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.



Thursday, September 25, 2014

Anything For A Buck

A guy who will do a melanoma fundraising walk wearing a black tutu and nail covers will, obviously, do almost anything for a donated buck. My latest Quixotic venture was to respond (quite belatedly) to a request and offer to rewrite the lyrics to a song that is, at least in my opinion, one of the worst of the 70’s in exchange for donations to Colorado Melanoma Foundation. And I got a few pledges, thank you very much, so here goes.

A song for the indoor tanning industry and its uninformed prey, to the tune of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”…



You can tan, you can fry
Slashing the time off your life
Ooh see that girl, watch that scene
Stingin' the tanning queen

Fry Day night and the lights all glow
Looking out for a place to grow
Where they prey with fright U thing, getting in sun thing
You come in to look for a singe

Anybody could peel and die
Blight of young and the toll is high
With a bit of doc choosing, it’s biopsy time
You're in the mood for a tan
And when you get the chance

You are the tanning queen
Young and sweet, only seventeen
Tanning queen, feel the heat
From the salon sheen, oh yeah

You can tan, you can fry
Slashing the time off your life
Ooh see that girl, watch that scene
Stingin' the tanning queen

You're a griever, you turn 'em on
Leave skin burning and then you’re gone
Cooking out for sun color, any ‘sun’ will do
You're in the mood for a tan
And when you get the chance

You are the tanning queen
Young and sweet, only seventeen
Tanning queen, feel the heat
From the salon sheen, oh yeah

You can tan, you can fry
Slashing the time off your life
Ooh see that girl, watch that scene
Stingin' the tanning queen
Stingin' the tanning queen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Going Black in Houston


This past weekend I was blessed to attend the AIM for the Cure Melanoma Walk in Houston, where the only thing warmer than the Texas hospitality is the air. It was quite nice to breathe all of that oxygen down there at sea level, but y’all really do need to do something about that humidity—this Colorado ‘boy’ and his black tutu were quite wilted after walking only 5 kilometers. If event organizer Judy Sager (reluctantly posing above with the Men in Black) hadn’t had us walking after dark, I think I might’ve died.

Putting my climactic whining aside for a moment, I want to thank Judy, AIM at Melanoma, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and all of the volunteers for staging this wonderful event. It was truly a pleasure to meet up with a bunch of inspirational melahomies, and I hope to do it again in the not-too-distant future. For all of you, here’s the Hotel Melanoma rendition of Dean Martin’s “Houston”…



Wasn’t lonesome in this old town
And a buddy drove me ‘round
‘Twas a race put on by AIM
But walking is a pain
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

I got holes in both of my shoes
Well I'm a walking case of sun blues
Raised some dollars Saturday
But mole friends blew me away
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

I have been eating for about a week
I'm so chunky in black tutu chic
Mole buddies call me friend
It’s sad the shape I'm in
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston
I got a cure waiting there for me
Well at least they said there’ll be
I found a home and some great warm friends
And an armadillo that was dead
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

Wasn’t lonesome in this old town
And a buddy drove me ‘round
‘Twas a race put on by AIM
But walking is a pain
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Fine Day



If only my sunscreen and SPF 50 golf duds could sing, they just might do this one-- to the tune of Carole King’s “One Fine Day”…



One fine day, you'll look at me
And you will know our love was, meant to be
One fine day, you're gonna want me for your cure

The arms I long for will open wide
And you'll be proud to have me
Blockin' right by your hide
One fine day
You're gonna want me for your cure

Though I know you're the kind of boy
Who only wants to sun a round
I'll keep waiting, and, someday darling
You'll come to me when you want to battle brown
Oh

One fine day, we'll meet once more
And then you'll want the ‘glove’ you threw away before
One fine day, you're gonna want me for your cure
One fine day, oh
Oooh, one fine day, you're gonna want me for your cure

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Rocky Mountain Rays


There are several good reasons not to hike near-naked at high altitude, and the intensity of ultraviolet radiation from the sun is just one of them. Did you know that ultraviolet radiation increases by 5% for every 1000 feet of elevation gain? That means the UV rays are 50% stronger at 10,000 feet than at sea level. So sunscreen is good, but perhaps not good enough, and SPF 50 clothing is better. Don’t take my word for it, please check out Colorado Melanoma Foundation’s prevention pamphlet here.

Another good reason to cover up, or at least stash some extra clothing in your pack, is the strong potential for rapid and radical changes in weather conditions along the trail. A warm and sunny day at the trailhead parking lot can turn wet, windy and cold a couple of miles and a thousand feet higher up the trail.

There’s a surefire way to spot an inexperienced mountain hiker from one of the sea level “sand states” like Florida on an alpine trail in the Colorado High Country. He’s the guy with no day pack; bottled water in hand; wearing only a short sleeve tee shirt, shorts, and sport sandals with no socks; and apparently assuming there’ll be cellphone service “up there” if he gets in trouble and wants to call for a rescue. I’ve seen this guy all too many times, even on rugged Fourteener peak trails, and all I can do is hope that getting a bad sunburn is the worst thing that’ll happen to him that day.

I’ll end today’s rant with The Hotel Melanoma rendition of a song I don’t really like, but it fits: “Rocky Mountain Way” from Joe Walsh…



Mountains vast here, Rocky Mountain rays
Couldn't get much higher
Mel’s a bastard, think it's safe to say
Time to don attire

And we don't need the tourists fryin'
'Cause the story's sad
'Cause the Rocky Mountain rays
Are ‘better’ than the rays you’ve had

Well, C's dwellin' on skin and C's spellin’ combat
Changes with ev'ry ray, tan, it doesn't flatter
Bases are loaded and Ray C’s at bat
Playin' it ray by ray, time to change the batter

And we don't need the tourists fryin'
'Cause the story's sad, aha
Rocky Mountain rays
Are ‘better’ than the rays you’ve had
Hey, hey, hey

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pembro-what?

The wonderful melanoma treatment news this week is that Merck’s PD-1 drug, Pembrolizumab, is likely within weeks of receiving FDA approval. (By the way, does the pharmaceutical industry believe that the less pronounceable a new cancer drug’s name is, the more they can charge for it per dose?) Read all about it here.

I know there are so many folks here at The Hotel Melanoma who’ve run out of other options and been rather anxiously, to put it mildly, awaiting the availability of PD-1 treatment. With hopes and prayers this is the lifesaver for them, here’s The Hotel Melanoma rendition of ZZ Top’s “Tush”…



I been up, I been down.
Take my word, my days weigh down.
I ain't askin' for much.
I said, Lord, make C pipe down,
I'm just lookin' for some drugs.

I been sad, I’ve withstood,
Malice nexus, it ain’t good.
I ain't askin' for much.
I said, Lord, it’s a countdown,
I'm just lookin' for some drugs.

Take me back way back home,
Not by myself, not alone.
I ain't askin' for much.
I said, Lord, make C bow down,
I'm just lookin' for some drugs.