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

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Death By A Thousand Cuts

I’m often a little puzzled by the search keywords that lead unsuspecting ‘net surfers to my blog. For example, one of today’s hits came from the search “freckles dermatologist”. I’ve really no idea what this searcher was looking for, but please allow me to attempt to respond from my own somewhat warped perspective.

As a boomer guy of Celtic descent who has spent too much unprotected time outdoors, my sun-weathered carcass displays a plethora of freckles, dark spots, moles, wrinkles etc. Quite a few of my spots are a bit suspicious/abnormal in appearance. With a history of Stage IIIc melanoma treated by surgery and adjuvant biochemotherapy (NED since 2003!), I think that if I were to get into the hands of an overzealous dermatologist, who’s perhaps a bit too interested in making more money by doing more billable procedures, I’d be suffering a slow death by multiple biopsies and stressful waiting for pathology reports.

So my choice has been to be watched, both externally and internally, by a melanoma oncologist in the “Cutaneous Oncology” department of my favorite university hospital cancer center. Frankly, we’ve both been a whole lot more concerned since 2003 about an internal recurrence than a new primary melanoma tumor. But if he were to be concerned about any of my ubiquitous spots, he wouldn’t hesitate to send me down the hall to the Dermatology department for a second opinion. (He’s told me more than once, “I’m not a dermatologist, I just play one on TV”.) The plan going forward is to see one of his dermatology colleagues in between my regular oncology checkups that can now be an annual event. And I certainly pay close attention to any spot that might be new or changing.

As near as I can tell, there’s no single “right way” or “standard protocol” for exactly how someone like me ought be watched for an external melanoma recurrence and who ought to be doing it. Like so many things melanoma, it’s a judgment call. “One stop shopping” at my university hospital cancer center is just the right choice for me. So do what’s right for you, with docs with expertise in melanoma diagnosis (and other cutaneous cancers) and in whom you have trust and confidence.

I’ll sign off with one more for the Hotel Melanoma Christmas Album, to the tune of “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” from Harry Connick, Jr.…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n1UuDFfeGA


It's beginning to look a lot like skin stuff
Everywhere I’ve moles
Take a look at my hide and then, check it all once again
With path lab stains and silver lights aglow.

It's beginning to look a lot like skin stuff
Docs on every floor
But the prettiest sight to see is the jolly that will be
On my path reports.

Some hair of new growin’ roots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Docs that will talk and will go cancer block
Is the hope of Janice and Jen
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for trials to start for them.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
There's a tree in the Mel Hotel, glows in the dark so swell,
The IV kind that does a drip so slow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the meds will start,
And the thing that will make them zing
Is the cure song that you sing right within your heart

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
There's a tree in the Mel Hotel, glows in the dark so swell,
The IV kind that does a drip so slow.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the meds will start,
And the thing that will make them zing
Is the cure song that you sing right within your heart

1 comment:

  1. Love to read your personal perspective as well as enjoy witty sense of humor!!! This is one of my personal fav's!

    ReplyDelete