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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Blessedly Boring

Melanoma is an arbitrary and capricious bastard that kills one person every hour in The United States. But I’m apparently not going to be one of its casualties. And I don’t quite know what to make of that.

Eleven years out of biochemotherapy treatments- the primary ingredient of which was a boatload of Interleukin-2 in the convenient twenty-four hour bag- I’m a blessedly boring patient. Purely precautionary scans in April showed no evidence of metastatic disease. And over the past weeks and months I’ve begun, for the first time in over a decade, to contemplate the prospect of growing old.

Like, should I apply for Social Security benefits when I first become eligible to receive them in 2015 and “get it while I can”? Or should I wait until my “full retirement age” or beyond in hopes of receiving a bigger monthly check for a couple of decades or so? Should I “age in place” or move to one of those ‘Geezer Village’ patio home communities? What would it cost to install a stair lift to ferry me to my second floor master bedroom? Would it be possible to engineer a snow blower attachment for my motorized wheel chair? These are questions that it’s quite nice to have.

I’ve often wondered whether there’s something ‘special’ about my immune system or the DNA of my melanoma cells that would explain why IL-2 seems to have worked so very well for me but not at all for too many others. If so, I very much wish I could reduce it to a tasty liquid extract to be served at every Happy Hour at The Hotel Melanoma Lobby Bar.

Wishing all my melahomies a very medically boring 2015, and hoping the New Year will bring more treatment breakthroughs, I’ll sign off with another ode to melanoma to the tune of U2’s New Year’s Day…

All is quiet on New Year's Day
A world in white gets underway
I want to scream at you, flee from you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day

I am free from you again
I will flee from you again

Plunder of blood red fry
A crowd has gathered, black with pride
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers says, says

Say it's true, it's true
We can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one

I, I will begin again
I, I will begin again

Oh, maybe the time is right
Oh, maybe tonight

I am free from you again
I will flee from you again

And so we are told this is the Golden Age
Bad moles are the reason for the wars we wage
Though I want to scream at you, scream at you night and day
Nothing changes on New Year's Day
On New Year's Day
On New Year's Day