Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Follow Up With Dr Mirth

It turns out my dermatologist isn't missing his sense of humour gene.  Though to be frank, I think his timing is a little off.

At my first visit his approach was professional verging on dour.  Despite my ongoing attempts at infantile flippancy he stoically refused to take the bait and crack even the slightest smile.  Hey!  I wanted to say, as I fixed him with a pointed stare and stabbed him repeatedly in the chest with an index finger...stop being so bloody miserable and at least have the decency to acknowledge my pitiful attempts at wit.  I can't claim to be even a distant relative to Noel Coward, but you can't deny my attempts at trying.

By the time my follow up visit rolled around I was a little more preoccupied and a whole lot less cocky.  If I had been wearing boots I would have been quaking in them.  As it was, I simply sat nervously shivering in my vivid blue paper gown, wholly convinced that my detailed check up was going to reveal a body peppered with melanoma.  From the moment I had been diagnosed with melanoma - and particularly since the removal of a significant chunk of skin from my back - I had found umpteen suspicious looking legions which surely signified the beginning of the end.  There were multiple moles simply begging to be labelled with the dreaded cancer diagnosis.  Okay, so I was totally paranoid and, armed with a little bit of information, had within a matter of weeks morphed into the Internet expert on terminal skin diseases.  I knew it was only a matter of time before Dr Dour proved my suspicions to be correct - and that time was now.

So I was a little taken aback when Dr Dour breezed jauntily into the room, took one look at my dejected and forlorn little self sitting hunched in readiness for the worst prognosis, and quipped, "My!  Don't you look glamorous all decked out in blue today!  Going anywhere special?"


Er.  Not sure exactly Dr.  You tell me.  The morgue, potentially?

Taking advantage of the fact that his Dr Dour/Mr Mirth transformation had rendered me temporarily speechless he continued with his flirtatious banter.

"Yep, a strappy pair of heels and you'd have all heads turning today in that outfit.  Love the tan, by the way.  Out of a bottle I hope...phnar, phnar.  So.  How have you been?  Everything healing nicely?  Let's have a little looksy, shall we?  Check out Dr Slash'n'Sew's* handiwork."

At this point I went from flummoxed to severely irked faster than a Mclaren F1.  Hey!  I wanted to say this time...take this seriously you buffoon.  I'm dying here.  DYING I tell you.  And the last thing I need is your pathetic attempt at cheeriness to soften the blow.

Of course, I did no such thing because, despite not being a rocket scientist, I'm still intelligent enough to recognise Karma staring me full on in the face when I see it.  Go on Doc.  Knock yourself out with your little jokes.  Turn the tables on the British smart alec when you get the chance, why don't you?  Just do me the favour of cracking on with the little comedy act so we can get straight to the bad news.  There's really no amount of bonhomie today that's going to prompt any wisecracks from me when you lay the cards on the table.  I'm all out of funny, if you haven't noticed, and have been for a while.

The scar looked fine, apparently.  Healing nicely, possibly helped by the fact that the nurse had taken pains not to remove all the stitches a few days before.  Dr Mirth grabbed a pair of tweezers and, with a few sharp tugs, deftly detached them from the pieces of skin they were seemingly intent on melding to.  "Would you look at that...they almost match your eyes exactly", he commented, as he handed me a few strands of blue twine complete with blood stains and small pieces of skin still attached.  "Not sure they would compliment every outfit though, so you're probably best off without them."

Oh for God's sake...let's just get on with it, shall we?  Enough with the jolliness.  Get your bloody magnifying glass out so we can get on with the process of checking all my other mutated 'beauty spots'.  And then just tell me there a chance I am going to have any skin left?

Turns out there is.  Despite some of the moles qualifying as 'vaguely suspicious', none of them warranted the quick 1-2 with a scapel for further inspection.  I need to attend 6-monthly skin checks but at present Dr Mirth is convinced I am cancer free and - by taking proper precautions moving forward - can hopefully avoid any further instances of melanoma in the future.

I am so relieved I finally smile and go to great pains to resist the urge of planting a huge thank you smackeroo on his lips.  In a final act of gratitude I decide to leave the thwarted attempts at humour to him on this occasion.  The unexpected 'all-clear' may warrant a smile - but my ability to laugh about my first brush with the dreaded C word is still a little way off.

* not the most flattering pseudonym for my incredibly kind and experienced surgeon


  1. I am SO relieved! Finally some good news, right?

  2. So you will be my sister for a little while longer then. Let's say roughly 50 years, and then some :o)
    And now you have me suspiciously eyeing all of MY moles... x x x

  3. yey yey and thrice yey xxx

  4. Phew! So pleased for you. That doc sounds like he was flirting with you. Wonder if he's single. I mean, now that you're not dying, and all that......

  5. Hurray! What good good news!!! So happy for you!

  6. very pleased it's all clear

  7. I'm wondering if he knew your results beforehand thereby resulting in his flippant, flirty manner. Doesn't matter though, does it. Point is, you're clear. Good for you!

  8. Very pleased to hear the results were good. (Maybe he knew that once he wouldn't have to see you again professionally, he could flirt with you? x)

  9. So very glad to hear. You must be sighing with relief.

  10. Great news. I couldn't hack following two cancer blogs so I'm glad you're well. That was a joke, btw.

    Stay out of the sunshine though.

    Mad x

  11. Truly great news! And I bet he wouldn't have minded a little smooch from you.

  12. Hi Nicola - what's your email? Want to get in touch about a possible US blogger meetup - mine is

  13. So pleased for you! Do you think your surgeon is in fact a pair of identical twins, Dr Mirth/Dr Doom?!

  14. I hope you come back to write soon. Missing your blog.

  15. I'm so pleased for you. What a relief.

    I think he was being a bit flirty - commenting on your blue eyes, and mentioning strappy heels.

    (I know this post is weeks old, and my comment late - I did read it when I was on holiday in the UK, but I didn't always have much time on a computer, so I tended not to leave comments if they required any thought.)

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