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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Braiser's Ledge

A new research study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that most cancers are primarily caused by bad luck rather than poor lifestyle choices or defective DNA-- biological bad luck in the form of random mistakes in cell division which are completely outside of our control. But don’t throw away your sunscreen and SPF duds because this study also found that basal cell skin cancer (the researchers apparently didn't include melanoma as one of the 31 types of cancer covered in the study) doesn’t fall into the ‘just bad luck’ category and is instead linked to sun exposure.

There’s no doubt that my diagnosis of Stage IIIc melanoma at age 50 wasn’t just the result of random mistakes in cell division and that my years of unprotected fun (and work) in the sun were a contributing factor. The price of my foolish braising was sixteen cycles of in-patient biochemotherapy treatments, which one of my nurses described to my wife as dosing me to the ledge of death while treating the severely toxic side effects so that I didn’t fall over the cliff. Which I very nearly did in a couple of Code Blue events during treatment.

Wishing I knew back then what I know all too well know, I’ll sign off with a lyrical “Dear 16-year-old Me” message, to the tune of AC/DC’s “The Razor’s Edge”…

There's frying on the left
And parching on the right
Don't cook up in the sky
You're gonna die of fright
Here comes the braiser’s ledge

You're living on the ledge
Don't know wrong from light
Mel’s breathing down your neck
You're running out of lives
And here comes the braiser’s ledge
Here comes the braiser’s ledge
The braiser’s ledge

Braiser’s ledge, to praise the red
Braiser’s ledge, to sun in beds
To praise the red

Here comes the braiser’s ledge
Here comes the braiser’s ledge
Well here skin comes to cut to shreds
The braiser’s ledge

The braiser’s ledge [it's the braiser's ledge]
Gotta braiser’s ledge [well, the braiser’s ledge]
You'll be cut to shreds [that you'll be cut to shreds]
By the scalpel’s edge [gotta razor's edge]
Gotta razor’s edge [by the scalpel's edge]

1 comment:

  1. Rich, you have some very good information. I've read several articles recently that support your thoughts about cancer being random instead of the result of lifestyle choices or defective DNA. However, that doesn't mean that taking care of our personal health doesn't make a difference. Here is a blog post about healthy lifestyle choices for cancer fighters: