A blog about us…and journey with Melanoma

Melanoma can be Devastating

All cancer sucks.  We don’t need to tell you that.  Melanoma especially sucks.  It  is one of the most deadly cancers because it spreads quickly from your skin to your internal organs and there arent many drugs that can stop it.  It doesn’t discriminate by age and is one of the most common cancers for those under 30.   See the memorial page at Melanoma International Foundation or read some of the news stories and blogs below to see how they fought this horrible disease.  We just want you to know how important it is to check your skin because catching melanoma early is the key.

READ THE STORIES OF MELANOMA WARRIORS  HERE

If you have been diagnosed, please visit these message boards for emotional support and questions – all of the people there are in the same boat and they are so helpful and wonderful!

Melanoma International Foundation Boards

Melanoma Research Foundation Boards

SAD STORIES FROM THE NEWS

Annie Leinen, age 28, mother of 3.
Diagnosed in October 2009 when she was pregnant.  She died 2 months later in December 2009 at Stanford where she was receiving treatment for Stage 4.  She died a few weeks after delivering her baby, who was 12 weeks premature.  http://www.redlandsdailyfacts.com/ci_14311310?source=rss_emailed

29 year old Ga. Man with Melanom Marries With Days To Live

http://www.ajc.com/news/with-just-days-to-288505.html

Newlywed cancer patient dies at 29 (follow up to story above)

http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/032410/new_595401483.shtml

29 years old young man– Stage IV – father of 3

http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/x231966584/Friends-relatives-rally-around-family-after-man-s-cancer-returns

Video: 18 years old from Australia – Stage IV Melanoma – taking BRAF inhibitor “the wonder drug”

http://tvnz.co.nz/close-up/have-scientists-discovered-wonder-drug-3348642/video

Diagnosed in High School – now Stage III and on interferon

http://www.holyokeenterprise.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1712:former-hhs-student-stays-positive-as-a-cancer-survivor&catid=34:local-news&Itemid=34

Age 27 – Fortune Levy
died in late 2009 after being diagnosed while pregnant with twins.

http://grandstreetnews.com/scripts/grand/paper/Article.asp?ArticleID=958

20 year old young lady – stage IV

http://newstribune.com/articles/2010/01/30/news_local/nt335local11neva10.txt

STORIES OF MELANOMA ANGELS

Darren Lee Farwell 1969-2001

Darren was a friend of Emily’s from high school.  He died at the age of 32 and left three young children behind.  He had a mole on his back and died 5 years later.   After his diagnosis, His wife Rhonda started a company that sells protective clothing for the sun.  http://www.uvskinz.com/

Darren’s memorial:  http://melanomaintl.org/memorial/in_memory/farwell_darren.html

Melanoma Wife – http://melanomawife.blogspot.com/

It is with great sadness that I move Mindy’s Melanoma Wife blog into the angel section.  Mindy lost the love of her life on April 1, 2010.  Marcus leaves behind two beautiful girls and a brokenhearted wife.

Mother of 2 – Age 34 http://livingwithmelanoma.blogspot.com/

Mike, Age 35 – http://ponefight.blogspot.com/

Jaime, Age 29 http://www.theschlip.org/jaime%20rea.html

Danielle Harmon, Age 42.  http://www.danielleharmon.com/ She started her blog in June and died in August.  It can be so quick.  Did I say how much I hate melanoma?

Andy Caress, Age 26:  http://www.andycaress.com/ A gorgeous young  man.  A tri-athelete – he fought hard against the beast and started a non-profit.  We can thank him, along with many other melanoma angels, for their contribution doing clinical trials of drugs in the hope of finding a cure for cancer…

Casey James, Age 20.  Diagnosed Stage 4 after a seizure and spent 11 of 14 months afterwards in the hospital.  He died on July 4, 2011.   His mother says “I hate you melanoma, you are an evil bitch” …we agree. Bless you Casey.      http://www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-James-Fan-Page/145863412135372

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mindylanoux
Mindy Lanoux was featured in a NY Times Article on the MD Anderson Cancer center and we have followed her story on Caring Bridge.  She was Stage IV for a over 2 years and did many chemos and clinical trials.  She was a 37- year old Texas teacher with young children.  She passed away on September 1, 2011.  Rest in peace, Mindy.

Matt Durham..firefighter, age 45.  “Three months was all it took from diagnosis to death..”  The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) points to several studies showing cancer rates are higher among firefighters than in the general population, and kills more firefighters a year than fire-related injuries and heart attacks.

http://www.smelanoma.com/ – A young father in his 30s with Stage IV melanoma.  Mike Brockey chose to do the Gerson cancer therapy (juicing/enemas) when he was given a year to live.  Instead of chemo, he chose carrot juice.  It held his cancer at bay.   Mike progressed and started the new drug Yervoy and he had a great response to it.  But it came back.  He passed away in Nov 2011. We had followed him during his journey for 2 years.  Devastating is the only word I can think of.

http://thewilemansjourney.blogspot.com/ Andy Wileman  a 40 year old police officer and father of young children fought Stage IV melanoma – he passed away in December 2011.  I kept in touch with him and my heart goes out to his family.

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53 responses

  1. Pingback: Survivors. « Em and Michael's Blog

  2. My angel and son, Casey James lost his battle at the age of 20. My husband and I are so deeply heart broken without him here. After a 14 month fight and of the 14 months, 11 months he never left the hospital. He passed on July 4, 2011. I miss him so much. I don’t know if my life will ever be the same. He was an angel on this earth and I know he is now an angel in Heaven. I hate Melanoma!!!!!!!!! It took my Sweetest Angel! To read his story, you can find it at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Casey-James-Fan-Page/145863412135372 God bless all of you! I know what you’re going through. ~Kelly James

    July 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm

  3. Liv

    We lost my wonderful Dad to melanoma 9 months ago. It is a scarily vicious form of cancer. I wrote ‘My Dad and his Melanoma’ roughly from the time we found out it was stage IV. I wrote it to keep friends and family informed of what was happening, but I leave it online in the hope that it can help someone else to understand roughly what to expect at different stages – something we really wanted to have a rough idea about.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

  4. Karen Thompson

    We lost our Cami 2 years following her diganosis- she held on for her son, Gage. We all supported her dream of many more birthdays but the cancer was too strong and the treatments and operations could not keep ahead of the 17 tumors in her brain. I hate cancer and the mess it leaves behind. I miss you Cami and always will.

    November 8, 2011 at 5:21 am

    • Karen, I am so sorry for your loss. Melanoma is so horrible and doesn’t discriminate by age. And most people don’t get how devastating “skin cancer” can be. I know you do. I am sending you all my best. Emily

      November 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

  5. MarcyB

    Dear All,
    Thank you for sharing your personal stories on Melanoma, and the emotions you encountered, i.e. pain, strength, determination.
    My husband is a very private, non-talkative person, and I would appreciate your feedback in order for me to help him.
    Last month he removed a big, dark, irregular-shaped mole from his back.
    Now that the biopsy came back, his doctor told him the cells around the mole are “abnormal” though it “is not cancer”. They have to do an additiona excision to leave a margin around the abnormal mole cells.

    I don’t understand how cells can be abnormal and not cancerous. Does this mean “potentially cancerous”? Should we trust that the excision will permenently cure him ?

    January 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    • Marcy – this is a hard thing to understand but I have heard of others with the same issue. Melanoma is diagnosed under the microscope when cells looks a certain way – but just because they are abnormal doesnt mean it is melanoma. I would highly recommend the wide excision to get clear margins around the mole – and you should get a second opinion. You should find a good pathologist who can review the biopsy slides. Surgery is the best cure for melanoma so that is why they are doing the wide excision. What you should do is send a message to Catherine at the Melanoma International Foundation.. she can give you info on good places to get a second opinion as I am sure she has dealt with the same situation with many others: http://forum.melanomaintl.org/toastforums/toast.asp?sub=show&action=topics&fid=6 Take care, Emily

      January 18, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    • Kari Olson

      NO! My son, Morgan, aged 26, died in December 2013. He had melanoma that was excised from his arm and had some lymph nodes removed in August of 2011. March was when it went to his lungs and December of 2012 to his brain. I can’t emphasize enough how vicious this cancer is!!!! If they try to tell you he is cancer-free, NO ONE IS! This is an aggressive cancer that must be treated aggressively. I can’t tell you, however, what that magic formula is. My son tried diet, supplements, lifestyle changes, Iscador and different western medications. The problem was not being diagnosed early enough and NOT BEING TOLD HOW LIKELY IT WAS TO COME BACK AFTER SURGERY!!!! He thought he was “cancer-free” after his surgery (he was not), so did not aggressively address his lifestyle nor take diet, supplements and injections seriously. I blame the doctors for not taking it seriously. I believe “abnormal” cells can be considered “pre-cancerous” – I wouldn’t take any chances. Circulating tumor cells cannot be seen on scans – this is how cancer spreads. This is how it sneaks into the rest of the body, even when it looks like everything is gone. I’m sorry to say anything that may be scary, but I wish now someone had done that for us, as shocking as it would have been. i know the shock would have been a lot less than my losing my only son. If you would like to talk privately about our experience, please let me know and I will give you my contact information. Hopefully some lives can be saved when my son’s could not.

      Kari (in Minnesota)

      April 22, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      • Kari I am so sorry for the loss of your son. It makes me sick to my stomach – the reality and sneakiness of this disease. It’s why they call melanoma “the beast”. We knew that surgery might not stop the melanoma in Mike. I did the research and it was hard and depressing to learn about this disease. We saw that people with a supposed “low chance” of recurrence were dying often (stage 1/2). It is the reason I made this page…because it is a horrible reality. Anyone diagnosed with melanoma needs to be educated on the risk of recurrence because as you said there are circulating tumor cells and other factors that we just don’t know about. So we need to make a plan and be prepared – no matter what stage/age. People think “its just skin cancer” and dismiss it. That needs to change. I will email you. – Take care .. Emily

        April 25, 2014 at 3:15 am

  6. Joanna Lendich

    Hi, my dear friend has been diagnosed with stage IV melanoma in December 2011. At the tender age of 24, she is adjusting to living life with this dreadful disease. Do you happen to know anyone who is also living in Auckland and living with stage IV melanoma?

    February 26, 2012 at 8:19 am

    • Hi Joanna – I am so sorry to hear that she has Stage 4 melanoma at such a young age. I personally don’t know anyone but I would reach out to Jay Allen in Australia since he is a great resource and knows many young people with melanoma – http://www.sunbedban.jigsy.com/ – you can also post on Melanoma International Foundation’s and Melanoma Research Foundation’s bulletin boards. I know there is a Melanoma support group in Australia too. Please keep me updated on her progress. Take care, Emily

      February 26, 2012 at 7:36 pm

  7. Della

    I too have melanoma after having a mole near my belly button removed and getting the thing done so early but as they say they can never tell and it returned early november in my groin. As secondary very scary ive now had a c section where one of my nodes was like a chook egg and then removed the rest but i now have lymphodema was a very active person before this, im now awaiting four weeks of radiation its all rather like a dream realy sme days are bad some good i only hope i get go live so i can finish what i wish to do on this earth see my daughters weddings ect spend time with my husband quality time and to see yhem find a cure for cancer

    March 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

  8. Josie

    I just lost my husband of nearly 43 years on Aug. 26 2012 of malignant melanoma. He was diagnosed in March of 2009. He first noted a lump in his left groin. It was biopsied and he was diagnosed with IV stage melanoma. His main tumor was in his right lung. I was devastated but he took it in stride knowing that there was really nothing he could do about it. He started juicing which I think really helped. He also submitted to high dose interlukin treatment in May, 2009. He continued juicing and we both became Vegan (most of the time). Finally, in July 2011 he had surgery for the now increased and spreading tumors in his lung. It was a tricky surgery since the main tumor was so close to his trachea/esophegus. Surgery was successful partially. Couldn’t get it all so in time it grew back but slowly. In the meantime it had metsed to his brain. Craniotomy Oct 31, 2011. He had a great Haloween costume with his head wrapped in gauze. Surgery was very successful but it grew back rapidly. Now there were many tumors. Seemed the melanoma was starting to accelerate. Started Zelboraf full dose in Nov. but side effects landed him in the hospital. After a break, stared Zelboraf again in Jan. 2012 at a lowe dose then gradually increased dose to a little over half the first amount. Worked well for awhile. Had whole brain radiation in March. Devastating! Really put him down. He was coming back…getting his strenth back when he developed a perforated bowel in July that put him back in the hospital. He just couldn’t get his strength back after that. He lost use of his right arm and leg, started having seizures, went from using a cane to a wheel chair. This summer was really hard for him but when it finally took him he was down (in bed) for about a week. It went so fast. I felt so helpless. I miss him so much and selfishly wish I could have him back. But now he has no cancer and he is with the King of Glory. I just have to figure out how to go on, how to make it through without my love.

    September 7, 2012 at 3:10 am

    • Josie – you have lived my worst nightmare. I am so sorry for your loss and please don’t feel selfish for wanting him back! I hope you will continue to share his story and tell people how devastating melanoma is. It seems like maybe he had melanoma of an unknown origin – so he didnt have the typical mole that others get, which many people aren’t aware of. I hope you will spread the word that people should know their lymph nodes and the difference between swelling from infections and swelling from cancer. Did he do Interferon when he was Stage 3? Sometimes I question many of these drugs for melanoma that just make people feel sick and they don’t seem to work. Sending you my heartfelt condolences. Emily

      September 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      • Josie

        Thankyou for your lovely words. He was diagnosed at stage 4 and we were told that at stage 4 interferon is not indicated. He then had the high dose IL 2. Had a hard day today. This is nice “talking to others that know and live with melanoma.”

        September 8, 2012 at 12:14 am

      • Josie, how are you doing? I realize that after someone passes, the spouse might not have people to talk to who have been through the same experience. I know a few people who have lived your nightmare if you want to me to introduce you. I hope you are healing. Emily

        October 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    • Beth

      I see it has been a few years since your loss. I hope the time has helped you heal. I also lost my husband of 43 years to melanoma on April 6,2014. He was first diagnosed 26 years ago. After surgery he was told he was cured. But 26 years later it came back as tumors in his lymph nodes. He tried Yervoy and Zelboraf after surgery and radiation. He lived 16 months but felt bad most of he time. He had a positive attitude and felt he had been given a gift of the 26 years during which we raised a loving daughter and he got to know two grandaughters. In the end he chose to stop treatment. He lived only 5 days after that decision. I miss him but I know that he is no longer suffering and is with his savior. I am great full for that.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      • Thanks for sharing your husband’s story Beth – it makes me remember how lucky we are to not have had a recurrence but it also makes me remember that melanoma is a sneaky rotten beast. So sorry for your loss.

        June 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

      • Josie

        Beth, I’m so sorry for your loss. 43 years is so significant a time to be with someone you love. It’s a gift but at the same time tears your heart out to have lost that love. I’m so glad for you that your husband had 26 years after his diagnosis. We often wondered if the melanoma was in his body for a long time lying dormant. My husband spent a lot of time out doors but we just don’t know for sure where the melanoma came from.
        Sometimes I feel that life is feeling more normal but other times it’s worse and I miss him more.

        July 8, 2014 at 2:12 pm

  9. Anonymous

    Wow. I feel so bad for these great people that died in such an awful way. This scares me a little tough because I am about to get a biopsy for melanoma in a couple of days.

    March 27, 2013 at 10:34 pm

  10. John Buda

    I just lost my beautiful wife Denise after a two year battle. She was only 49. After her diagnosis she had a successful craniotomy to remove a tumor in her cerebellum and received chemotherapy but her cancer progressed. She was then treated in a clinical trial with b-raf and mek inhibitors and initially did very well. The cancer returned in her brain and there were no answers. This cancer is one mean beast and it takes without prejudice. A cure must be found.

    October 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    • So sorry John. Thank you to you and your wife for doing a clinical trial which will help so many others in the future. Melanoma seems to like going to the brain. It is a horrible disease. All my best to you – Emily

      October 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  11. Laura

    My grandmother passed away 10 years ago from melanoma. I never noticed how many people are affected by this disease. All prayers go out to all those with cancer. Thank you for sharing.

    December 10, 2013 at 12:47 am

  12. Doug Thurlow

    I was diagnosised with stage 4 melanoma about a year and a half ago. I had a slowly growing lump on my back with not much pain and I felt pretty good, just tired easily. The doc’s thought it was a harmless lipoma but said they’d remove it if I wanted. It turned out to be a very large tumor but with no primary site, no lymph node involvement and no spread. They took it out completely along with a large chunk of my back. I’ve have a few scares but all turned out negative and I feel fine at age 58. I guess I wanted to make a few points. Always check out a lump and don’t delay. Melonoma may never be detected on your skin so bioposy any lumps immediately. A biopsy with a PET scan if the biopsy is positive should be scheduled immediately as time is of the essence. Melanoma spreads fast. I never needed adjunctive therapy but the surgery had life threatening side effects. I have been extremely lucky up to now and my chances for no return get better as time passes. I had a few doctors, non-experts, consider me a goner at first but all the variables worked in my favor as I wasn’t a statistic I was a bundle of unique circumstances. Remember in baseball a .250 hitter is successful once a game so you have a fighting chance. Always move fast and be vigilant but also let the situation evolve as there is no person who is a statistical average. Assume the best and deal with adversity if it comes, treatments are improving at a rapid rate. I am sorry to anyone who has suffered a loss and I am aware a .750 hitter still makes an out a game just don’t get passive or lose hope.

    March 10, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    • Hi Doug – good advice! I am glad you haven’t had a recurrence. How often do they scan you? I am hoping that the Anti-PD1 drugs will be approved for Stage 4 soon. Take care, Emily

      March 11, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  13. Monica

    I just had a biopsy on six spots. She said there were more she was worried about but six was enough just to see if it is melanoma, I am only 27 with two wonder kids. She said if it comes back melanoma that she was biopsy the rest of the areas. I am about to lose my mind waiting for the results. Please keep me in your prayers because I need them so bad. I have no support team. My family lives in a different state. And my mom might have lung cancer. I am going through so much right now.

    May 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    • Waiting for results is horrible! Did the dermatologist (hope you saw a derm and not a primary doc) say melanoma specifically or skin cancer? Were the spots moles? What did they look like? Melanoma is usually found in one spot, not a bunch of them. Sorry you are having a rough time…try not to dwell on it as there is nothing that you can do right now (except worry) which is not helpful.

      May 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm

  14. Pingback: So Sorry for the Inconvenience | Confessions of a Cart Jockey

  15. Chris

    My husband just received results from a mole biopsy yesterday. The PA that did the removal said he thought it was nothing and bet all his worldly wealth that it would be fine. He even made the removal optional, he was so certain. Luckily we wanted it removed. The results were positive for melanoma. I am an RN and over 17 years ago I urged my husband to have that area looked at. It had that “look” about it. He had a cursory look from a physician then who said it was “fine”. Now this many years later and months of seeing this area evolve into a textbook example of a melanoma, my husband saw a clip on television last week and a woman with the diagnosis described her situation and the photos scared him. I made the appointment for him that afternoon when he finally told me what was bothering him. The next morning he had the biopsy. We have to wait a week to see a plastic surgeon, and then who knows how long before we get an excision and node mapping. I think the shock is starting to wear off for me. I am trying to keep him from panicking and give him some hope that it may yet be an early detection and that treatment is increasingly successful. I hate this waiting! I know this is something that we will be fighting for many years and probably for the rest of his life. There needs to be more public awareness of this horrible disease, because my husband only went for an exam after seeing this on television. If only he had seen this earlier… like 17 years ago!

    June 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    • Sorry to hear about your husband but I am glad you both persisted. Do you know the Breslow depth? This is a very important measurement and will determine if he has sentinel node testing. I have heard stories like this many times. The only real way to tell is via microscope so it is a tough call for everyone. Evolve is one key word you used though. For years before Mike was diagnosed, we had a skin cancer card with pics of the different types of cancer on it taped to a closet door. I am not sure why I put there 6 years before. But it helped me when I saw Mike’s mole (which was oozing) on this back. We got an appt immediately after that.

      June 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

  16. Chris

    I’m not sure if they used the Breslow scale or the Clark. The nurse mentioned Clark and said she didn’t know why they would use that since it is considered outdated. The depth they gave was stage 4. They did a shave biopsy last week so I am certain they will do more extensive excision. I’ve already benefitted from all the information shared on your blog. My husband would just do whatever the doctor says to do, but the information about various chemotherapy and diagnostics is very helpful and I am keeping a list of things to consider. I will also get a copy of the pathology report.

    June 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm

  17. Sounds like they used Clark and it is Level 4 not stage 4 – huge difference that can completely freak someone out. Mike’s was level 4 Clark as well with a 1.3 Breslow. And a shave biopsy is prob why they didnt give you a Breslow. They usually do sentinel node testing for Breslows over 1.0… Yes get the path report and Mitotic rate and let me know if you have questions.

    June 13, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    • Chris

      Just got the path report this am. It is described as Melanoma superficial spreading type with tumorogenic component/ Tumor is 1.7 mm in thickness pT2a. No ulceration. Margins not involved. In situ and invasive components lies less than 1 mm from peripheral margin. Invasive component lies 1.4 mm from the deep margin. Mitotic rate is 7/mm2.
      No microsatellitosis. No lymphovascular invasion.
      Being a shave specimen I don’t know how to interpret this information. Pre op diagnosis was listed as Seborrheic keratosis.. Yeah right! Appointment is Thursday afternoon with plastic surgeon.

      June 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm

  18. Chris

    Just an update on our situation. We have been waiting for over 4 hours while he is in surgery. It was only to take a little under 2 hours…
    Word is they removed 3 nodes . Hopefully we find out soon.

    June 26, 2014 at 8:29 pm

  19. Take care – I remember that day well. You will probably not know much until pathology looks at it unless they can visibly see a tumor in his node – it took us a LONG time to get Mikes results because they found 1-2 questionable single cells in his sentinel node. Keep us posted!

    June 26, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    • Chris

      Wow.. What a week! I have never learned so much about a disease in such a short amount of time. Happily I can report that all margins were clear and the nodes were clean.
      I am so thankful for this blog.. I felt like I had a lifeline for information and support over these past weeks. We still have an oncologist appointment and ophthalmology exam for Monday. Husband wanted to cancel but I imagine there will be some genetic studies ordered and follow up advise as well. Thoughts and prayers for those still waiting for results or in the midst of treatment. Take care all, and stay well.

      July 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      • So happy to hear – made my day!! I would not cancel any appointments. He will need to follow up with a dermatologist on a more frequent schedule for a while with stage 3, Mike saw a doc every 3 months rotating between our surgical onc and a derm. They will teach him how to check his lymph nodes for any signs as this is where it usually strikes first if there would be a recurrence (which is very low chance for him since nodes are clear but sadly it does still happen). He needs that important info so dont skip it. Melanoma is a sneaky bastard – don’t forget that. Always be on the defense and arm yourself with knowledge!

        July 3, 2014 at 7:10 pm

  20. Jane

    Hey guys,

    My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones to the vicious disease Melanoma. I wanted to share a cancer success story with you all, the story of Ray. My hope is to provide hope to someone who may identify with Ray and his diagnosis.

    He was given a terminal diagnosis of Stage IV melanoma. Doctors gave him two months two live IF they amputated his leg.. the melanoma was spreading so fast. He decided to keep his leg and pursue other treatments. He found Perseus PCI, founded by a world-renowned cancer researcher Dr. Thomas Wagner who’s studied cancer for 50 years. Ray pursued treatment with Perseus, and today he is CANCER-FREE and watching his 14 year old daughter grow up! You can watch his video here: http://player.vimeo.com/video/102593529 or visit http://www.perseuspci.com.

    I hope this can provide some hope to someone here who is searching for answers.

    January 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

  21. April Current

    I lost my sister Heidi last Sunday. She had stage lV Melanoma. When we found out she had it last Oct 2014 my mom couldn’t handle it. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving my mom decided to take her own life. I have losted so much in only six months. I miss both of them so much it hurts.

    May 27, 2015 at 1:48 am

    • April – this is absolutely heartbreaking. I am so sorry for the loss of your sister and your mom.

      May 27, 2015 at 4:17 pm

  22. Kathleen

    I received news last week that I have
    melanoma on my left arm, breslows 4.5.

    This is not good news.

    I will see the surgeon & get the pathology report on friday.
    I feel so afraid and numb inside.
    what can I expect? Any support is appreciated.
    Kathleen

    June 3, 2015 at 2:37 am

    • Kathleen – how are you doing? I am sorry I think I missed your post in June.

      August 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

  23. Chris

    I had a mole that turned black removed from left side of head last Tuesday August 11. Derm removed it by shave biopsy & biopsied another area on my back he saw. Derm said results would be in Friday. Friday came w/ no results back yet. Called this past Monday & was told lab was sending it for additional (assume that means another pathologist examines) testing & it would be at least five more days. I know it does no good to worry, but it is hard. I am 40 years old with a wonderful wife & two beautiful children.

    This site is scary but has armed me with so much information if it is diagnosed melanoma. Thank you Emily & Mike for doing so much to help others dealing with melanoma.

    Has anyone had this additional testing & it just comes back abnormal cells & not the beast? Prayers for all that are dealing w/ this horrible cancer.

    August 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    • Sorry this must be scary for you waiting for results. Sometimes pathology takes a long time but it doesn’t mean it will be melanoma. If the pathologist can’t tell for sure if melanoma cells are in the sample just by looking at it, additional special tests will be done on the cells to try to confirm the diagnosis. Mike’s sentinel node biopsy results took a long time because of this – they finally agreed that the 1-2 cells they found were indeed melanoma. Take care – hoping you get good news.

      August 19, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      • Chris

        Update: Doctor called on the way home from work & no melanoma!! Both areas biopsied are severely atypical & on verge of becoming melanoma. Have surgery next Friday to remove 5mm all around mole area on head to clean margins. When stitches come out on head will do the same surgery on mole area on back. I told doctor you can take softball size chunks out of me as long as your telling me it is not melanoma.

        Is there anything I need to be concerned with regarding this diagnosis or any specific questions I should ask my derm? Thank you Emily for your response & all that you & Mike do to help others.

        Counting my Blessings,

        Chris

        August 19, 2015 at 11:30 pm

  24. Great news! So happy for you. You just need to be diligent about protecting your skin in the future. Wear hats, shirts, sunscreen. Check your skin and get your skin checked all the time. Sounds like you will have a wide excision which will give you clear margins. Maybe read more on atypical cells here http://www.melanoma.org/find-support/patient-community/mpip-melanoma-patients-information-page/wide-local-excision-atypicalpre-cancerous-cells

    August 19, 2015 at 11:54 pm

  25. Melissa

    My husbands doc called today would like to talk to him about starting Yervoy for stage 2b what have u heard about this

    November 19, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    • Melissa – Yervoy was not available to Stage 2b originally. It is now available as adjuvant therapy to Stage 3 – perhaps they are offering it to high risk stage 2 but insurance might not cover that. Did he have ulceration? You might want to ensure they know he is not stage 3. Sounds odd to me.

      November 20, 2015 at 12:30 am

  26. My step Dad got skin cancer on his face this year and it affected our whole family, watching as the treatment turned all these spots on his face black. Then the next part of the treatment seemed to eat away at his skin. He said it has been painful and uncomfortable but inevitable. I disagreed strongly and built an app that acts as a skin cancer avoidance system. It tells you the intensity of the sun at your location on a scale of 1-11, so when the intensity of the sun goes above a preset limit your phone notifies you it’s time to put on sunscreen or change behavior. When you apply your sun screen you press the icon and your app will remind you when to reapply sunscreen. My App is called SolarScreen and I just launched it for Android and on Thanksgiving I will have the IOS app ready. Help spread the word “skin cancer is avoidable, there is an app for that SolarScreen.co”
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.drewbio.solaralert

    November 23, 2015 at 8:40 pm

  27. Lindsay

    My father was diagnosed with melanoma 5 yrs ago, was treated and removed the spots and was OK (so Dr said) he went every 6 months for check up to make sure it didn’t return. Every visit the Dr told him he was OK then this late November he went in with stomach pain and told him he had stage 4 melanoma and 3 weeks later he passed away :-(. Never came home from the hospital. it was terrible and heart breaking to see him suffer and the way that cancer attacks and takes over the body!! there was nothing the Dr could do they said. The Dr’s say that this type and stage of melanoma and how fast it ended his life is still quite unknown to them! How is that possible! Everyday is so hard to live with him gone. (u)

    January 5, 2016 at 12:35 am

    • So sorry for your loss Lindsay. This is what I fear for my husband every day. Sounds like your dad had Stage 1 and it spread which is a story that I hear of all too often. Melanoma is sneaky and you can’t really say that it is gone after 5 years as it is known to come back after disappearing for 10+ years . Such a horrible loss for you. Again, sorry to hear this.

      January 5, 2016 at 5:24 pm

  28. The most dangerous form of skin cancer. Anyone can get melanoma. When found early and treated, the cure rate is nearly 100%. Allowed to grow, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can spread quickly. When melanoma spreads, it can be deadly.

    April 15, 2016 at 4:08 am

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