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Dad's biopsy came back for melanoma, not lung cancer

dearfoam's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

(You can probably find my earlier posts in Lung Cancer section:
http://csn.cancer.org/node/216257 )

Today is day 5 in hospital for dad and the latest biopsy finally told us what he has, melanoma. They were able to remove his chest tube because no further biopsy lung should be needed.

Dad has 6 tumors in brain and 11 in lungs. Primary tumor hasn't been pinpointed and I'm not sure if Oncs will order a PET or other CT scan to find it.

Should be meeting with Oncologists Saturday morning to see if we will resume his whole brain radiation (which has been on hold while his lung heals) and everything else.

Wooo what a weekend ahead!

forme's picture
Posts: 1162
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Dearfoam,

I was reading your posts over at lung boards and thought of posting to you there. Your father sounded so much like my mother in law who had melanoma. Then you posted that he had melanoma.

I wanted to suggest that you get home hospice involved right away. Do not wait. They are a free service and will supply everything you need.
Everything from bed to meds. Whatever your father may need. He will be able to continue his brain rads (palliative care).

Since his insurance only covers in hosp care, this would be the best choice for all of you,
We used VITAS hospice, you can find them online. they are all over the country. They are wonderful.

If you have any questions I'd be more than happy to try and answer them.

My MIL had lung, bone and brain mets from the melanoma. She tried many different things to slow the progression.

You are wonderful for taking care of your father during this very difficult time..

Peaceful healing

dearfoam's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

Sorry you had a similar situation to go through. My dad has charity care insurance through our research hospital (a leading comprehensive cancer center) so now we are on the road to all the help he needs as they have every specialist you can think of.

My uncle heard about this newly approved drug via his friend at the CDC for mets melanoma called YERVOY (ipilimumab). We do not know yet if we can get him on it, but looks like I will spend the afternoon trying to find out. He has been with a Pulmonary team all week in the hospital and we have not met with a medical Oncologist as of yet. I think that's who would guide us on this.

I thought the Onc team would meet us this morning to stage, but I didn't see or hear form them. Some one did order another CT contrast scan this morning before I was even awake. No further word as far as I know. SO i guess I call paging and ask for the Onc on call.

Hoping something might help.

dearfoam's picture
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

We "should" hear from the oncologists before dad is discharged, or at least I hope so. They are really only a couple buildings away from his room. We have not officially heard what type of Melanoma he has and if it will qualify for Yervoy or another biological therapy.

As far as I understand, my dad will need the official prognosis before in home hospice can be ordered. I will be kind of mad if they do not do this before I leave the hospital tomorrow. I am feeling very inpatient.

Will try to make dad's normally scheduled whole brain radiation appt. at 1:55. Supposed to see his Radio Onc in clinic as well, so with our biopsy news maybe we can begin to revamp a treatment plan. This doctor seems to push for things whereas some others do not.

All this stress is really getting to me, in addition to other things. We live near Birmingham, AL, and there is so much devastation going on with many friends and their families in the VERY near neighborhoods and small towns that were hit by the tornadoes last Wednesday. We had some damage to our detached garage (giant trellis of roses collapsed pulling gutter with it blocking the entry), found my porch roof is curling away and rotting, and I have no time to deal with it or get anything fixed, much less the money. Everyone who is handy is onto more urgent cases of course, anyway. But it's so aggravating to me that I have not even been able to get out there and cut down the tangled, thorny mess. I tried to take some me time this weekend, but I am more exhausted than ever.

In the good news dept, dad is doing OK with the fact that most of his hair has fallen out. I joked that he broke the mirror on his hospital table (it is a hinged one that pulls out for when the nurses do grooming stuff. But he is still very much in denial/ excessively hopeful about having such bad cancer. The resident Pulm Dr told me today his newest CT scan shows a tumor on the spleen. That wasn't there 7 weeks ago, or was missed, or maybe it was misread. Will have to pass all this along to my dad's outpatient Onc team. SO many phone calls etc. Whew.

My hubby is also out of town since Sat and will be back Monday morning, hopefully in time to help get dad out of hospital. I have to pack all his stuff and still look for his glasses that were lost, and get Patient Services to replace them. Dad hasn't really left his room except for tests and scans. So much to do in the morning and all i really would like to do is sleep in before all mayhem returns!

God, I just hope the doctors won't give me the run around about ordering hospice and his next treatments.

Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2011

I just hoped over here from the lung cancer page as well. My FIL had a tumor removed from his cerebellum. They also found one in his lungs. We have been assuming that it was metastasized lung cancer. We got the pathology on the cerebellum tumor and it turns out that it was a melanoma. We don't know anything about the lung still. I know this changes the game, I am just not sure how. Stage IV Melanoma seems better to me than Stage IV Lung cancer, but I am not sure if that is true, or just wishful thinking.

I can't believe the first post I read in the Skin Cancer forum has two people going through such a similar thing.

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