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.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

You Give Sun a Bad Name



It’s not exactly “breaking news” among residents of The Hotel Melanoma that melanoma incidence rates have been rising for at least the past thirty years. A new study recently published in the American Journal of Public Health identifies a number of cultural and historical factors in the past century that have led to increased exposure to UV light, which may explain rising melanoma incidence rates. Check it out here.

Until the turn of the 20th century, tanned skin was associated with lower class status and working outdoors performing manual labor. But by the mid-20th century attitudes had completely reversed and tanned skin started to be perceived as attractive and healthy. This old boomer bought into the notion that you have to be tanned to look good and healthy right up to the day of receiving a Stage 3c melanoma diagnosis. And I still catch myself thinking that my new porcelain pale carcass looks sickly and I often resent the fact that melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma to boot, have changed my fun times in the sun by forcing me to cover up on the golf course and hiking trails. The sun I used to love is now an object of fear. Oy.

Let’s hope that societal attitudes about tanning start to change soon—otherwise we’re going to have to build several new wings onto this dang Hotel. Until next time, I’ll sign off with the Hotel Melanoma take on Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name”…



Shot through the heart and you're to blame
Mela you give sun a bad name

A painful while is what you spell
U promised me heaven then put me through hell
Days of sun got a hold on me
When tannin's a prison you can't break free

Oh! You're a loaded gun, yeah
Oh! There's nowhere to run
No one can save me
The damage is done

Shot through the heart and you're to blame
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)
I braised my parts and you play your game
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)
Hey, you give sun a bad name

Paint your smile on your lips
Blood red nails on your fingertips
A fool boy's scream, you act so sly
Your very first kiss was your first kiss goodbye

Whoa! You're a loaded gun
Whoa! There's nowhere to run
No one can save me
The damage is done

Shot through the heart and you're to blame
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)
I braised my parts and you play your game
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)
You give sun, oh!

Oh! Shot through the heart and you're to blame
You give sun a bad name
I braised my parts and you play your game
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)

Shot through the heart and you're to blame
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)
I braised my parts and you play your game
You give sun a bad name
(Bad name)

You give sun
You give sun
(Bad name)
You give sun oh oh oh oh oh
You give sun
(Bad name)
Y ou give sun
You give sun
(Bad name
) You give sun
You give sun

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Singing the Pinktober Blues



I’ve concluded that there must be some kind of competition going on among consumer products companies every October to see who can come up with the creepiest and most clueless pink awareness ribbon product placement. Yesterday I picked up a package of thin-sliced chicken breasts that carried the ubiquitous pink ribbon, and all I could think was “yuck”. I mean, what am I supposed to do, perform a mammogram on those chicken breasts before grilling them? What’s next, pink ribbons on tanning beds?

Hoping that my cancer never gets this crassly commercialized, I’ll sign off with The Hotel Melanoma rendition of “Statesboro Blues” from Taj Mahal…



Wake up momma, turn tan lamp down low
Wake up momma, turn tan lamp down low
You don’t deserve baby to have mela onc at your door

I woke up this morning, I had them Pinktober Blues
I woke up this morning, had them Pinktober Blues
Well, I looked over the Facebook and mole mates seemed to have them too

Well, my onc doc tried to test me
My derm doc tried undress me
I ain't good looking baby
I'm somewhat ‘screened and white

I'm goin' to speak bluntly, baby do you want your moles?
If you tan bake it baby
Your Interferon med spree gonna flow
And I sure will take cure

I loved that sun tan, better than any onc man I've ever seen
Well, I loved that suntan, better than any onc man I've ever seen
Well, now, he treat me like a king, yeah, yeah, yeah
And C look like it all gone clean

Wake up momma, turn tan lamp down low
Wake up momma, turn tan lamp down low
You don’t deserve baby to have mela onc at your door

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Anything For A Donation

A guy who will do a melanoma fundraising walk wearing a black tutu and nail covers will, obviously, do almost anything for a donated buck. My latest Quixotic venture was to respond (quite belatedly) to a request and offer to rewrite the lyrics to a song that is, at least in my opinion, one of the worst of the 70’s in exchange for donations to Colorado Melanoma Foundation. And I got a few pledges, thank you very much, so here goes.

A song for the indoor tanning industry and its uninformed prey, to the tune of Abba’s “Dancing Queen”…



You can tan, you can fry
Slashing the time off your life
Ooh see that girl, watch that scene
Stingin' the tanning queen

Fry Day night and the lights all glow
Looking out for a place to grow
Where they prey with fright U thing, getting in sun thing
You come in to look for a singe

Anybody could peel and die
Blight of young and the toll is high
With a bit of doc choosing, it’s biopsy time
You're in the mood for a tan
And when you get the chance

You are the tanning queen
Young and sweet, only seventeen
Tanning queen, feel the heat
From the salon sheen, oh yeah

You can tan, you can fry
Slashing the time off your life
Ooh see that girl, watch that scene
Stingin' the tanning queen

You're a griever, you turn 'em on
Leave skin burning and then you’re gone
Cooking out for sun color, any ‘sun’ will do
You're in the mood for a tan
And when you get the chance

You are the tanning queen
Young and sweet, only seventeen
Tanning queen, feel the heat
From the salon sheen, oh yeah

You can tan, you can fry
Slashing the time off your life
Ooh see that girl, watch that scene
Stingin' the tanning queen
Stingin' the tanning queen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Going Black in Houston


This past weekend I was blessed to attend the AIM for the Cure Melanoma Walk in Houston, where the only thing warmer than the Texas hospitality is the air. It was quite nice to breathe all of that oxygen down there at sea level, but y’all really do need to do something about that humidity—this Colorado ‘boy’ and his black tutu were quite wilted after walking only 5 kilometers. If event organizer Judy Sager (reluctantly posing above with the Men in Black) hadn’t had us walking after dark, I think I might’ve died.

Putting my climactic whining aside for a moment, I want to thank Judy, AIM at Melanoma, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and all of the volunteers for staging this wonderful event. It was truly a pleasure to meet up with a bunch of inspirational melahomies, and I hope to do it again in the not-too-distant future. For all of you, here’s the Hotel Melanoma rendition of Dean Martin’s “Houston”…



Wasn’t lonesome in this old town
And a buddy drove me ‘round
‘Twas a race put on by AIM
But walking is a pain
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

I got holes in both of my shoes
Well I'm a walking case of sun blues
Raised some dollars Saturday
But mole friends blew me away
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

I have been eating for about a week
I'm so chunky in black tutu chic
Mole buddies call me friend
It’s sad the shape I'm in
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston
I got a cure waiting there for me
Well at least they said there’ll be
I found a home and some great warm friends
And an armadillo that was dead
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

Wasn’t lonesome in this old town
And a buddy drove me ‘round
‘Twas a race put on by AIM
But walking is a pain
Goin' black in Houston, Houston, Houston

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

One Fine Day



If only my sunscreen and SPF 50 golf duds could sing, they just might do this one-- to the tune of Carole King’s “One Fine Day”…



One fine day, you'll look at me
And you will know our love was, meant to be
One fine day, you're gonna want me for your cure

The arms I long for will open wide
And you'll be proud to have me
Blockin' right by your hide
One fine day
You're gonna want me for your cure

Though I know you're the kind of boy
Who only wants to sun a round
I'll keep waiting, and, someday darling
You'll come to me when you want to battle brown
Oh

One fine day, we'll meet once more
And then you'll want the ‘glove’ you threw away before
One fine day, you're gonna want me for your cure
One fine day, oh
Oooh, one fine day, you're gonna want me for your cure