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

Friday, May 13, 2011

Be Wary of Concealed Carry

Once upon a time, a young oncologist doing his post-residency fellowship sort of ‘jumped the gun’ on diagnosing a tumor based solely on CT scan results. He told me that a large mass next to my spine was almost certainly an untreatable melanoma tumor that would put me underground within a year. Lucky for me, my attending faculty doc pulled me back from the abyss and sent me off for a biopsy. The fellow’s initial diagnosis turned out to be dead wrong.

Fortunately, I don’t carry or even own a handgun and never saw the fellowship doc again. So I never had the opportunity to fulfill my urge to shoot him down in the clinic hallways. But thanks to Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff”, I can express my lingering homicidal fantasies in music…

I shot the fellow
But I didn't shoot no faculty, oh no! Oh!
I shot the fellow
But I didn't shoot no faculty, ooh, ooh, oo-ooh.)
Yeah! Far away from my home town,
He’s tryin' to take me down;
He say he think they found melanoma
Instead it was just schwannoma,
It was just a big schwannoma.
But I say:

Oh, now, now. Oh!
(I shot the fellow.) - the fellow.
(But I swear it was in recompense.)
Oh, no! (Ooh, ooh, oo-oh) Yeah!
I say: I shot the fellow - Oh, Lord! -
(And they say it is a capital offense.)
Yeah! (Ooh, ooh, oo-oh) Yeah!

Fellowship doc nearly cratered me,
With what, he don't know:
Even though I hope for me,
He said can’t kill it, still will grow -
He said can’t kill it, still will grow.
And so:

Read it in the news:
(I shot the fellow.) Oh, Lord!
(But I swear it was in recompense.)
Where was the faculty? (Oo-oo-oh)
I say: I shot the fellow,
But I swear it was in recompense. (Oo-oh) Yeah!

Freedom came my way one day
And I started out of town, yeah!
All of a sudden I saw fellowship doc
Aiming to make me frown,
So I shot - I shot - I shot him down and I say:
If I am guilty I will pay.

(I shot the fellow,)
But I say (But I didn't shoot no faculty),
I didn't shoot no faculty (oh, no-oh), oh no!
(I shot the sheriff.) I did!
But I didn't shoot no faculty. Oh! (Oo-oo-ooh)

Prognosis once got the better of me
And what is to be must be:
Every day the bucket a-go a well,
One day the bottom a-go drop out,
One day the bottom a-go drop out.
I say:

I - I - I - I shot the fellow.
Lord, I didn't shoot the faculty. Yeah!
I - I (shot the fellow) -
But I didn't shoot no faculty, yeah! No, yeah!

The truth is, I don’t hold a grudge against this young doc—he may have erred by getting out ahead of the known facts, but he couldn’t have been kinder or more caring.


  1. I think it's amazing how you can take something so heart breaking and make it inspiring for others to do the same. Cudo's!! My mother is fighting stage 4 melanoma. She's in Vanderbuilt Hospital in Nashville, Tn. She would love your page if she hasn't already found it!!

  2. Hi Kelly, thank you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your mother.