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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Anonymous's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 5/4/2011 - 9:46pm
Replies by: Vermont_Donna

I just came back from attending the Stowe (VT) Weekend of Hope - now in its 11th year.  This was my first time attending. What a great event!  Held the first weekend in May each year, the weekend offers the chance for cancer survivors and their families to convene in the beautiful and welcoming town of Stowe, Vermont for 3 days of activities - or just relaxation.  As a first time attendee I was eligible for and received free accomodations in Stowe  - and the actual conference was free.  Organizers noted that the Inns and Hotels around Stowe donated some $90K in accomodations to this year's event for first time attendees!  The online registration process and follow up phone call to register for the accomodations was painless.

There were over 410 survivors registered this year representing over 16 types of cancer.  While the color pink was out in force, I never found it overpowering.   Survivors were able to find common ground pretty easy regardless of their diagnosis. (Say 'steroids', 'chemo', or 'health insurance' to anyone and there was an instance bond/discussion).  The conference like atmosphere offered a number of sessions regarding specific cancers with discussions by doctors,  to more broad topics of interest to many - relaxation/self-hypnosis,  what's next after cancer, etc  offered by patient survivors turned advocates or other types of specialists.  I chose to attend many of the sessions and still had some time for R&R.   While most attendees were from New England, NY, PA, there were some from across the US.  There were many returning attendees who mark their calendars each year to come and bond with other survivors and/or reconnect with their families in Stowe.   I will be one of them for the 2012 event!

For info on this year's event: 

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boot2aboot's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 5/5/2011 - 12:41pm

I am curious to find out if anyone else got an initial diagnosis of IIIC? what treatments did you start? how were the results?

don't back up, don't back down

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 5/3/2011 - 9:19pm
Replies by: Jackie W, Anonymous

I have been reading profiles and was wondering why so many people have different stages between diagnosis and current stage? Is it that you are incorrectly diagnosed at the beginning or is it that your disease advance?

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dawn dion's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 5/5/2011 - 4:26am

Okay I know I asked this earlier in a reply to msmarilyn but I thought I would post this question out right because I am really curious.   I get a lot of joint pain and muscle fatigue, mostly  if I do a lot of walking .  I will feel if for days afterwards all through the bottom of my hips, thighs and calves.   This is not something that would have happened before so obviously it is from the drugs but I was curious if anyone else was having these issues and if so what has been done about them.   I  don't intend to slow down because I have two kids and I will continue to do all I can with them so I need a game plan,  Sunday I got to the point of being so sore I had a hard time walking. (really pissed me off)  My DR. asked me if it was interfering with my life when I was there last week and at that point I really kind of blew it off, because I am far from a whiner and will put up with a lot, but I am beginning to think that it could.

Anybody out there got any suggestions - I am open to any and all.

Thanks for the insight

Hugs and Smiles


I refuse to let this beat me. I WILL NOT LEAVE MY GIRLS! MELANOMA CAN BITE ME!

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beatricefromPARIS's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 5/4/2011 - 6:15am

Hi all,

Had 4th ipi injection a week ago

so far, it's a walk!

no adverse reaction apart from fatigue and occasionnal mumbling of the tummy

can't tell yet if response because tumors are all inside, not visible

last blood count indicates depleted red cells but that was due to previous treatments and new one :higher than normal eosinophil count. No idea what that means...Any info ?


Beatrice stage IV


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My husband got the phone call from the dermatologist this morning... the area that was biopsied from his abdomen is melanoma. "Leaning more toward Stage IV", the dermatologist said.

My husband is a hypochondriac. He blows things way out of proportion. So I called the derm office myself to find out exactly what they said. They've referred us to a surgical oncologist (best one in the area, they said). SurgOnc will be calling us in 1-2 days to schedule consult.

I am NOT a hypochondriac. I typically down-play things, ESPECIALLY because he gets so worked up about EVERYTHING. But this has me quite concerned.

My husband's melanoma is just (so far) in the one spot... from what we understand. I have so many questions... is he going to die? He's only 38 years old. I thought melanoma deaths were mostly related to older people, like in their 70's and 80's? My grandfather had multiple melanomas, but he also had other severe health problems, including dementia, Parkinson's, etc. I thought he died of ALL those things combined. Even so, if he did die of the melanoma, he lived until he was 75.

Am I going crazy here!?!?! We just had a little girl. She's not even 2 years old yet. I'm only 29 and my husband could be DYING?!?! We have two teenage daughters as well...whom we haven't told yet (we're still reeling from the news this morning). I don't know what to do! I'm just praying & trying to entrust all of this to God. We have no answers until we meet with the SurgOnc.

Any help anyone can provide would be MUCH appreciated. Thank you.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 5/9/2011 - 8:21pm

i am just curious - i know may is melanoma awareness month and in speaking about this topic with friends i realize so many are so clueless about melanoma. they think it must be some ugly looking, huge, black mole. in reality, i know a few people that have pretty small melanomas that werent dark at all and looked like a little freckle.

so did your melanoma fit the description that most people assume - or did it look pretty harmless and your dr was even surprised by the diagnosis.

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Shelby - MRF's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 8/9/2012 - 5:58am
Replies by: Anonymous, Lori C, Ranisa

Avvo will donate $5 to the MRF for every doctor review they receive in the month of May.  Pleae use this link to be directed to Avvo's webpage designed specifically for skin cancer awareness and the MRF: 

Pass this along to your friends!  Thanks!Ple

Shelby - MRF

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Shelby - MRF's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 5/6/2011 - 10:05am

Hello everyone! 

We have had several requests for some change regarding the viewing of posts on the bulletin board.  We were able to get a quote on making an internal change to the website so that users can sort posts by personal preference, either by last reply date OR by original post date.  This will hopefully help with the issues that have been brought to our attention.  The quote was just given to us but we have given them the go-ahead to make these changes.  Once we have an estimated date that this will go into effect, I will announce that in this message.  Thanks so much for your patience, understanding, and input and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions/concerns regarding this change.  Have a wonderful day!

Shelby - MRF

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Eugenia's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 5/4/2011 - 8:02am
Replies by: Janner, Eugenia

Here is my SIL's pathology report:

Skin, left leg lesion:  Melanoma in situ

Comment:  It is not known if this is a biopsy of a larger lesion or an excisional biopsy.  Due to small size, fragmentation and orientation, the margins cannot be adequately evaluated.

Skin, Left Leg Lesion:  Received and labeled “lesion L leg,” is a .2 cm portion of dark brown-gray tissue that is submitted as received along with a smaller minute fragment.

Clinical info or preop diag:  None given

Microscopic Description:  The sections consist of levels of two tiny fragments of skin with a melanocytic lesion.  There is a lentigenous melanocytic proliferation;  focally the melanocytic cells are see in the superficial portions of the epidermis.  Cytologic atypia is mild to moderate.  No mitoses are seen.  A few lymphocytes are seen in the underlying dermis.  Fragmentation and orientation preclude evaluation of the margins.

**any misspellings are most likely mine! :)

This is the pathology report that caused the general practitioner to want to do a punch biopsy before a full excision.  Instead, my SIL asked to be referred to an oncologist and now has an appointment scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday) with the oncologist, who may want to do the exact same thing, but will at least know what he is doing or send her to someone who does.  Also, she has an infection in the wound caused by the shave biopsy, and was given an oral antibiotic for the infection.

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TracyLee's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 5/3/2011 - 5:44am

I've got two appointments in the next couple of weeks for a second opinion about having radiation for my scalp melanoma.

First appointment is at U of Penn in Philly with Dr. Schuchter. Second is at Johns Hopkins with Dr. Sharfman. Has anyone else consulted with either of them?

Anything SPECIFIC I should be asking at these consultations? I'm mailing my entire set of records ahead of the appointments for their review.

While I feel I should do radiation, my husband is opposed. Obviously it's ultimately my choice, but it would be helpful to be on the same page as far as treatment. This is all hard enough without also battling my husband!

My doctors feel it has migrated into my skull membrane (on top of the skull, not inside), and there is only so much they can do surgically. I have had five surgeries in the past year, on my scalp and neck.

Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares. 1 Peter 5:7 Stage IV 5/16/11 Ipi - 4 rounds May - July 2011 BRAF expanded access trial 8/8/11

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sharmon's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 5/4/2011 - 8:48pm

He was on Mek alone for over 14 months and was stable after a 25% reduction.  In Feb. he increased in two tumors by 23% and was removed from that MEk alone trial.  He had his first infusion of the Pemetrexed chemo a week ago along with a dose amount of 1.5 mg of MEK .

We want you to know that he feels that the discomfort he was feeling at the end of the Mek alone trial is much better.  Brent is BRAF negative and negative for all the mutations that MDA has to ability to screen. 

The side effects from the Pemetrexed chemo is mild.  Slight flu like feeling and some fatique.  Pemetrexed is a chemo use for lung cancer. 

God Bless you all and each one of you are important to us.  Just knowing you are there helps us know we are not alone.



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Rendergirl's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 5/3/2011 - 9:19pm

I think I might be getting mine removed tomorrow or the next day, under arm. Question.... did it hurt anyone? Looks like I have a stitch or two in the skin around it. I'm a little scared, I know it's silly, after surgery to be scared of getting the little drain removed, but I am.

Any experiences?

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nickmac56's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 5/4/2011 - 12:25am

As I've documented recently, my wife, Stage 4 melanoma, Ipi non-responder, skin and lung mets, and now brain tumors (one of which burst causing her to undergo brain surgery), is at home now, recovering. There is sort of a game plan with our trusted oncologist, when her brain calms down a bit more we will likely meet with a radiologist to discuss radiation (gamma or cyberknife) to address remnants of the tumor removed during surgery and the other known one in a different location. (we are obviously knocked out of the NIH trials we were scheduled to attempt). I've spent quite a bit of time this weekend trying to understand realistic outcomes for melanoma patients with brain mets and figuring out how to help her understand quality of life issues when looking at treatment options and their side effects relative to life extension. The statistics and prognosis generally for someone in her state are not good. I know all the arguments about how each person's experience will vary and I'm not proposing we give up. But I have two college age kids who want to understand what the course of events likely will be in order to prepare themselves. and I have a wife who is somewhat cognitively impaired from the stroke, and frankly is in quite an anxiety free and positive mood. So I am more than unclear about how to talk to my young men about their mom, let alone whether and how to help my wife understand her situation without upsetting or confusing her (is blissful ignorance better than knowledge?). If she knew the probable outcome she might start taking some actions now (letters to her boys when they marry, etc). Or do I just leave it to the oncologist and radiologist to break the eventual news?

Anyone been in this situation with advice?

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

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 5/1/2011 - 5:32pm
Replies by: MichaelFL

Hi Everyone,


I am scheduled for surgery to remove a tumor in a few weeks.


Has anyone frozen their tumor & if so, how did you use your frozen tumor at a later date( ie genetic testing, vaccine, etc.)? Was there a costor fee for freezing the tumor & for storing it.

Thanks for your input.



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