Anonymous

If you hate melanoma because of how it's affected your life or that of a loved one, please "like" this facebook page.  The more of us who demonstrate our support for sending melanoma packing on the highway to hell, the more likely it is that we can convince corporate sponsors to support great organizations like the Melanoma Research Foundation.!/FriendsofMelanoma

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 7/20/2011 - 7:03am

Recently diagnosed last month when lump in left groin surfaced. Opted for full groin lymph dissection. PET/CT did not show evidence of disease has spread though area in muscle of left thigh showed concern. Area of left muscle was removed during dissection and surgeon is unable to tell me if area was a prior node or disease spread so on the side of caution this moves me from Stage III to Stage IV in their opinion. Treatment has not been determined as yet - local area is not very aggressive with this type of cancer. I have appointments at Johns Hopkins and Sloan Kettering in the next few weeks. Looking for any suggesstions and/or similar situations and treatments you may have considered. Need to 'flip the switch' to positive thoughts as I am still consumed with fear, the unknown and not being here from my children who are so very young. Thank you for reading and thank you in advance to those that respond - God Bless.

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JerryfromFauq's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 7/20/2011 - 4:40am

The pathology on the breast tumor I had removed on the 6th came back as benign.  Thanks for all your concerns and well wishes.

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

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DeniseK's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 7/20/2011 - 1:03am

Hey Everybody,

I had my PET Scan and Brain MRI last week.  They both came back clear!!  Whew!!  I was referred to the Northern California Melanoma Center in San Francisco and I'm going this Wednesday to determine what kind of treatments I should do.  Since I'm stage IIC it's usually Interferon which I read works well on ulcerated tumors and decreases the risk of recurrence.  I still haven't seen an oncologist!  This is pissing me off because you would think my surgeon who's a general surgeon, Not oncology surgeon, should have referred me to an oncologist immediately following my surgery!!  Well I found out from Dr. Weber in San Fran that I'm missing the LDH and CBC blood tests!  It's basically too late for me to get these before Wednesday so he said he'd be sure to order them for me.  This is why I should have seen an oncologist!!  DUH!!  It's been 6 weeks since my surgery and I haven't had any blood work done!!  I was wondering what tests should have been done!  Anyway I feel so much better getting into San Fran to see specialists!  My surgeon is referring me to see an oncologist after Wednesday too.  I'll update on Wednesday or Thursday what they said!! 

Denise :)

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

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manu000's picture
Replies 14
Last reply 7/19/2011 - 10:41pm

My girlfriend just before his 25 years was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma metastases, has been affected to the brain and  lung and other lymph nodes, in the neck, in the abdomen and in the left leg.
She has already faced an surgery radio therapy (gamma kinfe) to the head and started a new treatment "ipilimumab+fotemustina (Muphoran).
The treatment effects did not know that they have, but it certainly she is not feeling well. Is losing its vitality and even his work with disabled boy start to have problems.
Someone has experience with this therapy?
I am believes that this is only a moment along our lives, and that we can overcome it.
I believe she is doing in therapy, but in the meantime I am also informing about various alternative treatments. You have experience about it?
I informed myself on the Gerson method, Di Bella.
Now, after reading his story, the journey to Ginny Fraiser (, knew her history? what do you think about?

thanks to all

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RMcLegal's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 7/19/2011 - 10:24pm
Replies by: Anonymous

If you hate melanoma because of how it's affected your life or that of a loved one, please "like" this facebook page.  The more of us who demonstrate our support for sending melanoma packing on the highway to hell, the more likely it is that we can convince corporate sponsors to support great organizations like the Melanoma Research Foundation.!/FriendsofMelanoma

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If you hate melanoma because of how it's affected your life or that of a loved one, please "like" this facebook page.  The more of us who demonstrate our support for sending melanoma packing on the highway to hell, the more likely it is that we can convince corporate sponsors to support great organizations like the Melanoma Research Foundation.!/FriendsofMelanoma

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boot2aboot's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 7/19/2011 - 8:09pm

Found out i am Braf + and fishing for treatment/clinical trial ideas...i know vemfenurib (sp) only works so long so i am interested in combo treatments that hit Braf and Mek pathway...i am currently doing chemo 5 days every two weeks CVD...i have 3 liver mets...5 possible lung mets...brain MRi clear...something is going on with my kidney which is enlarged...i am having a stent put in tuesday...i did mail my paperwork to Dr Rosenberg for possible TIL study...but of course have to wait for chemo course first and wash-out.

i am particularly interested in hearing from MichaelFL, King and Jimmy B



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CLPrice31's picture
Replies 16
Last reply 7/19/2011 - 6:32pm

After two fairly invasive surgeries since January of 2011, I have had a love/hate relationship with my new body. There's no hiding these battle wounds. A part of me knows that I should be proud of my scars, they show that I am a fighter. Another part of me just wants to be a 24 year old girl who hasn't experienced a true life crisis...

Back in April when I was really suffering from some self esteem issues, a fellow melanoma warrior sent me this great quote that I thought others might appreciate reading:

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived." -from Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Now, even when people make comments about my scars, I remind myself of this quote. A scar does not form on a dead body. My body forms scars. I am surviving. That makes accepting my new body a whole lot easier...

I hope this will help someone else accept their battle wounds, too.

"The odds are that the...the odds mean crap. So people should face it, and they should fight." ~Grey's Anatomy.

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NicoleinVA's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 7/19/2011 - 3:25pm



Let me start by saying how thrilled I am to find this community and all your insight.  As is says above, I am new to melanoma and very scared.  I am a 44 year old female with very few moles, however I did my share (and more) of sunbathing in my youth as well tanning beds for a 'heathly glow'..what was I thinking.  I recently me with a surgical oncologist after 3 months, with 3 very different patholgy reports.   I had a I  I ha

d I had a punch biopsey of a re-occuring mole (was removed in 2005 and classified as atypical) in April 2011 and was sent to plastic sugeon for a 2mm excision in May 2011, who sent his biopsey out to pathology.

This is where the nightmare started as there has been such a disparity in pathology reports (3 reports with everything from atypical nevi (Univ of VA), malignant melanoma in situ (Dominion) to malignant melanoma w/signs of early lymphatic involvement (Bon Seours)).   I cannot believe that the pathologists are looking at the same slide and can’t agree to the same diagnosis.  Is this common?  The site as .8 mm, with clear margins, no ulceration and now classified as stage 1a pending next surgery.  I've decided, with advice from surgical oncologist, it would be prudent for me to follow an aggressive approach because of all the unknowns.

I will be having a wide excision done by the surgical oncologist; a plastic surgeon will do skin graph on my leg (calf area) and then a sentinel lymph node biopsy will performed by a radiologist during surgery as well.  They have scheduled a PET scan, as well as blood work/chest x-ray.  Surgery is not set date yet as I have to get on both doctors schedules. I am trying to optimistic that this has not spread or is early, but it is still an emotional rollercoaster.  The recovery due to skin graph is scarring me too.

Any and all comments, experiences and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Many thanks,


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Linda J's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 7/19/2011 - 2:45pm

Currently I am recovering from a ingronial LND and the removal of a large tumor on my hip/buttock. When I had my drains and my staples removed the surgeon took out another small lump in my pubic area. Since the i have had six "pimples" come up near my drain wounds. The surgeon called today to say that the other little lump was MM and she is worried that these other pimples are local reoccurances. I see her and a medical oncologist on Friday.

I need help.
Are there people out there who have survived multiple reoccurances that pop up after surgery? They are all just surface ones - like right at or just under the skin.
What are my options for treatment???
I'm in Canada with princess margaret cancer hospital but should I look for treatment in the states?

Can I make it through this again?

Please please help!

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Evening, all.

It has become apparent to Don and I that although he is doing better cancerwise, it's not going to be realistic for him to go back to work. This round of chemo is kicking his butt, and with some of the side effects I've read that one can get from BRAF inhibitors (his next step after chemo stops working), it seems unlikely he will improve enough for at least a while.

This leaves me with lots of questions that I'm hoping some of you here can give me some answers to, or at least give me some idea where I could get the answers.

Currently, our health insurance is through Don's work, which of course, will complicate matters considerably. His FMLA runs out about mid-August. I am going back to work this week to save up what's left of my FMLA, since he seems to be self-sufficient and my teenaged kids will be home.

I will have the ability to pick up health insurance at my work for the family once Don's runs out. The trouble is that the coverage is not nearly as good. Basically, it is 80-20 for all services. I am extremely concerned for a couple of reasons. One: I don't know if the insurance at my work will even insure him due to his illness. Is that one of those things that Obamacare outlawed? Two: Frankly, we cannot afford to put Don on an insurance policy like this. In May alone, we wracked up $100, 000 in medical bills that were paid in full by our current insurance. Paying 20 percent of bills like this would bankrupt us.

Okay. The questions-

1) How do we go about filing for disability for Don? What are the chances he would qualify for this kind of help?

2) Does anyone know whether he would qualify for insurance coverage thru Medicare?

3) If not, can COBRA be carried for just one person instead of the whole family if you had family coverage when you left that job?

4) My understanding is that he won't qualify for state insurance unless he can't get insurance otherwise. If my insurance does accept him, is there any recourse for us to get financial aid for the horrible 20 percent coinsurance? Or some place we can appeal to for state insurance due to financial hardship because of his diagnosis?

5) If he pays an extra fee in his paycheck currently for life insurance, is there any way to pick up this insurance when he leaves? It's obvious that he won't ever qualify for another plan, so it's very important we maintain this one.

6) Does anyone know if his being not able to work anymore would qualify us for other programs like food stamps, things like that?

7) If we know Don won't be going back to work at his old job, how soon do we talk to human resources about it? We obviously don't want to be screwed over. Also, would it make sense to get the ball rolling on COBRA now so that perhaps it will be all set once his FMLA expires?

Sorry to be tossing a crapload of questions out there, but I figure I'd ask and see if anyone has any info/suggestions/ideas. 


Thanks in advance for all your replies!

Michelle, wife of Don

Gonna stand my ground, won't get turned around, And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down; Gonna stand my ground and I won't back down. ~Tom Petty

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