Issue #194  9/25/2012
Why The Newsletter Has Been Late: a Summer Full of Medical Issues

By Alex Novak

For those of you who were wondering why there were no recent newsletters, I encountered more than a few health issues this summer. I am fine now.

I had to go to the emergency room in Paris on my next to last day there because of an enlarged prostate. The medical team there put a catheter in me to get back, something that I had to deal with for about seven weeks or so, including a bit after the surgery that came later in the summer.

I had to have major prostate and hernia surgery. My enlarged prostate was just too big for normal surgical procedures, so I went the robotics route (and, no, they didn't rebuild me as a robot). The doctor who I used is simply the top robotics surgeon for urology in the world: Dr. Daniel Eun at Temple University Medical. I can highly recommend him and his team. The good news is that there were no signs of cancer at all, and my PSAs dropped from 8.4 to 1.3.

At my annual skin check-up, my dermatologist Toby Shaw insisted we test the pigmented area on my cheek even though I had it tested before (although 25 years before). I am very glad she insisted. The test showed that I had in situ Melanoma on my right cheek. The subsequent Mohs skin surgery required a couple of skin grafts from my upper shoulder blade. Mohs surgery makes sure you get out all the skin cancer. It is a system of incremental surgery where the cancer cells in the removed skin are checked while actually doing the surgery.

My surgeon indicated that they got out 100% of the cancer, which was fortunately at its earliest stage. My doctor here was Dr. Chris Miller at the University of Pennsylvania hospital. Again, I can highly recommend him and his team.

Take a lesson from my experience: go for annual or even bi-annual check-ups with your dermatologist and (for men) urologist or (for women) gynecologist. Getting things early does pay off.

On top of all this, I broke my front tooth, fell down a couple of stairs and lightly sprained my ankle, and then came back home and bashed the small toe on my right foot. I felt like that little guy with the thunder cloud over his head from the Little Abner comic strip. I am almost back to normal (whatever that is) and hope my Karma is now clear for the rest of my life.

Hope things have gone better this summer for you. :-)

Novak has over 45 years experience in the photography-collecting arena. He is a long-time member and formally board member of the Daguerreian Society, and, when it was still functioning, he was a member of the American Photographic Historical Society (APHS). He organized the 2016 19th-century Photography Show and Conference for the Daguerreian Society. He is also a long-time member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers. Novak has been a member of the board of the nonprofit Photo Review, which publishes both the Photo Review and the Photograph Collector, and is currently on the Photo Review's advisory board. He was a founding member of the Getty Museum Photography Council. He is author of French 19th-Century Master Photographers: Life into Art.

Novak has had photography articles and columns published in several newspapers, the American Photographic Historical Society newsletter, the Photograph Collector and the Daguerreian Society newsletter. He writes and publishes the E-Photo Newsletter, the largest circulation newsletter in the field. Novak is also president and owner of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, a private photography dealer, which sells by appointment and at exhibit shows, such as AIPAD New York and Miami, Art Chicago, Classic Photography LA, Photo LA, Paris Photo, The 19th-century Photography Show, etc.