Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The latest twist

The cool thing about hating cancer is that it never fails to deliver new and unexpected reasons to hate cancer even more.

Yesterday, I went to my post-chemo, pre-scan, check-in appointment (hate cancer, love hyphens) with my oncologist. It was to have been a simple, smile-filled, celebratory visit for B and me. There were smiles of course -- Dr. Miller's gentle kindness and sense of humor go a long way -- but we also dealt with concerns and (sigh) more shrugs and tests.

I have developed some skin lesions on my hands over the past week, and Dr. Miller referred me to a dermatologist for biopsies. I suppose "referred" is an inadequate word in this case. Dr. Miller managed to convince one of the city's finest dermatologists to see me immediately. I love that guy!

My crazy outbreak is apparently as fascinating as my crazy rare cancer: it seemed like a dozen folks (docs, nurses, techs, residents, etc.) came in to my tiny exam room to take a look at my hands (and repeat the same questions). All of them were professional, friendly, and very helpful. I continue to be impressed with the UofL Health Care system.

Here's a tip for people facing a future hand biopsy: when the doctor is choosing which lesions to cut off of you, offer some feedback. If the doctor wants to cut on the middle finger of your dominant hand, ask if he'll choose another location. You see, having a piece of skin cut off this finger will definitely affect your ability to use a pen or pencil. In a word: ouch.

Thankfully, I can still use a keyboard. Plus, I think I like having a bloody bandage on my middle finger as I aim it directly in cancer's face.

I'll get the test results in a week. Details will be posted here for your holiday reading. It's cool, all Christmas stories end well. Cheers.

UPDATE: results of the biopsies were fine, but it sure sounds familiar: I have a rare condition, and no one knows the cause. Idiopathic. Oh fun. The diagnosis: Sweet's Syndrome, which has been described as "is a reactive phenomenon and should be considered a cutaneous marker of systemic disease." Yes, that sounds about right. A week of prednisone cleared up the lesions on my hands and arms, but that drug made me crazy and angry. Or maybe the cancer and all he other stuff did that. Who knows. More shrugs. 


  1. Good advice, thanks. Glad to hear you are done with the chemo! I work for ChiliTechnology and I am a cancer survivor. I wanted to recommend the ChiliPad if you have trouble sleeping or are dealing with heat or chills from the chemo. It's a mattress pad that lets you cool down or warm up the bed - and it was a great relief to me when I was in chemo. Hope this helps you or your readers.

  2. This is very interesting topic about the cancer disease. Cancer is very harmful disease in the world.