How I Spent My Birthday


Since turning 21, I generally haven’t paid much attention to birthdays. My attitude has basically been “every day is one day older”.

That changes with a cancer diagnosis, and Thursday May 25 was my first birthday since getting said opinion. So I was certainly more aware of the passage of time than usual.

How did I celebrate this milestone? By visiting my oncologist, of course! Which means it’s time once again for another fun round of “Good News, Bad News”…

Good News
The latest CT scans show no sign of cancer spread or growth of the liver spots.
Bad News
The latest CT scans show some signs of growth in the area of the original tumor.
Good News
That might just be the result of radiation treatment irritating local tissues.
Bad News
CA-19 blood level (which marks the presence of cancer) spiked to its highest ever.
Good News
This also could just be the result of radiation killing off cancer cells, which then leak into the bloodstream.
Bad News
Not much to be done about the ongoing treatment symptoms (fatigue, numbness, nausea).
Good News
It’s typical for patients to feel worst a few weeks after treatment, so with any luck I’ll be feeling better soon.
Bad News
Also no explanation/course of action yet for the persistent stomachache.
Good News
No need to return to heavy drugs until we see how I’m doing after a month of no chemo or radiation. So my treatment holiday continues.

Seeing the doctor wasn’t my only birthday event. As usual on Thursday, Jacob and I took on other members of the Washington Bridge League in a duplicate contract bridge competition.

Bad News
We finished well below average, with a 44% score.
Good News
We were only one place lower than world champion Steve Robinson. It was just that kind of night.

I also got lots of phone calls, emails, texts, and well-wishes from family and friends around the world. (One of the calls was from Russia!) Thanks, everyone—I love you all.

The awesome infusion center staff even offered to sing to me when I dropped by for bloodwork. But since I just happen to have written lyrics for a keen birthday song, I sang it for them instead. The words are more appropriate than ever.


Lisa Norwalk

better late than never

I guess I am one of those people that takes a really long time to accept bad news.  Jacob told me about your cancer when you were first diagnosed, and he told me about your website several months ago, but I didn't look at it until today.  Your bravery and humor are admirable.


Thanks Lisa —Never too late

Thanks Lisa —

Never too late to hear from a friend. Thanks for the kind words. Hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer.


Thanks Egor! Good to know

Thanks Egor! Good to know that little bit of history is still around  😉   Indeed, pizza and root beer is one of the classic meals. And so healthy—it's got fruits & veggies (tomato, green peppers, onion, maybe spinach or pineapple), grains (the dough), proteins (sausage or pepperoni), and dairy (the cheese). It's the perfect food.

And root beer is essential with pizza. It's just one of those things.

Thanks for checking in! Always great to hear from my School 45 pals. Do hope we can catch up in person, although I have no idea when I might get out to Moscow again.

Wishing you and your family and friends all the best!


Egor Buz

Hi Elliot!

Hi Elliot!

Dude, your pizza recipe remains, the one that you've passed during that biology class at the 45th school in Moscow. The one ending with "a tall mug of root beer". The supreme pizza with salami & onions reminds me of you my friend.

God works in mysterious ways and let's believe that literally everything what happends is for the best and we just don't understand it.

I'm looking forward to seeing you in the future! (this is not auto-footer text)

Egor Buz [email removed so Egor doesn't get spammed] 

PS "satrap" the damn thing.


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