I went in again to the Royal Marsden on Thursday. They gave me another CT scan--results negative again--and then I spoke with the oncologist who is treating me: Professor Thomas, a most intimidating man. His comments this time can be summed up as: Situation grim. Major surgery. Small chance of death during procedure. Large scar, through the tattoo on your belly unfortunately. Will try to match up edges when sewing you up. Ten days in hospital. One month to recover.
He also said that my presentation was very unusual for melanoma. It's possible that the lump in my abdomen is not melanoma. It "should be" (his words), but it's very odd for melanoma to spread in this way. So . . . it might be something benign. Which would be very good. That would put me on Stage III rather than Stage IV, which makes a very large difference in prognosis.
On the other hand, and somewhat less reassuringly, he also said that if it *is* melanoma, then it's possible my disease is quite aggressive, as it's also not usual to get melanoma in three different places at once (primary tumor, metastasis to lymph node, and then distant metastasis).
The only way he can know, of course, is by chopping out the whatsit and looking at it. He also doesn't know what it's attached to, so it's possible I may lose my spleen, and/or a section of my bowel. Still, I can live without my spleen, and I'm certain a small chunk of bowel won't be missed. We do seem to have rather a lot of it, after all.
The operation is set for November 24th, but that might change if there aren't enough beds in the hospital for me.
I have to spend the month before the op getting things in motion for something else. I'll post about it later.
Oh, and I had two rejections for short stories. They both arrived today, which kind of made the morning email check a bit sucky.