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

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Fine Day at The Clinic

I’ve been a patient at a big university hospital cancer center for over ten years now and have been ‘seen’, in whole or in part, by a slew of ‘ologists of various and sundry specialties and sub-specialties. They’re all good people of great skill, experience and compassion, but it’s often seemed to me that there’s not a whole heck of a lot of collaboration and communication going on among this gang of ‘ologists. And that’s probably just because each one of my ‘ologists is too dang busy hustling from one exam room to the next to sit down and talk to me about what is or isn’t going on with my care in some other clinic down the hall. But every so often one of my ‘ologists has the time to climb out of his or her specialty silo and take a comprehensive interest in my care at the cancer center, and Friday was one of those days.

It was time for a MRI and visit to the radiation oncology clinic to see if Mr. Schwannoma is behaving himself and a day that involved the standard redundant questionnaire about my metallic jewelry implants, etc. (A Schwannoma is a fairly rare and usually benign tumor of the Schwann cells in the protective sheath surrounding a nerve, and the ‘ologists found a big honking one on the left brachial plexus bundle of nerves branching off of my cervical spine through the first CT scan performed after my Stage 3c melanoma diagnosis. A crack radiation oncologist, who I affectionately nicknamed Dr. No, nuked Mr. Schwannoma in 2007 into a stable state.) They’ve not been directly involved in my melanoma care and treatment, but perhaps because they’ve treated one-too-many melanoma patients with brain metastases, Dr. No and his successor have taken a great deal of interest in my melanoma care and had a lot to say to me over the years about what I ought to be doing for the sake of early detection of any melanoma recurrence. Both have expressed concern that I haven’t been scanned in a coon’s age, and my new radiation oncologist up and ordered a precautionary chest and pelvic CT scan. I’m sure it’ll prove “unnecessary” in hindsight, but I’m nonetheless grateful for her proactive initiative. I just hope my ‘friends’ at CIGNA authorize it.

I never particularly liked this song, only because a college roommate we called Woodstock played it incessantly, but with gratitude to the good folks in radiation oncology here’s the Hotel Melanoma rendition of Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”…

I have MRI fright
My hand's wet as an eel
There's a voice in my head
That drives mag wheel
It's my rad tech callin'
Says: I read you here
And it's a scan abhorred
In that magnet sphere

When C is mole C
And the growing gets too much
He sends a ray stream
Coming in from a gun
Don't need to groan at all

I've got a thing that's called Ray Doc Love
He’s got the waves if you dare
Ray Doc Love

The waiting room’s playing some old rotten song
Lawrence Welk’s polka gone wrong
These forms have got me hypnotized
And I'm seating into old naugahide

If I get Mole C
And I'm sure I've had enough
She sends her protons
Comin' in from a gun
Don't seem to fret her at all

I've got a thing that's called Ray Doc Love
They've got the time for this guy
Ray Doc Love

No smoke weed, I'm almost bare
Gotta neat blue gown, lotta great care
Scan time on mass, here I go
And the time in jar passed too darn slow

And the waiting room played that old rotten song
Lawrence Welk’s polka gone wrong
And the new scan sang its same song
Once more Ray Doc Love is on

If I get Mole C and I'm sure I've had enough
She sends her protons, coming in from a gun
It don't seem to fret her at all

I’ve got a thing that's called Ray Doc Love
They’ve got the time for this guy
I've got a thing that's called Ray Doc Love
I've got a thing that's called
Ray Doc Love

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