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, September 1, 2011

Unsightly Visions

I recently learned of the availability of do-it-yourself mole mapping software, which will compare two digital photos taken of my naked self at different times and flag new or changed moles. Who knows, this software may be a very effective tool in expert hands. But this is one of the many, many things I’m not going to try at home. It’s hard enough for me to get through that morning shave mirror image of myself without triggering a paranoid mole survey, so I’m just not going to sit at my high definition computer monitor and study my ubiquitous moles. I (and my dear insurance company) pay good money to good docs for their expertise in spotting suspicious moles, and yet I still feel like I should apologize for asking them to inspect my weathered and scarred carcass that closely. My unsolicited advice is don’t try this at home; and if in doubt, check it out with your docs and let them use whatever technology they deem reliable and effective.

Hoping you have a great (and sun safe) Labor Day weekend, I’ll leave you with a new ditty to the tune of Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story”…

Spent some time feelin' inferior
Standing in front of my mirror
Scoped my moles in a thousand ways
But they came out looking just the same

Doctor said, “son, you nearly left this world
I didn’t blame you when you declined to leave
But remember one thing don't lose your head
To a cancer that'll kill you dead”
So I paled out

Palm trees are a place you can hide from rays
If you feel that pale skin is in
Tanning freaks never give me no peace
They claim I am a pasty person
Down along the sea in shade of my own
Was knocked down by a tanning stampede
Got arrested for impeding a peaceful fry out
When all I wanted was to be tan free
I was accused
I moved on

Back at home I started searching too much
For the moles that end a boomer’s old life
Prognosis stunk but I fought my funk
At a time when I was near out of luck
Getting strangest looks indeed I was
Looking like some toxic reaction
Oh my dear I’d love to get out of here
This Hotel ain’t no tourist attraction
I wasn't ready for this, no no

I live here out west yeah!
Had times that weren’t merry, I’m still feeling wary
Hoping that my luck’s still here
I keep on writing dumb blog posts daily
Staying right with those oldie tunes
Had my thrills, doctors gave me chills
They claim that it’s up to nature’s will
They scare me all to heck ‘til I’m a wreck
Oh doctors I sure hope you find cures
Oh yeah I sure hope you find cures

I firmly believed that I didn't need anyone but me
I sincerely thought I was so complete
Look how wrong you can be

The software I've known I wouldn't trust to give true clues
I wouldn't give it my life to save
But those sharp eyed doctors you can’t really beat
God I sure hope they find cures
And wish I had the words I could tell to you
To help you on the way down this road
I wouldn't quote you no Dickens, Shelley or Keats
'cause it's all been said before
Make the best out of the bad just laugh it off
You didn't choose to come here anyway
So remember, every picture tells your story don't it


  1. Speaking of this new program.........when I met the dermatologist at MSK, his nurse took a lot of VERY uncomfortable pictures of me. They were supposed to mail me a book with these pictures so that I could monitor myself. If I ever receive that book, it will be hidden deeply in my closet. I, like you, think I'll just keep my eyes open & see my derm. every 3 months.

  2. Yikes, that must have been uncomfortable, and in my case that's a book that should never be "written". I'm not seeing a dermatologist, just my melanoma doc twice a year. He's had to look at me for 8 years and I think he'll spot any issues. Plus, I already have to also see a radiation oncologist and a retina specialist and I just don't want to explain my medical history to another "new" doc who would give me that "I can't believe you aren't dead" look. Cheers.