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.



Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Sneaky S.O.B.



Last Sunday I was looking like I’d taken a hard punch to my right jaw. (I can think of several people- including my wife- who might want to take a punch at me, but nobody did.) My primary care doc’s diagnosis on Monday was “lymphadenopathy, cervical”. So, after the primary care doc talked to my dermatologist, who in turn talked to my oncologist, I’ll be trucking up to the melanoma clinic next week for a checkup and likely a bonus “fine needle aspiration”, which they always seem to do in the breast cancer clinic where I draw some very quizzical looks from other patients. The initial plan was to do a head/neck CT scan prior to this checkup, but my wonderful insurance company refused to authorize it; but that’s okay with me, I guess, because I would’ve had to pay for it thanks to my sky-high deductible and now maybe I’ll dodge a scan expense.

The strong odds are that my lymph node(s?) are merely enlarged by an excess intake of chocolate over the Holidays. Or single malt Scotch. But then again we all know that melanoma can be one sneaky S.O.B and pop up after years of lying dormant. Be vigilant my friends. No matter how long you’ve been in “no evidence of disease” status, please be watchful and have regular monitoring checkups with a melanoma specialist.

Feeling a touch of melanoma paranoia, I’ll sign off with the Hotel Melanoma rendition of “S.O.B.” from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats…



I'm gonna need some docs to help me
I'm gonna need some body scans
I'm gonna need someone to hold me down
I'm gonna need someone to care
I'm gonna writhe and shake my body
I'll start pulling out my hair
I'm going to cover myself with more splashes of goo
And mole buddies gonna give a damn

Son of a bitch, get me a shrink
One more fright is shaking me
Son of a bitch
If I can't scan clean I'm gonna drink my life away

Now for seventeen years I've been growing them black
Seventeen more will bury me
Can somebody please just tie me down
Or somebody get me a goddamn shrink

Son of a bitch, get me a shrink
One more fright
This can't be C
Son of a bitch
If I can't scan clean I'm gonna drink my life away
Hey, Yeah now

My heart is quaking, hands are shaking
Docs are pawing all over me
My heart is quaking, hands are shaking
Docs are pawing all over me
My heart is quaking, hands are shaking
Docs are pawing all over me
My heart is quaking, hands are shaking
Docs are pawing all over me

Son of a bitch, get me a shrink
One more fright
This can't be C
Son of a bitch
If I can't scan clean I'm gonna drink my life away
Son of a bitch, get me a shrink
One more fright
This can't be C
Son of a bitch
If I can't scan clean I'm gonna drink my life away
Yeah ah

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Poke-a-Mole

Just for grins on a wintry day here in the Rockies, The Hotel Melanoma rendition of “Kokomo” from The Beach Boys…



Keytruda, can quake ya, ooh I wanna take ya
Intruduh, skin trauma, come on pretty mama
Opdivo, doc ego,
Baby why don't we go,
Fake-bake ya

Off the Florida Keys
There's a place called Poke-a-Mole
That's where you wanna go
To get away from it all
Bodies never tanned,
Topical zinc melting in your hand
We'll seek awning in sun
To the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Poke-a-Mole

Keytruda, can quake ya, ooh I wanna take ya
Intruduh, skin trauma, come on pretty mama
Opdivo, doc ego,
Baby why don't we go
Ooh I wanna take you down to Poke-a-Mole,
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go,
Way down in Poke-a-Mole.

Doublespeak, that doctor rap mystique...

We'll put out the C
And we'll perfect our chemistry
By and by we'll deny
What’s little left of sanity
Afternoon delight,
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye,
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Poke-a-Mole

Keytruda, can quake ya, ooh I wanna take ya
Intruduh, skin trauma, come on pretty mama
Opdivo, doc ego,
Baby why don't we go
Ooh I wanna take you down to Poke-a-Mole,
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go,
Way down in Poke-a-Mole.

Port’s all rinsed, I wanna scratch the PICC...

Everybody knows a little place like Poke-a-Mole
Now if you wanna go to get away from it all
Go down to Poke-a-Mole
Keytruda, can quake ya, ooh I wanna take ya
Intruduh, skin trauma, come on pretty mama
Opdivo, doc ego,
Baby why don't we go
Ooh I wanna take you down to Poke-a-Mole,
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go,
Way down in Poke-a-Mole.

Keytruda, can quake ya, ooh I wanna take ya
Intruduh, skin trauma, come on pretty mama
Opdivo, doc ego,
Baby why don't we go,
Fake-bake ya

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Helpless


As a blogger I’ve been quite the slacker this past fall season. I suppose I could blame it on the distractions of a couple of long road trips, outdoor chores to complete before the snow flies here in the Rockies, and a two-year-old golden retriever who craves long walks in the nearby woods. But the real reasons are a lingering state of hollowness following the death of a dear melahomie, my first Imerman Angel mentee, and sorrow for the deep pain of loss being suffered by her family, a pain I feel helpless to ease.

There will be a newly emptied seat at the table at oh so many family Christmas celebrations this week, be it from disease, accidents, acts of terrorism, or the wars our soldiers have been fighting for over a decade. Please honor the true meaning of Christmas, love, by taking a break from all the Holiday hustle and bustle to say a prayer for these families and their lost loved ones.

I’ll sign off until the New Year with a new rendition of “Helpless” from Neil Young and The Band…



There are some homes in North America
Dreams comfort, mem'ries to share
And in my mind I still need a place to go
All my angels are there

Blue new widows resigned to scars
Mela gloom on the rise
Big herds trying to stop the fry
Healthy tanning is salons’ lies

Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless
Babe, can you hear me now?
The chains are locked and tied across the door
Baby, sing with me somehow

Blue new widows resigned to scars
Mela gloom on the rise
Big herds trying to stop the fry
Healthy tanning is salons’ lies

Leave us

Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless
Helpless, helpless, helpless, helpless

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Have a Drink on Me



This Saturday is my 12th “cancerversary” of completing biochemotherapy treatments for Stage IIIc melanoma and beginning a very blessed run with no evidence of disease. I so wish I could bottle my good fortune and hand it out by the case to my melahomies. Obviously I can’t, but the drinks are on me Saturday night at the Hotel Melanoma lobby bar.

Hoping that the F.D.A.’s recent approval of Yervoy as an adjuvant treatment for Stage III patients will lead to many, many more treatment success stories like my own, I’ll sign off with my take on AC/DC’s “Have a Drink on Me”…



Frisky, skinned and dandy
With the sass I'm pretty handy
I'm trying to walk the pale line
With panache and cheap rhymes
So join me for a drink, boys
We're gonna make a big noise

So don't worry about tomorrow
Take it today
Forget about the check
We'll get Mel to pay

Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Yeah, have a drink on me
Have a drink on me (on me)
Come on

Dizzy, ‘drunk’ and fightin'
On the chemo quite frightnin'
My mass will get no quarter
On risky nights of slaughter
So come on and have a good time
And get blinded out of your mind

So don't worry about tomorrow
Take it today
Forget about the check
We'll get Mel to pay

Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me (on me)
Get stoned

Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me (yeah)
Have a drink on me,come on

Oh

Gonna roll around
Gonna hit the ground
Take another swing
Have another drink
Gonna drink it dry
Gonna get me high
Come on all the boys
Make a noise

Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me
Have a drink on me

Have a drink on me

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Fun with Free Skin Checks



As some of you may have surmised from certain unauthorized photos posted on social media, I participated in a melanoma walk last weekend at The University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson. (Yes, golf was most certainly a factor in my choosing this particular event, although the way I played down there I don’t know why.) Having arrived at the event with time to kill before walking, I decided to sashay into the dermatology clinic to take advantage of a free skin check. (And with my new sky-high insurance deductible, courtesy of Obamacare, free is a very good thing indeed.) The looks on the faces of various clinic staff members that were ‘attracted’ by my black tutu were simply priceless.

Until next time, I’ll sign off with the Hotel Melanoma rendition of “Daydream Believer” from The Monkees…



Oh, I could hide 'neath the strings
Of the blue gown as she clings.
The skin check doc’s alarm would never ring.
But it rings from my fries,
Wipe the weep out of my eyes.
Thy shavin' razor's cold and it stings.

Fear the freebie screen.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a rayscreen believer
And a Sol shunning ‘queen’.

You once thought of me
As a white fright on news feed.
Now you know how sappy I can be.
Oh, and our ‘good times’ start and end
Without dollar one to spend.
But how much, baby, do we really need.

Fear the freebie screen.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a rayscreen believer
And a Sol shunning ‘queen’.
Fear the freebie screen.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a rayscreen believer
And a Sol shunning ‘queen’.

Fear the freebie screen.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a rayscreen believer
And a Sol shunning ‘queen’.
Fear the freebie screen.
Oh, what can it mean.
To a rayscreen believer
And a Sol shunning ‘queen’.