Posted by: cg00n | August 16, 2013


Everything seems to be going reasonably well.  The stitches came out about a week ago and, although there are a couple of “soft” spots and one little section that isn’t holding together too well, the situation is improving. leg-large-lump-gone This pic was snapped just before removal of the stitches (I count 50), and there were about that many holding together the deeper layers of tissue so the rune is starting to fade into the background, as magic symbols tend to do.

The surgery itself was a little more involved than usual.  Dr. M. himself did the honours with a couple of assistants and a nurse.  As usual they used local anaesthetic injected at various places along the proposed incision lines.  It is pretty effective but if they are cutting close to a nerve there is a kind of deep, achy feeling; it is as if my body knows it is suffering damage even if it can’t feel the pain.  In spite of all my meditation practice it is still difficult to remain completely undisturbed and a few minutes in I started to feel light-headed and nauseous with profuse perspiration, a bit like having really low blood pressure.  No one accused me of being a wimp, however.  The nurse helped to lower my head and got me some cold cloths.  She said that very few people had actually succeeded in throwing up on her, a tribute to her fleetness of foot I suspect.  After a few more minutes of revolting nausea and wooziness I began to feel better again and we made it to the end of the surgery without further incident.

With my leg swathed in layers of gauze and compression bandages I was placed in a wheelchair and P helped decant me into the car.  Once home I hopped (literally) from the car to the elevator and thence to bed where I remained more or less continuously for the next 48 hours or so with my leg propped up on a pile of pillows to help it drain.  After that, with the aid of a walking stick and a shower chair (not simultaneously, I hasten to add) I was able to resume a semi-normal existence.  It remained painful to put weight on the leg for another few days, but in general I required little by way of analgesics.  Since then it has been slow but mostly steady progress.

Today (as I write) is a drab, dreary, rain-soaked day after a week or so of quite fine weather.  It is tempting to feel bummed out because I still can’t do much leg exercise:  walking, stairs, boating, ballet, tight-rope walking  etc..  Feeling sorry for myself is something I’ve had lots of practice at.  The summer is waning (as well as raining) and my boat sits neglected at the dock.  My bike is gathering dust in the garage and even I feel motivated to get out and get some exercise.  We have A home for three weeks and I would love to be able to go places with her rather than sitting around like the proverbial bump on a log. Thursday will see another round of IL-2 injections which will render me a smaller bump on a bigger log.  But instead of allowing the heaviness of disgruntlement settle upon me I am catching up on my back reading, listening to dharma talks, learning Python (a programming language) and going through most days feeling quietly contented with life.  It is so much easier now to focus on the positive side of life that it used to be, and a lot more fun.

I have been experimenting with sleep recently.  This one of my other chronic difficulties, frequently exacerbated by my irritable bowel.  It is difficult for me to sleep through even mild disturbances:  conditions have to be almost perfect for me to get a good night.  For the last few years I have been taking a small dose (one-quarter of a .5mg tablet) of clonazepam before bed.  However, it seems to be losing its effectiveness and I don’t want to become habituated to it in case I really need it to do its job as an anti-anxiety medication.  My current substitute is melatonin, a choice I ran by Dr. C who seems to think it is a worthy experiment.  I’m popping two 3mg pills at bedtime which seem to help me fall asleep and to sleep more soundly, although I wake up a bit foggy.  For some reason I also have a tendency to wake for about an hour after 2-3 hours of sleep.  I don’t know what that’s all about but I try to use the time to meditate which is, at least, restful.

Speaking of meditation (that almost never happens here) I came across some articles on adverse effects.  This is a total surprise to me, although I suppose that anything that affects your mind could cause problems.  This Livestrong article briefly exposes some of the potential problems and Wikipedia also deals with this topic.  What it comes down to is that having an experienced teacher is a good idea.  Failing that, I’d say it is a good idea to take a course or at least find some other meditators (an online forum is better than nothing) with whom you can compare notes and ask questions.  It has done wonders for me but, as always, YMMV.

News Roundup

A refreshingly short list this time around.  My thanks, as always, to those of you who have pointed out items of interest.

And that’s all for now.  Hope you’re all having a wonderful summer!



  1. You have a maze of old and new incision scars to mark time (like a notch on the belt) and record your progress in the labyrinth of this disease. Nice to know there is some hope that the battle against melanoma is being won. Nicer that treatments mean you are still here to be our friend, and perhaps our guide. Because who knows when it will be our turn to walk a similar path.

  2. Just thinking about you and watching for an update:)

  3. I’ve been very bad at updates over the summer: too much Living to do 🙂 Thank you for your thoughts. I expect to post something new after Thursday’s appointment with the dermatologist – which I expect to be uneventful.

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