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 5
Last reply 6/28/2011 - 12:49am

Hi everyone,

I had my surgery and sentinal lymph node disection 16 days ago.  I go back to docs on June 30th.  Since the surgery I've had a chronic headache going through about 6-8 ibu's a day.  It could be from the stress!  My question is more about the pain in my chest.  My tumor/mole was on my upper/inner right breast.  The surgeon took alot of tissue which basically took most of my right breast.  I'm having pains that emminate down into my chest.  Kinda like the pain after the lymph node mapping.  I was just wondering if it was normal to have those pains. 

Thanks for your help on this.  I'm sure I'm normal but just want to hear it from another person who's gone through it. 


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

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jimjoeb's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 6/27/2011 - 9:16pm
Replies by: Carol Taylor, awg

Hurray and thanks to God!

Now on to the oncologist to see what are the options and recommendations for me as a IIIa.

Be Not Afraid-God is with you always Stage IIIa

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Cspan's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 6/27/2011 - 9:03pm

My husband was diagnosed in January with scalp melanoma,when they did his PET scan they also found lymphoma (CLL) low grade and except for a few swollen glands- asymptomic.

It was very deep 6mm melanoma but he only had one sentinal node with micro mets. Because radical neck surgery didn't really improve survival and the interferon offered didn't really show much evidence of benefit we opted for watch and wait.

He went to an intergrative medicine specialist and has been working to boast his immune system naturally. Nothing crazy just organic foods, fish oil, green tea etc. His last bllod work looked great LDH went down from 200 to 143

Last week he found a lump at the sentinal node incision came back positive. We are having a really hard time and confused....this hasbeen the worst weekend of our lives. I don't know where to turn...should we go to a melanoma center? We live in Portland Oregon. Also, I don't know what to do for him emotionally and I guess right now this is our worst problem. He isn't sleeping or eating much and has a racing mind. He is fixated on getting his affairs in order. Am I in denial?

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H555's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 6/27/2011 - 8:05pm
Replies by: H555, Sherron, lhaley

My name is Ron Bassett-Smith, I'm 61 and will have surgery June 30th (the same day i retire ironically) to remove malignant lymp node(s?) from the inguinal area on my right side. I had a melanoma removed from my right calf 16 years ago, large excision, all tissue clean on the margins, regular follow up, no radiation no chemo. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005 related to Agent Orange exposure in South Vietnam in the late 60's. had surgery, then salvage radiation 2 years later and then was diagnoed with a biochemical recurrence in Jan of 2010. that one is slow growing, my psa scores are creeping up slowly. i'm very familiar with treatment, survival odds etc for prostate cancer. I've got a good oncologist at the Oregon Health Sciences University and for now see her annually till my psa scores hit a level that we've agreed will be the beginning of hormone therapy.

I found a lump on the line between my groin and my right leg 6 weeks ago, my primary care doc had a bone scan, CT scan of my chest, abdomen and groin and an MRI of my head and no tumors were identified. I was referred to the melanoma clinic/center at OHSU for needle biopsy on Tuesday and sure enough it came back as metastatic melanoma. I hadn't thought about the recurring in over 6 years. I'm having lymph nodes removed on June 30th and then likely interferon therapy in Salem - close to where i live.

We're kind of in shock. we had lots of plans for this summer, all of which are now on hold.  grandchild #2 is due in September, youngest son is in Kenya in the Peace Corps as of June 7th, for 26 months. I have lots to live for, am a bit nervous about what we might find out on Thursday but here's my assessment - tell me what you know, i'm on a similar web community for prostate cancer and have learned tons there in the last 6 years - 16 years between the 1st and 2nd occurence is good, no identifiable tumors is good. information after Thursday's surgery will tell us lots about how tought this is going to be. just thought I'd introduce my self as I suspect I'll be spending a fair amount of time here trying to understand the progression and treatement of metastatic melanoma. thank you.

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MRFUser2011's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 6/27/2011 - 10:02am

Hi All, I have quit visiting this bulletin board because I find it just takes too much of an emotional toll on me.  However, because I have GOOD news, I wanted to take a minute and share it.  The reality of melanoma can be terrifying so I think it is important to share when we have positive news.

My original Dx as Stage III was in 4/08 and was followed by invasive surgery.  I was clear on all my scans until I had small nodules first appear in my lungs on PET/CT in 4/10.  In 2/11, I had one nodule removed via VATS from my right lung and in 4/11, had the other removed from my left lung via VATS.  I won't say it was easy or without pain, but I will say that here I am 10 weeks post op from my second surgery living a relatively normal life again!  My PET/CT of two weeks ago came back clear.  : )  

I want to share something that has for me been life changing.  After my surgery in 4/08, I lived in constant fear that the melanoma would recur.  I had a very bad story in my mind about what that would mean for me and my family and I wasted a lot of time dwelling in fear as a result of that story.  As it has turned out, I did have a recurrance and yet it was completely treatable and I am here to continue on with my life.  I am no longer terrified of melanoma and I no longer waste time worrying about it coming back.  I am doing what I can to live a healthy life and will take life one day at a time.  

May blessings of wellness be with you, Shari

Game on. I am going to win! (The thought I had when I heard the doctor say I had melanoma.)

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Shelly in Switzerland's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 6/27/2011 - 9:54am

I am wondering about side effects of the STR. I have been wheelchair bound ever since the
WBR the middle of of March.
I begin the linac treatment (STR) this week, 5-10 doses. My left foot does not cooperate at ALL!

I want to fly to Seattle. Anybody out there who has regained use of their limbs?

Basically I am wanting to know length of recovery time after STR.
Am I crazy?

There is no will but God's will. Today I seek his peace.

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Suzgolden's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 6/27/2011 - 12:38am

Any opinions on vitamins? I am not a vitamin taker but would like to start taking some before I start any kind of adjuvant therapy. I am reading about Niacin, CoQ10 and Curcumin/Turmeric.

Whatever You Are Be A Good One -- A. Lincoln Right now I am a FIGHTER!

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Hi Kevin

I was just wondering how your treatment is going on, hopefully still well? :-)

In case you´re not satisfied with the effect of your therapy, have you considered Ipilimumab?

It seems that my wife is a complete responder, thanks to Ipilimumab (and her positive mind).

I wish you the very best fellow warrior.


kind regards



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Anonymous's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 6/26/2011 - 5:32pm

If during surgery while cutting out a tumor with wide margins, the surgeon "unknowingly" cuts into another tumor and only half the tumor is remove because it was at the wide margin confirmed by a pathology report , can anyone speculate or have knowledge of what happens to the open, penetrated cancer tumor left in the body. Do cancer cells fload into the blood/lymph system because the tumor has been penetrated? Your opinion would be appreciated. This scenario has happened to me and I am am trying to deal with it.

Thank you for taking the time to give me your  opinions

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mother-to-be's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 6/26/2011 - 3:59pm

Hi, I was recently diagnosed with superficial spreading melanoma on my upper left arm.  Breslow 1.1m, with ulceration and a high mitotic rate.  Last Friday, I did the SNP which initially came back negative.  The pathology report came back yesterday with 2 nests of activity, the largest one is .25mm, so it's very small.  I'm seeing an oncologist today and the cancer board meets on Friday to discuss the report and treatment options. I'm 40 years old and 7 (30 weeks) months pregnant with my first child.  

What does this mean for me?  I don't have a stage yet but from what I'm reading on the internet it may be a stage III.  Please share your knowledge and advice.  Thank you in advance.  Michelle

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triciad's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 6/26/2011 - 1:05pm
Replies by: carol b

I was just wondering if anyone has heard from Carol B.  She's in my prayers, but I haven't seen anything about her lately.

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bball's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 6/26/2011 - 11:18am

Most discussions I have seen or to do 30 day interferon vs. one year. Two onc have reccomended to me to watch and wait instead of interferon.

I am 2a but it was 3.4mm ,nodular,and high mitosis. I also am 4 months from diagnosis and still not sure I am doing the best for me. Other than the mel I am very healthy. Thanks for any inpiut. Also has anyone done vit C IV?

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I am hoping to find someone who has had a similar situation. My precious 11 year old little girl has been seen by 2 dermatologists (one was for second opinion) for a small black irregular bordered lesion onher lower left eyelid-where one would apply eyeliner. Due to past photo's we know that the lesion came up in the last 28 days. The first Dermatologist terrified us all because she had the whole dermatologist office come in and "look" at the lesion. She (as well as the rest of her colleages) informed us that this lesion looked very suspicious for melanoma and it needed to be fully exised ASAP. Second pediatric dermatologist said the exact same thing. She is scheduled to have it removed this Wednesday. I would like to insert a picture but I can't get it to work. Any others have any similar situations?

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Lisa13's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 6/26/2011 - 7:20am

9 days ago, I started my adventure with dacarbazine.  Other than 2 pretty bad days, this drug is easily tolerated.  I go out everyday and play with my daughter and still have energy when I come home to clean house.  The onset of symptoms can begin 5-7 days, so I think I've experienced the worst of it on days 5 & 6. If this drug work for the mets in my lungs, I could tolerate this for months.  I know this is not a favourable treatment, but it works for some people otherwise they wouldn't be using it at all.   No treatment for melanoma lasts forever, so if that was to buy me time until I have to use something else, I'll take it anyday!

I hope to be able to post a success story as I've seen 2 other people now post based on this drug.

Best of luck to all of you!


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

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dani_elle's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 6/26/2011 - 6:57am

Hello Everyone
Im feelin the need to vent:
Well my husband finally went into surgery on Tuesday For the superficial Lymph node dissection, in which he also got a rotational flap from his calf to cover up his heel. Wellllll Im a bit frustrated For soo many reasons. Ive been trying to get ahold of the oncologist. Miguel had an appointment yesterday the 23rd But since Hes hospitalized he couldnt go so ive continuosly asked nurses to page her & see if Maybe It was possible She could come up to the 4th floor... Literally 5 min away... so i could get Some questions answered. And We have yet to hear anything!! I dont know whats worse.. The cancer part...or not knowing whats next!
Then i was told that if i went to MD Anderson there would be an issue with the no insurance deal. My husband doesnt qualify for medicaid because of the fact that he does not have a social and honestly it breaks my heart to know and be told that its very likely he may not even be eligible for clinical trials. Doesnt sound very ethical to me,but im going to keep on trying and asking around. Social or no social... He is a human being before anything else.
And to top it off today the plastic surgeon came in concerned about the flap over my husbands heel. It seems to be slowly dying so they began a leech therapy (kind of gross i know, but we actually think its pretty cool:) Im crossing my fingers that the leeches will make a difference. I know we still have a LONG way to go in the healing process, but it sure would make a couple of us glad if this procedude didnt fail on us!=/

Thnks For Reading.

-Dont Tell GOD How big your storm is, tell your storm how big your GOD is!

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