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

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stories We Should Tell

Blogger doesn’t make it easy to comment on posts, so thanks to all of you who’ve taken the time and trouble to navigate the process. I really do appreciate hearing from readers and receiving your kind and encouraging comments. Or, for that matter, any comments. Otherwise, I’m left to wonder whether site “pageviews” are merely the result of Google sending unwitting ‘net surfers here when they are really looking for something entirely different. For example, Google recently directed somebody to this Hotel who apparently wanted to know how much Ativan he needed to take to become completely numb. I hope he didn’t find an answer, here or anyplace else.

I’m kind of late to the ‘awareness game’. It took me several years to muster up the courage to “come out of the closet” and share stories about my times at this Hotel. Back in 2003 when things were really crazy, I was telling almost no one what was really going on. It was just too difficult to talk about how much trouble I was really in. And my ‘medical update’ e-mails tended to put a lawyer’s positive spin on bad facts. My wife and I didn’t let anyone (immediately family included) come to the hospital during my biochemo treatments because we just didn’t want anyone else to see how very ugly they were. I was doing nothing to raise public awareness that melanoma isn’t “just skin cancer”. That’s why I so admire everyone at this Hotel who’s brave enough to share difficult experiences as they are happening; by dropping the veil of privacy you are doing good for others that just might save some lives.

I regret that the Hotel Melanoma isn’t a real place where we could all congregate and swap war stories, and not more than a metaphor for life with this stinking disease. (Like a swanky all-inclusive beach resort on the Riviera Maya in Mexico, where the bill never comes due.) So, I’ll leave you with a new version of Jimmy Buffett’s “Stories We Could Tell”…

Talkin' to myself again
Wonderin' if this bloggin’ on is good
Is there somethin' else for doin'
Should be doin' if I would

But ah, the stories we should tell
And if it all blows up and goes to Hell
I wish that we could sit around the bar in this Hotel
Swappin’ all the stories we should tell

Stared at black cancer in those hospitals that ain’t for free
Nametags on our docs bring back twenty nightmare dreams
Tears upon our faces tell of all the times we fell
Sharin' all the stories we should tell

Ah, the stories we should tell
And I'll bet you they still ring like a bell
I wish that we could sit around the bar in this Hotel
And listen to the stories we should tell

So if you're on this road strivin' for your every night
Fightin' for more livin' between searching scanner times
And if you ever wonder why you ride this carousel
You do it for the stories you should tell

Ah, the stories we should tell
And if it all blows up and goes to Hell
I wish that we could sit around the bar in this Hotel
Just listen to the stories we should tell

Yes, I wish that we could sit around the bar in this Hotel
Listen to the stories it could tell


  1. Hey Rich,
    There are a lot of us who visit you on your blog and enjoy it when you visit us on ours. But I'm like you, I wish more people would comment so we know if there is anyone out there listening to our rants. I enjoy reading blogs and I really enjoy reading comments to my blog. Lets all toast good health and keeping writing good music. Cheers, Carolyn

  2. I, too, am guilty of the "read and run" crowd. I enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for persevering during the unknown, silent times! :o)

  3. So much for what you do for the melanoma community, I to did not post well in the middle of treatment. I was too sick to do so. But I remember reading your blog and being grateful that others have been through bio chemo and survived. Fighting melanoma alone is terrifying! And I am Grateful that many of us are here despite a stage IV diagnosis!