Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm Back

Thanks to all of you who expressed concern over my recent health alert. Here's the latest update.

Four years ago I had a melanoma appear under my left thumbnail, in the form of a black band that grew out the length of the nail. It started in the nail matrix, that part of the body that actually produces the hard substance of the nail. Fortunately the melanoma was still localized, and surgery removed it completely, along with the entire thumbnail. Eventually about 3/4 of the original nail returned, but it always looked pretty gnarly, like I had been hitting it repeatedly with a ball-peen hammer.

So fast-forward to now: I recently noticed a small brown irregular discoloration under the skin just beyond the outside edge of what remains of the left thumbnail, about a half-inch away from the site of the original melanoma.

One painful biopsy later I learn out that I have yet another melanoma on my left thumb. I am told that it, too, is localized, or in situ, and ought to be easily removed, but now I am wondering if maybe some more radical surgery might be called for. If I have some fucking cancer lurking in my thumb, lying in ambush for me to relax my immune response system just a smidgen, then I'd rather just have the whole thumb amputated and be done with it. I don't want to have increasingly larger body parts regularly hacked off, like Martin Balsam's character Mr. Merriweather in the classic film Little Big Man: "They're whittlin' me down, boy!"

I go to the surgeon on Thursday. Either I will have dodged the bullet again, or I'll be saying goodbye to my thumb as it begins its journey to Body Parts Heaven and struggling to learn base-nine arithmetic. I'll keep you posted.

3 Comments:

nunya said...

best of luck

Elizabeth Green said...

Farnsworth--so sorry to hear your news. I wouldn't want to have cancer lurking in my body, either, but the thumb is an important digit. I will be thinking healing thoughts for you. I know you'll make the best decision based on the information you get from the surgeon, but I am hoping you won't have to send the thumb to Body Parts Heaven just yet. ;-)

spadoman said...

Good positive karma headed towards your direction Brother.