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.



Tutu Brothers

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Skin Crowd



Just for grins and the dancing pleasure of my molemates, here’s The Hotel Melanoma rendition of Dobie Gray’s “The ‘In’ Crowd”…



I'm in with the skin crowd, I glow where the skin crowd glows
I'm in with the skin crowd and I grow what the skin crowd grows

Anytime of the year, don't you hear? Bless benign, baking nein
We breeze up and down the street, we get respect from the people we meet
They make way day or night, they know the skin crowd ain’t out of fight

I'm in with the skin crowd, I know every palest stance
When you're in with the skin crowd, it's so easy to find long pants

Any time of the year, don't you hear? If it's bare, we say prayer
We make every minute count, our care is always the biggest bum out
Other guys imitate us, but the original is still the greatest, skin crowd!

Any time of the year, don't you hear? Spendin' cash, blockin’ rash
I'll show you a real ‘good’ time, come on with me, leave your troubles behind
I don't care where you've been, you ain't been nowhere til you've been in
With the skin crowd, with the skin crowd, skin crowd!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

I Just Want To Thank You



As a blogger and melavangelist, I’ve been quite the slacker of late, preferring to play a lot of golf (rather poorly I should add) over doing anything worthwhile and productive. But the Saturday before Thanksgiving is sort of a ‘cancerversary’ for me, because that was the day in 2003 when I was released from the hospital after completing my last round of biochemotherapy.

Thirteen years of “no evidence of disease”. I’m lucky and blessed, but so often perplexed and sorrowful that all too many of my molemates haven’t been as fortunate as me.

So today, I just want to thank all of the folks who’ve helped me get so many years and miles down Melaroad—especially the medics who talked me into an aggressive and toxic treatment regimen and all of my molemates, particularly my Tutu Brother Mark, who’ve made the journey bearable and, quite often, a joy.

From Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats…



Spend your years
Spend your time
With all these fears
Not all were mine

I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you sweet maties for getting me through

Can’t hide your fears
I can’t hide mine
In spite of all this drear
I think we’re fine

I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you gritty maties for getting me through

I was looking back there, Lord
Could have been no one else
I would have been so cold
Graying here by myself
Ever since you found me yeah
Never be anybody else
Yeah maties, yeah

I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you
I just want to thank you sweet maties for getting me through

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Cloudy Days

So, I’ve been feeling a little glum since removing myself from a volunteer position in the melanoma nonprofit community. (And losing a stroke on my home course handicap hasn’t helped to improve my cranky mood.) Despite the good intentions of all involved in the endeavor, sometimes these things just don’t work out like you hoped they would and you come to the realization that it’s time to move on and hope you can be more effective elsewhere. But this aging melavangelist ain’t givin’ up just yet. I will seek and find another way to be actively and effectively involved in supporting melanoma research, education and prevention. Have blog and black tutu, will travel!

I strongly suspect I’m far from alone in the melahomie community in wanting to do something to defeat the Black Beast but finding it a challenge to figure out how and where and with whom to best do that. If you’re in the same boat, I’d love to hear from you with your thoughts and ideas on how we survivors can make a real difference.

Until next time, I’ll sign off with the Hotel Melanoma rendition of The Eagles “No More Cloudy Days”…


The Eagles - No More Cloudy Days (Live 2005) by olatoniggg

Sitting by a foggy window
Staring at the pouring rain
Falling down like lonely teardrops
Memories of nothin’ gained
These cloudy days, make you wanna cry
It breaks your heart when somethin’ cleaves and you don't know why

I can see that you've been hurting, maybe I've been lonely too
I've been out here lost and searching, looking for mole pals like you
Now I believe the sun is gonna shine
Don't you be afraid to try again, put your hand in mine?

Baby, I would never make you fry
I would never change your hue
I would never let you brown
We would always seek breakthrough

I know a place where we can go where UV never preys
There’s no more stormy nights, no more cloudy days

I believe in second chances
I believe in angels, too
I believe in new advances
Baby, I believe in you
These cloudy days are coming to an end
And you don't have to be afraid to don golf glove again

Baby, I would never make you fry
I would never change your hue
I would never turn away
We would always seek breakthough
I know a place where we can go where UV never preys
There's no more stormy nights, no more cloudy days

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Reaching Out



A large part of why I’m so glad I eventually wandered out of my lonely, single room at The Hotel Melanoma is that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know one of the true gems of the melanoma community, (Rev.) Carol Taylor. As many of you know, Carol (a/k/a Southern Mama Preacher) founded the Facebook community page Melanoma Prayer Center and it’s been a source of comfort, support and inspiration to thousands of melahomies. Carol has lived a life of service to her family, her church, and the melanoma community—which has made it a great honor for a very flawed and less selfless fellow like me to have been adopted as her big (i.e. much older) brother.

Carol has had quite an influence on the musical content of my little blog, e.g. the occasional disco tune which I’d never have done but for her ‘requests’. But today I’ll stick with my roots in Classic Rock. For Carol, who has done so much to remind me that the true purpose of human life is to serve others, here’s Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody”…

You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

You might be a rock 'n' roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a business man or some high-degree thief
They may call you doctor or they may call you chief

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes you are
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody's landlord, you might even own banks

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin' in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody's mistress, may be somebody's heir

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody

You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

Still, you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Forever Young

Next month I’ll turn 63. And in the “I’ll never-grow-old” fantasy world of this Baby Boomer, that’s middle-aged.

During my first decade or so of living at The Hotel Melanoma, my life planning horizon didn’t extend beyond my next 90-day or 6-month checkup etc. at the melanoma clinic. And I don’t think that’s the least bit uncommon among my N.E.D. melahomies who are also living with a high risk of recurrence.

But slowly yet surely over the course of the past couple of years I’ve started to contemplate the possibility that I might, just might, actually grow old. Really old. (Although I’m convinced there will always be the ornery juvenile delinquent brain of a seventeen-year-old trapped inside an increasingly frail body.) And if I do, where will I live when I can no longer manage my two-story home in the often-snowy woods? Will my retirement savings keep me stocked with single malt scotch? Will self-driving car technology keep me mobile? When do I start teeing off from the ladies tees? I know that I’m quite lucky and that I ought to be grateful to have such questions rolling around my chemo-fogged brain, when all too many younger lives have been cut way too short by the Black Beast. Meanwhile, I’m still just a ‘kid’ who’s hoping we all grow much, much older while somehow remaining forever young at heart.

For all of my molemates who’ve been laboring so hard to build melanoma awareness this month, here’s The Hotel Melanoma rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”…



May God bless and keep you always
May your skin checks show pale hue
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder from your scars
And climb on every rung
May you stay
Forever young

Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young

May you grow up to spread whiteness
May you grow up ‘til C’s through
May you always know the truth
And flee tan lights surrounding you

May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay
Forever young

Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young

May your scans always be pretty
May your tweets always persist
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay
Forever young

Forever young
Forever young
May you stay
Forever young