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Surgery December 5, 2007

Posted by dorigo in personal.

I had surgery today, to remove a carcinoma from the skin of my scalp. It entailed a rather wide cut, to ensure that the whole affected tissue was being taken off. It was interesting for me to observe in first person the activity in the surgery room – I did not feel pain or real discomfort, but I must admit that I really hated having to completely give up control and be tied hands and feet with all sorts of wirings and tubes – I am such a control freak!

The operation lasted some 25 minutes all in all, and the surgeons were able to sew the wound without the need of an inset of skin extracted from my thigh, a possibility that had been foreseen in case of failure to find enough skin around the cut to feed in the opening.

Now I am back home, and I feel relieved to note that at the mature age of 41 my record of not having spent a single night in a Hospital is still unbroken. I wonder for how long more. My head hurts a lot, but I can live with that. More annoying will be to walk around with a largish bandage on my head for the next couple of weeks… Oh well. I bought myself a hat, and I actually like my look with it on.

So, bear with me if I won’t answer comments promptly for a day or so… I am on drugs anyway, so my comments could be of little use!



1. Guess Who - December 5, 2007

Now at last I understand what this whole thing is really about: it’s just a coverup for a facelift, so you will look more like the age you act. 😉

2. Kea - December 5, 2007

Hope you feel better soon. 🙂

3. carlbrannen - December 5, 2007

Tommaso, I hope that this is the end of the story.

The latest Scientific American says that most of us are now Vitamin D deficient from insufficient exposure to sunlight. So I’ve been sunning myself for 10 minutes a day when sun is available in the area. After 10 minutes, the UV degrades Vitamin D at the same rate it produces it, for people with very light skin tone.

Of course to avoid skin cancer it makes sense to expose a different part of your skin to the sun each time one does this. Fortunately, years of sitting on chairs has given me a large target area that is large and white and hasn’t already picked up a lot of sun damage.

4. Michael - December 5, 2007

What type of cancer? I’ve had many spots of skin cancer on my face hands arms and legs.

5. Fred - December 6, 2007

Good to see you still have your sense of humor because what were you going to do if your hands and feet and all sorts of things weren’t tied up, perform the surgery yourself?! Could you please post a few pictures of yourself with the head bandage before and after you put on the hat?

6. Flip Tomato - December 6, 2007

Best wishes with your recovery, TD!

7. Arun - December 6, 2007

Tommaso, best wishes for a quick and complete recovery!

8. Matteo Martini - December 6, 2007

Good luck,


9. George Barouxis - December 6, 2007

Tomasso, all the best!

10. Paolo - December 6, 2007

Auguronissimi! Paolo.

11. dorigo - December 6, 2007

Thank you all – I feel better today, and tomorrow in fact I have four hours of lectures 😦
This should indeed be the end of the story, as Carl says, since the biopsy seems to indicate that margins of the ablated tissue are clean, but I tend to believe that we start dying the day we are born, so it makes little difference. The real difference would be to live long enough to live forever, as Ray K. likes to put it. I doubt it is going to be easy for me and you, but our children are well in time IMO.

Cheers all

12. dorigo - December 6, 2007

Carl, the sun is a killer, but also no sun is a killer. We need its radiation for our bones, for our psychological well-being, and for a number of other reasons… In my case the carcinoma was not due to sun’s exposure though.

Fred, forget about the pictures! I look ugly with partly trimmed hair and a fat bandage on a side…


13. changcho - December 6, 2007

Tommaso, hope the surgery took care of it.


14. Alexander W. Janssen - December 7, 2007

Get well!


15. Tony Smith - December 7, 2007

Tommaso, I hope your surgery did its job well,
thanks very much for your statement

“… the sun is a killer, but also no sun is a killer …”,

which states the wisdom of true intelligent moderation,
which in turn seems to be in short supply in many areas
of present-day human society.

I hope you will consider putting it up as a Say of the Week
to spread the wisdom of moderation in the world of web-surfers
(or at least to those who read the good blogs).

Tony Smith

16. dorigo - December 7, 2007

Hi changcho, alex, tony, thank you all. I am recovering and I think surgery did take care of the problem successfully, but the final word will be the response of the complete analysis of the removed tissue.

Tony, thank you for your appreciation… I like the sentence for its message. I will keep it as a backup 🙂


17. chimpanzee - December 7, 2007

“Class always figures out a way to win”
[ Winners never quit..quitters never Win ]

“Blue skies..baby..BLUE SKIES!”
[ think positive, look to the heavens ]

I think your _complete package_ of science, chess, family (lovely), music, amateur astronomy is almost untouched among science blogs. Real content (breadth) & character. In NASA speak (astronaut training), you’ve got the RIGHT STUFF.

Your “character” put Quantum Diaries on my “radar”, when you were open-minded to Louise.

[ when she was getting hammered by many blogs. CENSORSHIP!? Like you, I’ve had issues with Asymptotia & CV..I personally have been banned in both. Humpph!! (to quote Kea, she is having her battles with you-know-who) ]

You’re winning in the “Game of Life” & here’s to your winning battle against cancer:

“Billy Jack..maaaaannnn!!”

Bad Guy [ Cancer ]:
You think those Green Beret tricks [ martial arts ] will help you against all these boys? [ cancer cells ]

Billy Jack [ T. Dorigo, cancer-beater ]:
You know what I think I’m gonna do..just for the hell of it. I’m gonna take this RIGHT FOOT..& I’m gonna WHOP you, on THAT SIDE OF YOUR FACE. And, you wanna know something? THERE’S NOT A DAMN THING YOU’RE GONNA BE ABLE TO DO ABOUT IT

[ an ass-whoopin’ like you never saw..yeah baby ]

Audience Response:
“Don’t screw with Billy Jack!”
“I loved the WHAP! sound when Billy Jack adjusted the little attitude problem he was having. WHAP! Hahahahah…”
“Billy Jack is BBBBAAAADDDD!!!!!!!”
“Billy Jack is a bad brother!!!!!!”

“The town Sheriff and his Deputies were harassing the Native Americans and Pacifist community living in the area. Billy Jack, bitter, back from Vietnam and half Indian himself, tried to abide by the pacifism at their request, including responding nonviolently in prior scenes. Sheriff and Buddies felt it was okay to assault and rape one of the Pacifist, causing Billy Jack went on a quiet, self righteous rampage of revenge.”

The above isn’t silly playfulness on my part (although I’m like that in real life..hence the name “chimpanzee”. That’s part of the reason I got tossed at Asymptotia & CV..hahaha). The technique of VISUALIZATION is used throughout Psychology to treat various ailments..mental & physical (even cancer!). It’s even used by sport teams..sport psychologists are brought in to train their athletes for positive thinking (“visualizing themselves winning”).

“90% of the game is played above the shoulders [ mental & psychological..not just physical ]”
— Yogi Berra/NY Yankees

Your battle with cancer starts with surgery (physical), followed by a therapy of MIND (mental & psychological). Mind over Matter. It’s all about Inspiration. Sports coaches use psychology all the time on their players (e.g., pep-talk before the big game).

I watch Billy Jack video-clips multiple times per day, to fire me up. Never fails. “I wan see Billy Boy do karate chop on this assho..Hayah!!”

Lubos Motl has the mentality of Billy Jack..most people don’t *realize* this.

[ Sheriff and Buddies [ P. Woit & L. Smolin ] felt it was okay to assault and rape one of the Pacifist [ String Theory ], causing Billy Jack [ Lumo ] went on a quiet, self righteous rampage of revenge.” ]

Which explains his kick-ass modus-operanda (self defense), which is *interpreted* as “wild outlandish behavior”. He’s on a self-righteous mission to “save the world”. Me too! We are of a breed apart (“different type of cat”), that is very misunderstood..”heretics” among fellow scientists. I was discussing Science Research with a Caltech Prof, & sharing similar trials/tribulations in getting papers accepted (theories accepted): rejection is the initial response from the status-quo (“mediocre minds”). He said “Even Einstein had problems!”. All the great discoveries had such origins.

18. dorigo - December 7, 2007

Lol, Bob, thank you! I do think that a positive attitude toward things that happen to you is the best way to get out of trouble still standing on your feet.

And thank you for your compliments to my blog. It is what it is without any design, it just reflects what are my interests (except, well, sex :)))).

As for Lubos the kick-ass, hmm, I said it here once and I have no trouble saying it again, the character of Lubos is definitely attractive to me. However, his attacks are less digestible…


19. dorigo - December 7, 2007

Michael, your comment got fished out of the spam box by complete chance… 🙂 I take the occasion to remind everybody that if your comment does not appear at once, you’ve better send it to me by email.

The cancer is a carcinoma, more specifically a baso-squamous one. Not as aggressive as a baso-spinalioma but quite more than a baso-cellular one, I am told.


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