Introduction

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.



Saturday, May 2, 2015

Melanoma Monday 2015



Despite the past efforts of a few misguided souls to get us to dress like giant Cheetos on Melanoma Monday, most of the melanoma community embraces our true awareness color, BLACK. (I’ve taken to wearing black boxer briefs every day of the year, but I’m guessing you really didn’t want to know that and I most assuredly won’t be posting any selfies to document my dedication to black.) Please stand together with your chic and well-informed melahomies on Melanoma Monday, May 4, and “Paint it Black”.

Every awareness event needs an anthem, and I couldn’t think of one more fitting for a united Melanoma Monday 2015 than Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me”…



When sun fright has come
And the scan is stark
And the moon is the only light I'll see
No, I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me

If sun fry, that I took chance on
Makes frontal assault
And this old man should crumble to Black C
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me
Stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me
Oh stand by me, oh won't you stand now, stand
Stand by me
Stand by me

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Night Moves



Attention all Colorado melahomies! Please join me and make your best ‘night moves’ at this upcoming Melanoma Awareness Month event, which benefits Colorado Melanoma Foundation, Inc. The Melanoma Night Walk is in memory of Justin Vicory, a 35-year-old husband and father who was taken by melanoma last fall. It’s an event that Justin had started to plan prior to his death, and his widow DeeDee is now carrying on with his wishes to raise funds for melanoma education, prevention, early detection, and treatment research.

Still wishing I’d done a lot more of my outdoor work and recreation at night rather than in the mid-day sun sans sunscreen, I’ll sign off with The Hotel Melanoma rendition of Bob Seger’s “Night Moves”…



I was a little too ‘Sol’d’
Could've losed a few browns
Write rant posts, hardly renowned
C was my back bared booty with big dark fries
Tanned joints all my own getting way up fried
Way up burned and fried

Out past the sun’s yield when the night gets heady
Outin’ the Black Beast with my nifty bevy
Workin' on mysteries without any clues
Workin' on our night moves
Trying' to make some front page Night Walk news
Workin' on our night moves in the summertime
In the sweet summertime

We aren’t rid of, oh no far from it
We aren’t searching for some pie in the sky summit
He was just young and precious and soared
Living by the Lord
And we'll heal this craze, there’s a chance we could
Fill the vacuum, let’s rally, do justly good
We need cure, C bruised we
Cuz everyone cares
We want mela be rare

Workin' on our night moves
Trying to lose the awkward teenage hues
Workin' on out night moves
In the summertime
And oh the wonder
Felt the fright thing
And we waited on the wonder
Waited on the wonder

I hoped last night for a round of funders
How far off I sat and wondered
Started humming a song from 1962
Ain't it funny how the night moves
When you just don't seem to have as much to lose
Strange how the night moves
With autumn closing in

Night moves!

Monday, April 13, 2015

I Wanna Be Sedated

I don’t know about you, but there have been quite a few times during my extended stay at The Hotel Melanoma when I’ve had a strong desire for heavy sedation. Like all the times when I got the high fever shakes so bad during biochemotherapy treatments that kind nurses knocked me out with a nice shot of Demerol into my PICC line, thank you very much. And on the occasion of the first MRI scan of my brain when I took an accidental overdose of Ativan to counter my extreme claustrophobia—a mistake my dear wife will likely never forget or completely forgive. And last, but not least, during the seemingly interminable waits to receive scan results or pathology reports.

With gratitude that I’ve no need of pharmaceutical assistance to get me through this lovely spring day in the Rockies, I’ll sign off with The Hotel Melanoma Rendition of “I Wanna Be Sedated” from The Ramones…



Plenty plenty plenty more hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, nowhere to go oh,
I wanna be sedated

Just get me doctor’s report, ease my worried strain
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go insane
I can't control my rigors, I can't control my pain
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Plenty plenty plenty more hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, nowhere to go oh,
I wanna be sedated

Just put me in a wheelchair, find the friggin’ vein
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go insane
I can't control my rigors, I can't control my brain
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Plenty plenty plenty more hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, nowhere to go oh,
I wanna be sedated

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me through the slow
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go loco
I can't control my rigors, I can't control my glows
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Plenty plenty plenty more hours to go
I wanna be sedated
Nothing to do, nowhere to go oh,
I wanna be sedated

Just put me in a wheelchair, get me through the slow
Hurry hurry hurry, before I go loco
I can't control my rigors, I can't control my glows
Oh no oh oh oh oh

Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated
Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated
Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated
Ba ba baba, baba ba baba, I wanna be sedated

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mulligans



I got myself out on the links today for my first nine holes of Geezer Golf of the season. My rusty game wasn’t pretty; and at my age and worn physical state it likely isn’t going to get much shinier. Mulligans were taken, lies were improved, and a score wasn’t kept. But I had fun and, thanks to some sunscreen and SPF 50 golf duds, my post-game skin tone doesn’t match this golf ball.

For those readers who have the good sense not to play golf, a mulligan is a second chance to better perform an action—specifically, a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke. Although mulligans are prohibited under the official rules of golf promulgated by the nitpicking Nazis who rule the United States Golf Association, they make the game a lot faster and more enjoyable for us hopelessly high handicappers who just play for fun, fellowship and fresh air. And wouldn’t it be nice to get a mulligan on some of the ‘errant shots’ we’ve made in life, like failing to protect our skin prior to checking into The Hotel Melanoma?

Until next time, I’ll sign off with The Hotel Melanoma rendition of Def Leppard’s “Animal”…



A wild ride, over bogey ground
Such a lust for slice, the surplus sums each round
We are the spunky ones, on a fright’ning fade
Just like a river runs, like a fire needs flame
Oh, I yearn for youth

I gotta screen skin with my duds, whoa, oh
I need more touch don't need more sun, whoa, oh
And I want, and I need, and I’m just, fallible
And I want, and I need, and I’m just, fallible

I try golf, drive some out of bounds
I’m improvin' hardly, in the witching hour
I'm stunnin' with the sticks, Nick Faldo is nonplussed
And yikes the drivin' pain, hey, yikes the endless rust
I better cheat

I gotta screen skin with my duds, whoa, oh
I need more touch don't need more sun, whoa, oh
And I want, and I need, and I’m just, fallible
And I want, and I need, and I’m just, fallible

Huh! Oh! Try golf baby, try golf
Gonna stunt you like man, uh, uh, fallible
Gonna take your bucks n' run

I gotta screen skin with my duds, whoa, oh
I need more touch don't need more sun, whoa, oh
And I want, and I need, and I’m just, fallible
And I want, and I need, and I’m just, fallible

And I want
(And I want)
And I need
(And I need)
And I’m just
(And I’m just)
Fallible
(Fallible)

And I want
(Save me)
And I need
(Save me)
And I’m just
(Save me)
Fallible
(So fallible)

And I want
(Show me)
And I need
(Stroke free)
And I’m just
(Let me be more)
Fallible
(Fallible)

And I want
(I want)
And I need
(Ooh, ooh, ooh)
And I’m just
Fallible
(Fallible)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ripple Effects

Five years ago today I came out of my closet and published my first (rather long) blog post about life as a melanoma patient. Today’s is my 587th post. So what do I think I’ve accomplished with all of this verbiage and song?

I’ve ranted, I’ve whined, I haven’t ever come remotely close to going even slightly viral with a post, and I certainly haven’t succeeded in raising much money for melanoma research. But I’ve bared my soul and perhaps inspired or encouraged a few melahomies to do the same with their own blogs that have had a far wider reach and impact than mine. No one has sued me for defamation or copyright infringement. I may have succeeded in slightly raising melanoma “awareness” (a term I dislike intensely), although as near as I can tell none of my posts have been read by more than a handful of folks who don’t already live at The Hotel Melanoma. (Like, my wife asked me a while back whether I was still blogging.) But I’m pretty certain I’ve put a smile on the faces and a song in the hearts of some fellow Hotel residents, and that’s reason enough to keep on trying.

I suspect I’ll never know or see all of the ripple effects of stepping out of my room and blogging, but I do know one thing for sure. Writing Welcome to The Hotel Melanoma has drawn me into a warm, supportive and welcoming community of mole mates and meeting a whole bunch of really nice people. Thank you all for being here.

Just this once, I’ll leave a fine old song unmarred. The Grateful Dead’s “Ripple”…



If my words did glow
With the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played
On the harp unstrung

Would you hear my voice
Come through the music?
Would you hold it near
As it were your own?

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go, no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

It's a hand-me-down
The thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air

Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall, you fall alone
If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home