Yesterday I found myself cradling my phone to my ear with my shoulder so that I could use both hands to get my big bike off the metro north train in pleasantville, straining to hear what the doc was saying while smiling and pointing (what hand had I found for that?) at my phone shrugging my free shoulder, smiling at a dancer I’d known years ago who inexplicably appeared on the platform when the doors opened..   “Oxaliplatin, yes..   never irinitican..   ”    Suddenly, a lot was happening at once.

A minute or so earlier, I’d finally gotten a call from my doc.

“Mr. Caldwell.  It’s Doctor H.  Can you talk?”

“Yup.  Sure.  I’m on the train, but my stop is coming right up, so I’ll be able to hear a lot better in a moment.”

“Well.  I’ve got your petscan results, and I’m afraid that I have some bad news.”


“You’ve got a couple of spots on your liver.  And one on your lung..   and one on your mesentary..”

“My what!?”

“Mesentary..   It’s connective tissue around the…”    The train got loud.  I couldn’t hear..

“So pretty much all over the place?”

“Well.  We’re not really sure about the spot on your lung, that might be inflammation of some sort, but the other ones I feel quite certain are related to the original tumor.”

He offered me chemo on the spot.  I told him that I wasn’t very inclined to accept.  That we’d have to discuss it.

We’re trying to work out an appointment for friday morning.  Hopefully we’ll get a lot more information then.

You know about what I do now.  Stage IV cancer, hanging tough.

I’m resisting the urge to speculate.  But this is pretty bad news, indeed.

Today I’ll go play pool.  It’s wednesday.


Stay tuned.


85 Replies to “IV”

  1. *sigh*

    Don’t really know what to say. Guess Pleasantville wasn’t so pleasant. Did you have a good ride, at least?

    Staying tuned in.

  2. I’m be with you… trying all the things… all, staying smiling with you always. Come on… I hate number 4. But I can feel your power… all us be tuned always with you. Play pool and have all fun you can, pls!! hugs

  3. Oh fuck. My heart just breaks for you. Thank goodness you have superhuman strength. Sending you a huge hug…

  4. Ezra,

    I’m really affected. You don’t know me, in fact I’m thousand of miles away from NY. However, following your thoughts all over these years have become a kind of positive energy source, some kind of internal hearing of your voice which I also don’t know as “hej Sergi, go go… it’s gonna be ok…. go go!”

    If this crazy world has some kind of universal justice, all the power you have given to other people sharing your life should be returned in some way.

    Please be strong. I learnt this from you. Let’s wait until Friday.

    big love Ezra,

  5. Ezra,

    You’re absolutely the toughest person I’ve never met. If you need ANYTHING I’m in Jackson Heights, though I suspect you have a small army of people that care about you.



  6. We’ve never met, Ezra, but I’ve been reading your blog for a few years. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about you (if you can learn something about someone you’ve never met) is that you’re an incredibly resilient person – both physically and mentally. That’s gotta count for something. Sending all the positive thoughts I can muster in your direction from Ireland. Hang in there.

  7. Ezra! Cheryl keeps me updated on you! Please know that I read your blog and I think of you and send prayers! I have to be honest – your blog encourages me! So know that you have support from afar as well!

    Also sending love from Philly…

  8. You don’t know me, but I will keep you in my prayers. Keep on biking, and playing pool. Guess it’s time to start honing in those trick shots and see how they rub off on your tumors. Strength and success to you.

  9. Well, fuck indeed.

    Hang touch Ezra. When you wrote “hangin’ tough” all I could do was start singing New Kids on the Block in my head.

    Much love.

  10. Please get a biopsy done and cells sent off to a lab for genetic testing. They can type which mutation it is these days, and then they know the best chemotherapy or long term radiation. More info about getting your tumors “typed” at lungcancerprofiles.com – I hadn’t Stage 4 lung cancer typed 5 years ago, and I am still here kickin’ it. The course of treatment might have been the same, but knowing that I had non-small cell adenocarcinoma with EGFR mutation in & around my lungs definitely gave me hope knowing that it’s a very treatable cancer! There are long term therapies now by companies like Genenteh and Pfizer. I happen to be on one called Tarceva, which I started after chemo. – Laura (wawa)

  11. Fuck indeed.

    Twice you’ve gotten through, you’ve gotta get a lucky break at some point huh ?

    Keep doing what you do, it’s just another hurdle to bound.

    Best wishes and luck dude.

  12. Thanks for sharing. Stay positive. I love your work both blog and bike. I’m a survivor too and hope I can use your bicycle services soon!

  13. Fuck, Ezra. 

    I have couple things lined up in my mind should this happen in my house. First, we’d call Heinz-Josef Lenz at UCLA. He considered the best CRC oncologist in the world by patients and oncologists. I don’t know who his equivalent is in NYC, but his office probably does. I would call and ask for a referral. 

    Second, I would want surgery to be, if not the first treatment, the goal treatment. I share your skepticism about the effectiveness of chemo especially after it has had two long and brutal tries. Again, if surgery is on the table, please consider an opinion from Dr. G-A at MSKCC. Also, I know (at least a few years ago) the Germans are more up to date on various laser resection techniques for the lung and liver. Just throwing that out there. Many people aren’t candidates for traditional resections based on tumor size or number of mets, but they are candidates for laser resections. 

    Third, I’d do some of the alternative stuff. This wouldn’t actually be much of a change from our first time around. But, I know now what *seemed* to be the most effective and tolerable. If you are ever interested in those opinions, you have my email. 

    Very best wishes. 

  14. Ezra, I’m another of those people who ‘knows’ you from a distance via flickr and here. I’m so sorry to hear such bad news. More big hugs from a stranger.

  15. We are thinking of you and your super human strength. Putney is behind you…well, not literally- we couldn’t keep up with you for one second! TGS sends love-

  16. I’m another long-time silent lover of your stories and photographs. I don’t know what to say except that you and your family have all the love, healing energy, willfulness, and fucking hell this stranger can muster.

    Thinking of you Ezra.


  17. Well hell. I’m so sorry. I’m sure you’ve heard of every cancer center out there, but MD Anderson in Houston is awesome. Good luck out there man. I’m thinking of you even though I’ve never met you.

    Patrick in Austin

  18. Hanging tough indeed. Oh, Ezra–I am on the Metro North as I write this, pulling away from Harlem/125 and feeling what it must have been like for you to take that call. I’m but a footsoldier in your army, but I will get off that train any day if it would help to stop by with some beer or bourbon. Love from Hilary, Emily and me–we are proud of your strength and defiance, and always inspired by your example.

  19. Ez,
    I think about you often and I still have my special mini-super-bike that you made me with the old Bridgestone frame. I love it. I shipped it to Vancouver (yes I live in Van now) instead of selling it, and ride it all the time. All my friends are jealous and L-O-V-E my bike, which I proudly tell them was made/put together by Ezra Caldwell.

    Sending you kick-ass vibes from the Left Coast,

  20. Lo cIento mucho amigo,no recibistes buenas noticias por a hora pero ten fe q el viernes recibiras mejores noticias y q esta batalla seguramente la ganaras y sera pronto,son mis deseos gran amigo un abroso muy fuerte espero verte algun dia.soy amilcar Rivera tu amigo de SANTA MARTA EL SAVADOR siempre te recuerdo cuidate mucho friend.

  21. Ezra,
    I’m also one of these strangers who got to know you through this blog.
    This news affects me a lot. I’m sending you a shitload of strength.

  22. Love from New Zealand my friend. Remember, you’re the toughest thunderfucker in NYC! Good luck next week.
    – Antoine, Margaret, Finn, Hunter & The Midget Assassin. xxxxxxx

  23. Hey Ezra – like Laura said above – please look into having your tumor typed. Lots of good news coming out of that EGFR pathway for patients where other treatments haven’t worked and there’s more data pouring in every day. Also, just because prior treatments haven’t worked doesn’t mean they won’t work now – metastatic tumor cells do not behave the same as primary tumor cells. As far as the Stage IV nonsense goes – the “metastatic cascade” by which we stage cancers was set up in the 70s and is utterly outmoded now. Four little spots could fit into oligometastases and call for local therapy. There’s a lot going on these days – far more than even a few years ago with your original diagnosis. Four spots is not “everywhere” – not by a long shot. Four spots calls for a better genetic understanding of your tumor environment / CTCs. Hang tough indeed. Thanks for the update. Let us know how Friday goes. Big Love

  24. Oh Ezra, my heart is so heavy from hearing this news. Obviously know that you, Hil, and Putney are in my prayers and that I am sending healing vibes your way. I wish the road was different, but know you have lots of support.

  25. So sorry to hear. I have followed your blog and am a huge fan of your bikes and wanted you to know my thoughts and prayers are with you


  26. I’m beyond sad at this news, Ezra. You are so strong and have come so far . . . don’t give up. If I had a pocketful of miracles, you’d surely be one of the recipients. Keep believing.

  27. Ezra, I’m struggling to keep that stiff upper lip as I scroll through these responses. It is clear you’ve skillfully shared the grace and vitality with which you live with countless people around the world. How you manage to be so damn good at so many things in the face of such hardship is really incredible. I’m holding an image in my mind of your workshop walls filled with dozens of awards for being a fantastically talented, courageous and generally exceptional person. If they are not already thus filled, they aught to be. I’ll be thinking about you tomorrow.

  28. I know this is devastating news. You are in my prayers. I admire your grace and I wish you continued strength, courage and clarity as you keep up the good fight. You have been through soooooo much. Thank you for providing such an excellent example of coping with adversity. You are a MAN, my friend.

    hang tough.

  29. Hi Ezra,

    I’m not much of a fuzzy-wuzzy person, but I started following you through your photography, then your bikes… and now your macabre dance with cancer.

    I have no words for you; I’m digging deep for something meaningful words to send your way, but coming up empty.

    You are in my thoughts daily, and if my well wishes are of any help, they are yours for the taking.

    Very best, Andrew

  30. My heart is broken. I’ve followed you well before the cancer. You are a huge inspiration and I will be keeping you in my thoughts. Big hugs to you!

  31. Damn! oh s……..!!!! Keeping you, your lovely wife and Putney in my thoughts; not the praying kind although maybe I need to learn and will give it a try to see if it works. In my thoughts and hope you are spending lots of time being good to yourself and those you love, allez ami.

  32. Dear Ezra,

    my colleagues and I discussed this. And we came to the conclusion that we don’t want that shit. So – we’re sending you strength and keep our fingers crossed. Big hugs!

  33. Thinking of you today. Don’t know you personally but am a fan in Tahoe/Reno and holding a prayer of hope for some news that is good today. I am sitting here in my hospital room hooked up to chemo and riding my bike on a trainer. Looking out at the amazing Sierra Nevada Mountains and sending you hope!

  34. I dont know you Ezra, but I read your blog and I want you to know that I am praying for you with all my heart. Regina from Mexico city

  35. Ezra, you have inspired so many and will continue to do so. The world simply needs you, you are part of what makes it real.

    Another stranger who will hold you and yours in her thoughts.

  36. Ezra,
    I’ve never met you, but I know you because you have graciously allowed us to come to love you through your blog and your recent journey. I feel privileged and cursed. It’s torturous for us to watch what’s happening to you and I’m am sorry for the sadness and physical pain that you’ve had to endure. You don’t have to do the fight thing, it’s your prerogative (you’ve earned it) to determine how the rest plays out. You are correct in that we all have to die, some of us way too young, but do it your way, the way you have lived your glorious life, full of the unique and amazingly, gifted splendor that you are. No matter what, you have touched our lives and your life force will continue to inspire all of us to be better people.
    With much love and respect,

  37. all my energy positive energy with you. i will take a ride now. concetrate on you. respect and i must say the things you’ve done the last 2 years. i have no words to explain. i am kinda angry i forgot to check your blogs the last years. they are fascinating, strong, sad and happy and very very inspiring…

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