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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WalterA's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 2/17/2011 - 12:15am
Replies by: LynnLuc, Rocklove, lhaley, King

The news from my CT scan and oncologist today were not good. Two and a half years after it spread to my lungs, it now has shown up in my liver. I'll go back on Wednesday for another scan, a full-body PET. The oncologist wants to find out if the lesion on my liver is the only one, or if there are others. So we don't know what the treatment protocol will be. If there's just the one lesion, we might try radiofrequency ablation. If there is more than one, we'll have to try something else.

"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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PeterO's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 2/14/2011 - 3:46pm
Replies by: Tim--MRF

It appears ipi may be at the same crossroads as Avastin vis-a-vis the FDA. What's the latest from MRF on where things may end up with ipi?

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filbert's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 2/15/2011 - 3:23pm

I originally posted 2 1/2 years ago when I was diagnosed stage 4 melanoma.  I started with chest pains which of course I thought was heart problems . They found however a 6 cm tumor in right lung.  They went to to do a thorachotomy (sp?) then closed me up/aborted it.  They decided it would be too much to take our part of a lung  etc etc.   Oh btw I log on as filbert-name is actually Phil.  Live in SW Washington-Vancouver.

Our son had just undergone oral cancer, lost half his tongue etc etc but it now doing great.   At that point we kne we needed totally professional care so we switched to Providence Cancer Center in Portland...amazing facility.  I've had 2 rounds of IL2 and another trial which got interrrupted because of a new tumor growth.  I just had my 12 week scan out from Ipi.   Both good and bad I guess.   The original tumor in the lung has grown a smidgeon to 6.9 cm and there are several new little growths in the lung area.   I kinda figured there was something going on because of constant back /some stomach pain.  Oncologist says the tumor is pushing on the nerves on the lung wall.  

Sooooooooooooooo long story short he is reviewing tissue saved from a previous tumor harvest to see if I am BRAF mutant (I always wanted to be a mutant!).   If that's a go I will start Braf in about a month. 

They have never found a primary source and since it's internal I can't compare notes on some of the pics of external tumors I see here.   I'm just praying that I have the BRAF gene  (whatever they call it) .  If not I'm at a loss as to what they could do next for me.

I have followed this board for along time but at times I don't "chime in" ...I don't feel like I have anything to offer.  Some of the medical terminology can be overwhelming.   

I've recently doubled my Norco (10-325) to 4 pills a day and about 1600 ibuprofen.   AT times that takes care of the pain...other times I just 'grit my teeth"!

Just wanted to say thanks for all of your ongoing support.  I admire all of you in how you fight in your own individual way.   My son just bought me a Kindle and I love it.   Since so much time is spent in that stupid recliner it helps keep my mind in shape...



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NicOz's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 2/15/2011 - 9:10am

Now I know it's the wee small hours over there (and you'd better be getting some sleep!), but wanted to post quickly to say I'm thinking of you, and hoping with all I'm worth that your first WBR is as stress free and runs as smoothly as is possible for you... and the entire treatment runs along the same vein :) Take it easy, rest up when you can 'cos you're going to need it, and take some good music in case you get stuck 'just hanging aound' (bloody hospitals :P) Thanks for the lotto numbers (kinda...) and may those little b@stards be zapped into an alternate universe.

Take care,

Nic xxx

Meh. Get on with it. Do not feed rabid monkeys. To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another

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Ali's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 2/14/2011 - 6:47pm
Replies by: Vermont_Donna, Ali, TAC, molly, lhaley

I spent a lot of time on this website almost 4 years ago, and appreciated everything I learned.  I thought I knew a lot, but right now I don't even know what stage I am concidered, and what my treatment options will be now.

I was a IIIb, 2.5, ulcerated, three positive lymph nodes.  Interferon tolerated for 9 months.  No problems until this week I had them take off a weird wart looking nodule that came from no where and they called back friday saying it was a metastasis from my origanal melanoma.  It was on the opposite side of my knee, maybe 6 inces away.  I only talked to the dermatologist, and not for long, so I have been going crazy all weekend.  I'm sure I will talk to my oncologist this week, but what am I looking at here?

Is this concidered a satellite lesion?  Would they bump my stage up to IIIc because I had positive lymph nodes (although it was micrometastisis there) and a satellite?  What treatments are appropriate, or could they say it won't be treated?  They wouldn't do interferon again would they?  The derm. mentioned radiation, thoughts?

I just had my last scans in September and because it was my 3 year mark they said I didn't need anymore and they did not expect it come back if it hadn't already.  Wow, I just wasn't prepared for this.  Any insight much appreciated. 

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EddieM's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 2/14/2011 - 9:45am
Replies by: Carmon in NM, TAC, Anonymous

I have a friend with stage 4 melanoma. Her disease isnt my story to tell, so I wont go into detail about that. But apart from just being here for her when she needs to talk what practical things could I be doing? What have you found helpful? She doesn't like to ask for anything. I know she gets tired and at times has some mobility problems. Maybe there are some things I havent thought of which is why Im asking for people with experience.

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Hi all,

Just wondering if anyone has experienced pain in/around tumour sites as th tumours are shrinking?

My husband is on Mek/PI3k trial that we know has worked ( over 15% shrinkage so far). He recently had to stop taking the drugs so a side effect could clear up and when he started back on the drugs about a week into treatment he started to get aches and pain in the areas the cancer has invaded.

This happened when he first started the drugs months ago and then gradually tapered off as everything shrunk or stopped growing.

Part of us thinks it's all good, the part of us is of course scared.... but i thought i'd reach out and see if anyone else had similar experiences?




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NicOz's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 2/16/2011 - 12:34am

Well, I’ve decided it’s time to clear up what are some obvious misconceptions about me. Obviously it's going to be long as I have to spell it out carefully so as not to be further misunderstood :P

Many have made the assumption that I am anti-alternative therapy. I guess that depends on what one defines as ‘alternative therapy’. It seems to be anything that doesn’t involve convention treatment according to the definition of most. Apparently I have  a very different idea, though I'm sure I'm not the lone ranger... maybe.

Personally, I do not believe that alternative therapy includes supplements. Tumeric. Vit D. Astragalus and the like. In fact, the only thing that can concern me at times with regard to supplements is when people do not check that they are contraindicated for a medication they may be taking. For example- astragalus should not be taken when one is required to use decadron. The reason I KNOW this is because I took the time to look into it... which I would NOT have done, had I not been taking a supplement in which astragalus were included. (And you know me- I wouldn’t be taking astragalus if there wasn’t some evidence it actually DOES have an effect on the immune system, so it is also not the case that anything which could be considered a “natural” remedy is immediately discounted by me)

Meditation, yoga, massage. Nothing alternative there as far as I can see. People all over the world (and without cancer) practice these things because it makes them feel better. Alternative? Hardly. No, I don’t do those things. Not because I think them alternative, but because while some people obviously enjoy them, I don’t. Hair cuts make me feel good, though, and lots of people have those frequently, but I wouldn’t say I’m being alternative because I do.

Macrobiotic diets? Exercise? Drinking WATER. Juicing their own vege’s? People without cancer do that too, because of the health benefits. Once again? NOT alternative. The suggest that it IS, I find incredibly strange. I drink water *gasp* AND juice my own vege’s too- doesn’t make me alternative. It doesn’t make doing those things alternative therapies, though.

Clinics and therapies which claim to treat cancer without any evidence, and many of these have been around for many years so would have been proven one way or the other if the practitioners were interested in providing proof for their therapies- alternative therapy, IMO. Particularly when they are based on cellular knowledge from 50 years ago, and yet are still remaining providing the same tired old claims about the same tired old therapies, and using testimonials with no scientific evidence to support their claims. Some of these have been shown to be worse for the patient (QOL or physically) than doing nothing, so that is why I get somewhat irritated when they are suggested (particularly by people who haven’t undergone the regimen themselves). If I weren’t concerned they may not actually harm some patients, I’d say “knock yourselves out and spend all the money you want”. Trust me on that.

One other thing I am sceptical about, are claims re: “mets” (usually the lung) which have not been biopsied, and the resulting claims that someone’s lifestyle change has “cured them”. I cannot count the amount of times people have posted concerning lung modules, sure that it’s their melanoma progressing, only to find it has been discovered/confirmed to an infection, or scar tissue from a previous infection. So without a histological diagnosis, a ‘lung nodule’ which goes away or remains stable is not necessary something that has been ‘cured’. And that is not my personal opinion. That is a fact.

And lastly, the assumption that people make that it is a lifestyle change or supplement that is the reason they have not progressed. I find that somewhat assumptive, particularly when their lack of progression is well inside the norm for all patients in the same situation, and more particularly when people have undergone surgery and/or used conventional medicine to reach NED status. It confuses me as to how someone has come to the conclusion that THEY are the reason they have not progressed, but it’s far from the first time in my life that I’ve been confused. And I guess what I find frustrating relates to other people who are at a different point in their disease can be made to feel like they are to blame for having a different result, rather than mel being to blame like it deserves to be, and I don’t think people take this into consideration enough.

So please, stop with the mental shortcuts. You’re doing yourselves a disservice by throwing everything that doesn’t involve a medication requiring a prescription under the umbrella of “alternative”, and assuming anyone who takes issue with certain things I have mentioned, as being critical and closed minded.

Hopefully this is clear enough to be understood. I know I’m from Australia and I have brain tumours, but really... there are times when I wonder if I speak a language from an entirely different planet, not merely a different country when I see how easily misunderstood what I say can be completely misinterpreted.

So that is my position on this particular issue. Believe it or don't. Attack it or don't. Take it on board, or don't. Either way, I've said what I wanted to say and that's all that really matter to me. But from now on there is no excuse for make assumptions about my belief system, and that's really all I care about :)

Nic (in a VERY zen state since surgery and planning on remaining that way) Hope everyone else is feeling as good!)

Meh. Get on with it. Do not feed rabid monkeys. To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another

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jenniperry's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 2/15/2011 - 1:03pm

It's so strange to sit and watch the progression of this disease.  He has continued to decline and is now on oxygen.  He has fluid in his left lung and is starting to have secretions.  Thought we had the nausea and vomiting under control until this morning when it started back only 1 hour after phenergan.  He is on so many medicines for all his symptoms.  He has been up and down the last week.  I never thought he would make it to this week by how he looked last week, but he continues to surprise me.  He was able to get up and spend time with me on my birthday and was up and doing some things on his "list" yesterday.  His eyes are looking glassy and his face is thin. His kidneys are hurting him and his urine is very dark and not much being produced. It's like an emotional roller coaster.  He's up then way down.  I just feel like I don't know how much more I can take.  I'm trying so hard to just cherish every minute he's awake, but find myself constantly looking for clues of how much time he has.  I just don't want to see him suffer and waste away.  Praying for mercy.

Cherish every day you have.

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mimi0201's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 2/13/2011 - 9:51pm
Replies by: Anonymous, Jerry from Cape Cod

     Could someone help clarify the process of obtaining IPI?  What does "compassionate use" mean to us?  FDA approval is going to be prolonged once again according to our oncologist, another 3-4 months, he believes.  I've found a compasionate use trial, but one of it's criteria is that you must not be eligilbe for any other IPI trial.  Can any oncologist get it for compassionate use? I'm confused, the clock is ticking and meanwhile we have disease progression.

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JoanR's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 2/17/2011 - 8:56am
Replies by: Sharyn, Anonymous, Janner

If you are reading this Sharyn, please know we are all thinking about you and hoping your surgery went well.   If Jim is reading this, perhaps you can let us know about Sharyn's condition, and also the address of the hospital where Sharyn is if in fact she will have a long stay..Cheers Joan

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carol b's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 2/13/2011 - 10:08pm

i was wandering if anyone has any good anti depression drug. something that makes you on clanasapam 1 mg and it aint working and all it does it make me sleepy. i want to know are there any happy pills out there??

Believe all thing are possible, believe faith can move mountains, believe in the healing power of prayer and never ever give up on your dreams

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dawn dion's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 2/12/2011 - 7:30pm
Replies by: lhaley, carol b, Anonymous, KatyWI

Wow talking about this stuff seems so Weird!!!   Like I should be talking about someone else.  In Jan 2010 I went to my Dr. and asked to have this spot removed from my  left arm.  It had been there forever and for whatever reason it was starting to make me nervous.   She told me to wait six months.  Well 4 1/2 months into the six  it ulcerated.  I knew this couldn't be good.    Had it removed told stage 3 melenoma had a trace amount in the sentinel node and had the remaining lymph nodes under my left arm removed.   Told 30% chance it would ever return and went on ipiluminad (sp)   The whole time I was doing the drug I was told this is what you want to be doing - great  results with this drug.  Three months after I started the trial guess what I am now Stage IV.      I have two beautiful girls and I am scared out of my mind. 

 My Dr. called me the other night and said great news you tested positive for the gene change so now we can move on to the next trial.   Does anyone out there have anything good to say about this.  Because right now I am feeling like a guinea pig.   I read melenoma girls story and I swear it was like reading my own, with the exception of being told that interferon would do me no good and to go with the trial - I feel like I have been failed so many times by my Drs that I don't know what to do or think next. 

I know there are sooooo many of you out there in the same boat - but I feel really alone and scared beyond anything I have ever felt before - Every time I look at my girls all I can do is cry because I feel like I am failing my family.   I was recently told to get off my a** and stop feeling sorry for myself.  In time i know I will but for right now I am feeling very sad in Florida.


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

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I'll hang around in the melanoma section of chat for a bit in case you want to talk.

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lost's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 2/15/2011 - 3:14pm

I was just recently diagnosed...literally hasn't been but a couple of weeks. They say I have stage iv with tumors on my colon, lung, spine, spinal cord, and on my brain. So far I haven't really been given anything towards my next step, just that it will most likely involve surgery, radiation, and chemo.  I'm so in the dark about this and how to deal with this for myself and my family and kids. Can anyone point me in a direction?

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