Posted by: cg00n | June 4, 2010

Lumps, Craters and Stitches

Lots to talk about and lots of time in which to talk since I’m giving my poor old leg a little quiet time for the next few days.  Everything looks pretty good right now and I think I’m going to get my wished-for summer away from hospital.

The PET scan happened on May 26th and was (as expected) a resounding non-event.  From the report I gather that my two late, unlamented lumps were probably too small to show up.  That’s kind of a bummer because it would be nice to feel that we could find anything of that size that was hidden from view.  However, the lumps were regarded as being “very small” and I have been complimented on my self-examination practice for noticing them so quickly.  There are a few other areas of “moderate uptake” (of the radioactive glucose or whatever they inject into me) but that these could well be the sites of last year’s surgery rather than anything more sinister.

For the next few days I intend to be relatively immobile just to give my new wounds time to knit together.  Yesterday’s surgery went very quickly, smoothly and fairly painlessly.  A indication of my improved state of mind is that I was actually laughing about the most painful part of the whole exercise:  injecting the anaesthetic.  There are a few stitches in each incision that will have to be removed in about two weeks and I have been enjoined not to do anything that would pop them in the meantime.  That’s about it.  Later today I can take a shower and life will mostly return to normal. [Update: the shower has been taken.  More to come.]

My most recent revelation will doubtless come as no surprise to anyone else:  it is normal to feel anxious about the result of tests and about the receipt of other information that may have life-threatening implications.  What is not normal is to find oneself rendered non-functional by this.  Most people, even if they feel a bit on edge for a while, manage to eat reasonably well, sleep adequately and generally get on with their lives.  What happens to me, at least historically, is that the anxiety completely swamps everything else and just the anticipation can be enough to start the whole downward spiral.  Now, I think (and hope) I believe I can catch the process early on and wind it down.  What I cannot do and probably never will be able to do is to eliminate the feeling of anxiety completely.  Does this mean I’m normal now?

Lots of goodies in health and medical news this time around.  Starting with the more pragmatic melanoma-related stuff:

Some interesting developments in general cancer research:

This is hardly news but beware of choco-therapy for depression.  Apparently it could be a cause rather than a cure.  More research is called for.  Eating chocolate for science is something I could really get on board with!  I wonder when they will start researching beer?

Speaking of beer, my birthday was greatly enlivened by a very novel present:

Scott with an enlightened six-pack

This is Buddha Beer, according to Scott, an idea whose time has come… and gone again.  It made my day while it was here!


A couple of news items I omitted earlier:



  1. I think anxiety is part of everyday life once you have been diagnosed with melanoma. I have been following your blog -thanks for writing it for those of use who dont have our own. Great B-Day picture!

    • Perhaps a certain level of anxiety, not too serious I hope. may be common. I’m sure pain and poor prognosis makes it worse, too. However, my own goal is to live large chunks of my life pretty much anxiety-free. It has taken me a lot of mind work even to approach this state but I am making progress and I think other people can do it too.
      Thanks for the comment.

  2. What a handsome Buddha … never saw Buddha and beer in one sentence before but it works for me 🙂

    I’d likely not only be immoblized by cancer but a blithering puddle. So take heart it could be worse (or is that not enheartening?)

    Explain to me why a potentially successful surgical treatment for MS is being regulated and not approved by our government. Whenever did they approve, or not, of any surgical procedure. It sounds very parental to me.

  3. Melanoma drug (ipilimumab) cuts death risk in major trial
    Experimental treatment raises hopes of reversing advanced cases

    Its analysis:

    I can’t remember whether I found this via a tweet or a Yahoo home page news article…

  4. I really wish I could get rid of the anxiety myself. It seems that every step I take, whether the news is good or bad is preceded and followed by anxiety. I wish I could do something about it because it does interfere with enjoying life. Like you, I try to fight it. Maybe I just need some good drugs!


  5. hey there!
    u have always been normal. we all are in our own way. everyone has anxiety (of course at different levels), and we all deal with it differently. u know urself best, so keep on keeping on!

    im glad the procedure went well. miss u.

    btw, my mom says hi =)

  6. Great news, great birthday present! You can practice being mindful of the effects of really good beer. I am so glad to hear how well things are going. It would be wonderful if you could have a hospital-free summer, even better if the weather would clear up.

  7. My reaction to metformin is to be severly dehydrated, with no amount of liquid going in being able to offset it. It keeps me from participating in a few clinical trials.

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