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38yo Husband Just Diagnosed with (probably) Stage IV Melanoma... PLEASE HELP

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2011

My husband got the phone call from the dermatologist this morning... the area that was biopsied from his belly/side 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?!?! 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.

Posts: 20
Joined: May 2011

good to see you here. new here myself but not to melanoma. it is quite baffling and i am thrown back to my 1st visit down at the university cancer center with the dermatologist. what started as discussion of a wide area excision in the primary location ( on my upper back), the dermatologist was showing me how to check the clusters of lymph nodes ( never even heard of a lymph node til then) and started under my left arm. then off to a needle biopsy. about 45 minutes later there was a troop of medical folks walk into the room. some of what was said; " we have to do the wide area excision, go in and remove all of the lymph nodes under your left arm. what do you do for a living? well, you are going to have to apply for disability. there will be follow up with the oncologist where you may have a clinical trial option, chemo, radiation, pallaitive care, and more surgeries...but there's hope." wow!!!
it is a lot of info to deal with. information overload. DONT LOOK AT STATISTICS!! they are proven wrong all of the time. i am one of them. according to the stats, i shouldnt be around today.
this is a pretty weird cancer and it effects different people different ways. this is not the time to be all dom and gloom and a good time to work on changing thinking patterns. i was so worried about my future and thinking how this really screwed my plans up. but a good friend told be straight forward and blunt," if you die tonight, your plans here on earth for tomorrow are screwed." WOW!!! he was right!
i would highly suggest recording any conversations with the oncologist. personally, i get things mixed up iffen i dont.no, you arent going crazy. it sounds to me like fear, a normal reaction to all newly diagnosed cancer patients.
i am very greatful to see you have God. if you worry dont pray and if you pray dont worry. let God and the doctors do what they do best. but it doesnt hurt to do some research, but dont overdo the research. if you feel yourself getting antsy reading up on melanoma, step away and ask God for help and guidance.and keep coming back and hopefully your husband will get into some support groups too. my prayers are out to you and yours.
almos forgot. i was 37 when diagnosed and 43 now.

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2010

I am 42 and my wife is 31. We have only been married two years when I was diagnosed with Melanoma. I have Stage IV Matastic Melanoma. We just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary and I am undergoing treatment with a new trial drug. This drug is working pretty good and the cancer is stable. I agree with the other post that we need to put our trust in God. Fear is what the enemy throws at us to make us run away from God and not pray. Just keep praying and trust in God.

Posts: 35
Joined: May 2011

First, take a deep breathe. Next, check to make sure that they didn't say "Clarks Level IV" which indicates the depth of the lesion, not the stage of the cancer. The Clarks Level indicates what depth the melanoma was and the chances that it may have spread to the lymph nodes. Further testing including an SNB and wide excision plus ct scans will determine if it has spread. Get a copy of the pathology report and see a melanoma specialist.

On a side note, my husband was diagnosed in Nov 08 with a clarks level IV ulcerated nodular melanoma on his upper back, and after surgery and interferon (he was later staged at IIIC) he is cancer free. I spent alot of time on the melanoma research foundations patient information board, and they were wonderful. The website is www.mpip.org.

Best wishes to you both -


Zod66's picture
Posts: 28
Joined: May 2008

your husband has already had multiple tests done (PET scan, CT scan, MRI possibly of head) and even undergone at least one surgery to excise the area that the tumor came from. Not everyone has a Sentinel Node biopsy done but I'll assume one was. So, from these tests and surgery you should now know the actual stage the cancer is in. Staging being based partly on the size of the tumor and also on if and where the cancer has spread to.
I would think by now you've had discussions with an oncologist on treatment options.
And as you've probably found out Melanoma is not a disease to take lightly; be very concerned.
If the staging is III or IV your husband and YOU have a long road ahead of you as a couple.

Feel free to click the name under my photo to read my profile and keep us updated.

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2011


My Wife was Dignosed stage 3 Melonnia last May 2010, She has had Multible Surgies. She is now Stage 4, This is my first time on this site. I am looking for help also. It has be a rough year. I believe in Clinical Trails. Please Visit NIH web site, they have clinical trails all the time. My wife got in one at Oshner Medical Clinic in New Orleans. We live in Maryland. I believe it had helped her. This is a tough cancer to have. My wife started in her arm / shoulder area. He had spread to her chest, stomach area and two lesson in her brain. There is no easy way with Melonnia, it is tough. Before this I believed if you got this you would just have it removed and life went on, Life goes on but it is a harder road. I pray everyday and appreciate I have my wife everyday. My wife is 54 now and I apprecaite her everyday I have her with me. I not tell you to give or even he going to past on, but be strong and apapreciate everyday with him. Get a good support group.

God bless you all,

LynnLuc's picture
Posts: 22
Joined: Sep 2010

I was given 6-9 months because I am stage 4 as well...they usually tell us all that...I was stage 4 from June 18, 2009. I have been NED (no evidence of disease) since May 26, 2010. Yes melanoma is the deadly skin cancer and yes I was dying...untreated people with stage 4 will usually die within a year. He needs to find a melanoma specialist...not a regular oncologist...and needs to find clinical trials...new treatments are breaking out all over right now...and if there was a "good" time to be diagnosed with stage 4, now is that time...we have a chance of a durable response! There is a website...its a large board specifically for people with melanoma. They discuss trials, melanoma specialists and their personal experience. Its www.melanoma.org _Lynn

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