A year ago I’ve posted much to everyone’s disgust (or nonchalance) that I have pinna melanoma. Of course as soon as disgusting pus started spurting out of the pinna I sort of thought, maybe this isn’t melanoma, maybe it’s something more hideous, like an abscess. But the pinna didn’t go back to its normal size. There was still some residual mass there, something dormant, something just waiting to explode or metastasize or turn into an alien (the one in X-Files Fight The Future with fangs and stuff, not the timid gray aliens from the TV show). And true enough, as soon as my immune system plummeted from some stressor, like hunger and general poverty, the mass grew back. “I think it’s lymphoma,” I told Frichmond and Smoketh as we were eating in Tokyo Tokyo. I’ve whined about it for hours on end through the snack in Tokyo Tokyo, through the kiddie play we watched, through the dinner in Aveneto, through the coffee break in UCC. Frichmond would no longer hear one word about it. “Ipaopera mo na yan kay kuya,” Frichmond declared. Frichmond’s brother is a plastic surgeon.
“Gaano na yan talaga katagal?” Frichmond’s brother asked.
“Ten years.” I declared.
OR day finally came and I walked to the plastic surgery clinic. All my friends were busy so I couldn’t get anybody to come. I was the classic PGH patient, the one with no bantay, so if I suddenly died intra-operatively there would be no one to make decisions and everyone in the clinic would be annoyed as hell. Social service would then need to come in and a frantic search for contacts would be conducted. In genuine PGH fashion I imagined that as I walked to the clinic I would be told, “tumungo ka na”, upon which a circular cut-out would be made from the wrapping paper of the sterile gloves and would serve as the sterile eye sheet. It was henceforth surprising that the nurse asked me to change into a sterile gown after which I was led to a fantastic out-patient operating room. As I laid prone on the operating table (which smelled great) a BP app was wrapped around my arm and a pulse oximeter was clamped on my finger. Layers upon layers of brand new sterile sheets were placed on top of me until they covered my entire body. My right ear was cut, the mass excised, and cauterized painlessly.
After the surgery Frichmond’s brother declared that it was merely a lowly sebaceous cyst festering with hideous infections. As he was reiterating the steps on how to reduce the scarring and such I had to stupidly ask, wide-eyed and frantically:
“Wala talagang solid areas? Hindi po kailangang ipa-biopsy? Puro sebaceous lang, wala pong solid areas? Any solid areas?”
There were no solid areas. In a few short days my ear was back to normal, and with that simple procedure I felt great. Which made me think, as I stared at the list of plastic surgery procedures in the flyer I got from the clinic, what MORE if I will have THESE procedures! AHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHA AHAHAHHAAH!
(Dr.Espiritu, plastic surgeon, holds clinics in Manila Doctors. Yeah!)