Introduction

The "Hotel Melanoma" moniker is a metaphor for living with my particular brand of cancer. Except for those lucky few of us deemed "cured", all we cancer survivors are guests of one of the many, many branded hotels in the "Hotel Carcinoma" chain. We can check out any time we like, but we can never leave. Meanwhile, let's be livin' it up; and please support cancer education, prevention, and treatment research.



Monday, November 17, 2014

Wrinkled Man



No pontificating today, just The Hotel Melanoma rendition of Bad Company’s “Simple Man”…



I am just a wrinkled man, working
On the tanned, oh it ain't easy
I am just a wrinkled man, ‘smirking’
With my scans, oh believe me

Demon is the only thing means
A damn to me, oh you can't bake it
Demon is the only wrong, brings
A song for me, oh we're gonna take it

I am just a wrinkled man, trying
To beat C, oh it ain't easy
I am just a wrinkled man, trying to
Beat C, oh believe me

Demon is the only thing means
A damn to me, oh you can't bake it
Demon is the only wrong, brings
A song for me, oh we're gonna take it

I am just a wrinkled man, working
On the tanned, oh it ain't easy
I'm just a wrinkled man, ‘smirking’
With my scans, oh baby, believe me

I'm just a wrinkled man, yeah, yeah
Demon is the only thing means
A damn to me, I'm just a wrinkled man, yeah

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Wheel



As a melavangelist (and in my former life as a corporate lawyer) I’ve often felt like a rat on an exercise wheel-- working as fast and furiously as I’m able, but getting nowhere. But I keep plugging away at it, and I see so many melahomies doing the same.

I think I keep doing this because of the inspiration of folks like my melapal Donna, who just in the past few weeks has undergone a craniotomy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and open heart surgery to whack melanoma metastases that keep on popping up. And for people like my melahomies Sandy, Tara, and Cindy, who participated today in a melanoma fundraising walk/run on a chilly late fall morning.

Perhaps the general public will soon come to realize that melanoma really is cancer and begin to take the commonsense preventative measures that just might keep them from checking into The Hotel Melanoma. One can only hope. And try.

For Donna, and all of you who work tirelessly to increase melanoma awareness, here’s The Hotel Melanoma rendition of Jerry Garcia’s “The Wheel”…



The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
You can't let go and you can't hold on
You can't go back and you can't stand still
If the sunburns don't get you then the light things will

Won't you try just a little bit harder
Couldn't you try just a little bit more
Won't you try just a little bit harder
Couldn't you try just a little bit more

Browned, browned toxin, shun the browned
Gotta get black a new theme song
Little bit harder, just a little bit more
Little bit further than you gone before

Small wheel turning by the fryin’ squad
Big wheel turning by the grace of God
Every time that wheel turn round
Bound to cover just a little more ground

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
You can't let go and you can't hold on
You can't go back and you can't stand still
If the sunburns don't get you then the light things will

Won't you try just a little bit harder
Couldn't you try just a little bit more
Won't you try just a little bit harder
Couldn't you try just a little bit more

Friday, November 7, 2014

Paling



Summer is over now, and I’ve successfully maintained my pale-as-a-Supermax-prison-inmate look. (And this is despite the fact that I spent a lot of time this past summer ‘on the beach’ at my favorite local golf course trying to learn how to consistently hit a proper bunker shot.) This is a very good thing because it’s about time to talk myself into getting naked at the dermatology clinic. A golfer tan and semiannual melanoma checks by a dermatologist just don’t mix, it seems.

Entering the season of ski goggle tan avoidance (it’s a tough life I lead), I’ll sign off with The Hotel Melanoma rendition of a song that has always made me gag-- Christopher Cross’ “Sailing”…



Well it's not far down to terrified, at least it’s not for me
If the skin is white you can pale away and find tranquility
Oh the tan-less can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me

It's not far to leather, leather land, reason to defend
And if the skin is white you can find the joy of innocence again
Oh the tan-less can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me

Paling, takes me away
From where I've always spurred biopsies
Just sunscreen and pale skin to carry me
Soon I will be free

Vanity, it gets the best of me when I'm paling
All caught up in the leathery
Every cure is in infancy, won't you believe me?

Paling, takes me away
From where I've always spurred biopsies
Just sunscreen and pale skin to carry me
Soon I will be free

It's not far back to tanning spree at least it's not for me
But when the skin is white you can pale away and find serenity
Oh the tan-less can do miracles, just you wait and see, believe me

Paling, takes me away
From where I've always spurred biopsies
Just sunscreen and pale skin to carry me
Soon I will be free

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Cancerversary Song

Next month I’ll see my 11th “cancerversary” of completing biochemotherapy treatments after a Stage IIIc melanoma diagnosis and beginning a very blessed long run of NED status. But I doubt that I’ll be in a celebratory mood. All too many of the friends I’ve made at The Hotel Melanoma haven’t been as fortunate as I’ve been. Too much pain, too many unsuccessful treatments, and too many young lives cut short. And the utter unfairness of it all makes me want to ask God “WTF are you thinking?” Oy.

So when my cancerversary arrives, I don’t think I’ll know quite how to mark the day. Maybe I’ll just lay low, contemplate the journey and the roads I’ve traveled, and try to think of one good way to demonstrate gratitude for my dumb luck.

Until next time, I’ll sign off with an un-altered new song from Bob Seger, “All of The Roads”…



All of the roads I've run
All of the faces I've left in my wake
Hopin' to leave my mark
Hopin' I gave and I didn't just take
Climbing a mountain many are left behind
Chasing a dream and seeing the world takes time

If you were in my world
If you could feel all the things that I feel
Maybe you'd understand
Every mirage has a certain appeal
After the thrill it's off to indifferent rooms
After the lights the darkness is coming soon
I've done it all before
And I have gone through every door
And I've been right down on the floor and more

All of the roads I've run
All of the years that have fallen away
Light from a distant star
Crossing the void and arriving one day
Oceans of space defending the great unknown
Sooner or later all of us head for home

All of the roads I've run
All of the roads I've run
All of the roads I've run
All of the roads I've run

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Black Is A Color Too



In scientific terms, black absorbs light and is an absence of color-- it is the visual impression experienced when no visible light reaches the eye. And black seems not to be a visible cancer awareness color in the eyes of the business world, which evidently will pinkwash just about any product in an effort to polish corporate images and sell more stuff and then promptly forget about cancer for the next eleven months. Much to the chagrin of the melanoma community, black is apparently an ‘absence of color’ even to cancer awareness advocacy organizations like the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology, which seem to prefer more marketable and happy ‘true’ colors like pink and orange.

Here in Colorado, Pinktober began with the Denver Post publishing an entire daily edition in pink, purportedly to increase breast cancer awareness but more likely to increase advertising sales for that special edition. I’d like to think the Post’s thirty other regular black-and-white editions published in October are intended to increase melanoma and lung cancer awareness, but I’d be so wrong.

But despair not, melanistas, for black in our discerning eyes is a color too; and our grassroots melanoma advocacy efforts are gaining traction and shining a visible light upon The Beast. Black will never be as pretty as pink in the eyes of consumer products marketers willing to use cancer to make a buck, but would any of us really want that?

Until next time, I’ll sign off with the Hotel Melanoma rendition of Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind Of Wonderful”…



I don't breed a whole lot of money
I don't need more big wide scars
I got everything that a tan could launch
I got more than I could ask for
I don't have to sun around
I just have to pale out all white
'Cause I got me a fleet, a fleet, crushin' demon
And she knows just how to beat me right
Well my Ray C, she’s all fright
Well my Ray C, she’s clean out-of-sight

Don't you know that she’s, she’s some kind of colorful
She's some kind of colorful, yes she is, she’s
She's some kind of colorful, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhh

When I trolled her with fried arms
You know she sets my moles on fire
Oooh, when my Ray C ‘kisses’ me
My heart becomes filled with C fire
When she wraps her ‘lovin'’ arms around me
About drives me out of my mind
Yeah, when my Ray C ‘kisses’ me
Chills run up and down my spine
My Ray C, she’s all fright
My Ray C, she’s clean out-of-sight

Don't you know that she is she's some kind of colorful
She's some kind of colorful yes she is
She's some kind of colorful, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahhh

Now is there anybody, got a fleet evil demon like mine?
There got to be somebody, got a, got a fleet evil demon like mine? Yeah
Can I get a skin check?
Can I get a skin check?
Can I get a skin check? Yeah
Can I get a skin check? Ohhh
Can I get a skin check? Yeah
Can I get a skin check? Yes
I'm talkin', talkin' 'bout my Ray C. Yeah
She's some kind of colorful
Talkin' 'bout my Ray C
She’s some kind of colorful
Talkin' 'bout my Ray C
She's some kind of colorful
I'm talkin' 'bout my Ray C, my Ray C, my Ray C
She's some kind of colorful
I'm talkin' about my Ray C, my Ray C, my Ray C
She's some kind of colorful
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, my Ray C, my Ray C
She's some kind of colorful
Talkin' 'bout my Ray C, my Ray C, my Ray C
She's some kind of colorful
I'm talkin' 'bout my Ray C, my Ray C, my Ray C
She's some kind of colorful