Posted by: cg00n | July 6, 2009

In which we meet Dr. G

The main news of the day is that Dr. G has agreed to perform the procedure and will try to get me a date with the knife ASAP:  “within a month” was his precise statement but he did add that he may be able to negotiate a date in the next couple of weeks.  He is aware that time is of the essence.  The lumps are growing.

It will be an all-day surgery, starting at 07:30 and finishing around 17:30 – a day of complete rest for me, I presume.  This will be followed by about a week in hospital.  One of the lumps will require a small skin graft; Dr. G is hoping to get Dr. M to do this about 5 days after the main procedure.  Oddly enough, having pumped all those noxious chemicals through my leg, skin grafts don’t stick very well if they are applied immediately afterwards.  By the way, I’ve seen pictures of legs that have had this procedure performed.  You remember the line from the Flanders and Swann song The Reluctant Cannibal? Roast leg of insurance salesman springs to mind.

The procedure itself is apparently very safe.  Needless to say the patient consent form has a long and scary list of possible post-operative complications but that’s a problem for later.  80%+ of recipients experience a fairly high degree of remission for a couple of years.  The less fortunate have melanoma showing up on the skin of other parts of the body within that time.  None of this implies a better survival rate, however.

When I hear more about a possible date I’ll be sure to post the details here.

Changing direction somewhat, I expect most of you are aware of the purported dangers of tanning beds.  I got an interesting comment on the Brynessa Gradley reference I made in my previous posting:

Please don’t feel sorry for the orange-skinned 21-year-old Brynnesa Gradley.  She frequents (yes, present tense) tanning salons more than the “handful of times” she claims.  I know because I work at the salon she uses in West Vancouver.

I have no way to know if this is true but if it is I am completely boggled! Why on earth would she do such a thing to herself?  Perhaps she already knows her condition is terminal and doesn’t care any more?   It seems like a very poor example to set for other young women.  Then again, I know people who still smoke.  Why are we such a self-destructive species?

So as not to end on such a depressing note here is a joke that A told me today:

A doctor and a nurse are working together one night when a patient dies.  The doctor fills out the relevant paperwork and asks the nurse to file it.  The next day he comes to the nurse in a panic asking if he can get the paperwork back before anyone sees it.  When the nurse asks why he says, “It’s really embarrassing.  I realised that I signed my name on the Cause of Death line.”

And that’s quite enough for today, I think.



  1. Here’s hoping Dr. G gets you in ASAP.

    It is interesting that people with lung cancer often still smoke, people with a history of heart attacks don’t loose weight and start exercising. It is harder to understand why a person with melanoma would continue to use tanning beds as it does not involve a lifestyle change or breaking an addiction … plus she could use one of the lotions that mimics a tan.

    In general people with a diagnosis of cancer are surviving longer due to the improvement in treatments … it is beginning to be thought of as a chronic illness. Cures are more difficult to achieve.

  2. It is good to see that A has inherited your sense of humour.

  3. Why are we such a self-destructive species?

    Because we are all evolved to be risk-takers.

    If you tell a person “Stand in front of a train and you will die” they will stand clear of trains unless they intend suicide. If you tell them “Use tanning beds and you *may* die” that’s a different matter. As a hunting species, we could not afford to flinch from “Attack a large mammal and you may die”, so the race descends from those who look at such a risk and say, “sure, but I’m hungry”. The cautious types avoided the risk of death by animal mauling, and quietly died of starvation.

  4. The article says “Gradley said a series of fully body scans have confirmed her cancer is in remission but she must go for twice-yearly checkups for the rest of her life.” She is not terminal…

  5. Perhaps I should have written:

    “… thinks her condition is incurable …”

    I got some interesting feedback on this subject from a doctor friend. Too long to make a comment though. I’ll try to remember to put it in the next posting.

  6. Where did she say “incurable?” I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. Slandering someone who can’t defend herself for the sake of a blog seems highly inappropriate.

  7. I hardly think any of this qualifies as “slander”: that was why I did not approve the comment as it was in the first place. Let me try to be perfectly clear. I do not know whether Ms. Gradley frequents tanning salons. All I am trying to say is that *if* she does I find her behaviour very odd and I am speculating (with no evidence to support me) about why she might choose this course of action. If someone were to make such a statement with respect to myself I would not be offended.

  8. Coming out of my confinement as a closeted painter, I see you have been going through tough times. I made a 24 by 48 acrylic painting of the historical school building in my home town in time for unveiling in a celebratory occasion. It was a pressured commission. Nevertheless, my thoughts have visited you regularly and often. Each time I look at the 3 surviving balloons from your birthday greetings to me, I am with you and your family. These balloons are such a persistent reminder of our family festivities. I struggle in my limited strength like you and grateful to be here in this caring residence and near family. Today a friend from Minnesota will drive us to Buffalo for lunch in the home of my brother and his wife. They too are active in keeping themselves functioning after her recent throat surgery. His handicaps increase his dependencies. We are wearing out! My heart is with you warmly.
    Enjoy the summer air, dear Bob, Patsy and Ashley.

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