fresh out of bed

Hillary and got out of the city for the weekend.  We spent a few days with My Sam, Emily, and Caroline up in Maine.  Visited with my very best friend from College, Kim, husband Jon and brand new baby Maxwell, and did some advanced snuggling with their great dane puppy, smudge.

Fish chowder.  Oysters.  Mussels.  Beef shin ragu.  Lobster quiche.

It was horrible.

During the weekend Hill and I had a good chunk of time to talk about my health, and options.  We are both currently leaning hard away from doing anything at all.

I know I’ve just said a mouthful.

We’re not trying to make a decision as much as we’re trying to let one emerge.  As we think through the reality of the possible paths it’s hard to imagine signing up willingly for the misery of treatment in the face of lousy odds.  I have a lot to say about this.  I don’t quite have it well enough gathered in my head to write it down at the moment.

Besides.  It’s my birthday.  I’m 309.

More soon.

71 Replies to “309”

  1. I’m sitting here in my 4th grade classroom with kids about to walk back in and I’m on the verge of tears. I have no words. Just know you are in my thoughts. I can’t even begin to imagine being faced with such a decision.

  2. Was in Harlem last week and stopped by to say hello with no answer at the door (or your neighbors basement) Keeping you in my thoughts

  3. Ezra, Kim and I are following your journey and thinking of you daily. By embracing the present, I hope the path that brings you the most peace emerges.

  4. If I could I would give you your health back as a birthday present. So would everyone here. As it is, all I can give is my respect.

    Much love.


  5. well, since it’s your birthday I think that some good food and great company is in order!
    for what it’s worth, I think that the right answer will come to you.

  6. The decision not to pursue treatment can be the hardest and bravest decision a person can make. I have been following you from very early on in your diagnosis and I feel as if I know you and Hill. I tend to check your blog in the mornings and have spent my commute to work in tears on many occasions but I also feel that I have shared in your joys as well. Whatever decision you reach together will be the right one. Sending thoughts of comfort, love and friendship your way.

  7. was the hardest gulp i’ve taken in my life. reading that paragraph. i have the utmost respect for you and hill. letting it emerge. watching and moving. not moving. more watching. some conversation. some quiet. happy birthday ezra. so glad you had a nice weekend in the countryside. big thoughts with you today. love, m.

  8. The very best of birthdays to you my friend. I know you and Hillary will come to the right decision – thinking of you both.

  9. Happy Birthday – and you may be the smartest guy I know.

    “Fish chowder. Oysters. Mussels. Beef shin ragu. Lobster quiche.”

    NOW that’s living!

  10. Happy birthday my fellow Sagittarius! My birthday was two days ago. 🙂 You know, I’ve been following your story for such a long time and it’s so hard to process what’s happening. Sending so much love to you, Hill, your family and friends….

  11. What is there to say? I don’t really know you personally, just from your blog. I do know that I have the highest respect for you. And Hill. And I know that whatever you decide to do, a lot of people will stand with you. Birthday it up, know that we are holding you in our thoughts…

  12. Good evening,
    I’ve been following your Flickr photostream for a few years now (fantastic photography) and more recently your cancer blog. I’ve wanted to say something since you posted your “IV” photograph but I’ve just been lost for words, I can’t think of anything to say from the comfort of my chair that doesn’t sound trite or banal. But to hell with it, it’s better said……I’m staggered that you’re able to articulate all of this with such clarity and apparent grace. I’m sure that it’s an appalling whirlwind for you right now but I’m equally sure that your warmth and generosity over the years mean there are very many of us who’re deeply moved by your revelation. Good luck with your emerging decision. You have my respect! Best wishes from North Yorkshire,

  13. I’m sure the correct answer will come to you, and all your decisions will be correct, always, happy birthday, only 309 years!! soon will be mine, but now I raise my glass for you both. Big hug

  14. Happy Birthday to the lovely person who taught me a lot and made me the dancer I am today! You are always in my thoughts and I know you will make the best decision for both you and Hill. Cx

  15. I don’t have any words right now. I can’t wrap my head around this so I can’t even imagine how you and your loved ones are managing. A bittersweet happy birthday. Big Love.

  16. Happy Birthday, Ezra. At 309, you are a very wise man indeed. Though I’ve never met you, I’ve been thinking of you lots lately. Sending love and light from VT.

  17. Happy Birthday from a fellow Sagittarian! And all my up-front support for whatever path you choose. I hope good thoughts of a total stranger help in some small way.

  18. Love you, Ez. You know it already, but just to say again my thoughts are never far from you and Hill. You’ll land on what’s right, or stumble into and fall on it. Whatever comes you have shown more grace in this struggle then I could ever imagine possible. We all wait to hear what comes next and no matter what everyone on this end will continue to hold you in love and light.

  19. I’ve followed your blog quietly for years. Your spirit, love for VT (I’m from Bratt), love for life, love for dogs, awesome photos, and ability to experience love and humor in spite of this disease have kept me a cyber fan. Plus I’ve learned how to cook some cool stuff.

    I lost my bro to the same 2 years ago, and have held your journey especially close since then. My heart aches for you and your family, and hope you find peace in whatever decision you make. Happy Birthday. I hope you have done something that filled you with joy.

  20. I am sitting here crying out loud for you, for the cruelness of life and reality as I am terribly scared of death. There are no words, just trying not to go insane whilst living or breathing with the knowledge that actually life is pretty ridiculous and cynical. You are brave and as for me I couldn’t make any kind of decision, I would not be strong enough. But not you. You’re brave and strong and full of love and a wonderful person and good. You’re so good, so so so so SO GOOD. I am sorry, as my words might not be encouraging but pessimistic and fearful but this is what I feel. I feel scared and I shouldn’t as I am not the one to make such a big decision. But you have the most caring people in your life, I am sure. Again, you’re a good person and I admire you.

  21. wow. you are the man, fast boy. i wish so hard for you and your lady to come out the other side of all this. so so hard i wish.

    happy birthday.

    i got monks in thailand doin’ pujas on your behalf.

  22. Happy Birthday, Ezra, I wish I were able to express myself even one quarter as well as you do…Your eloquence and grace through this whole ordeal, has been nothing short of amazing…I am visualizing your tumors shrinking and dying, whether or not you choose medical treatment…A friend of mine sent me a can of something called Paulks Pride. Purple Power, muscadine skin powder..It supposedly can deter tumors…It worked for her husband’s prostate cancer…I can tell you that it tastes like something “out of the bag” wink wink..You take it in juice twice a day…I can’t really vouch for it..I’m just one year clean since surgery..Can’t say cured til you’ve made it 5 years..but what the heck, it couldn’t hurt, right?..I could tell you to make the most of each day, but it sounds like you have been doing that anyway…Take care, You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

  23. Hi Ezra,

    Been following your stream for a few years (found it looking at Xtras). I’ve enjoyed a few of your recipes, ogled your bikes, and read nearly all you’ve written. You’re a good man. My thoughts are with you. Happy birthday.


  24. “advanced snuggling” ? I guess it must be better quality snuggling than your much more common intermediate level snuggling huh.

    I think we have all seen situations where in hindsight to have taken the no chemo option would have been the wisest choice. But it would be a very rare time when that decision was easy to take. I doubt that anyone with the relevant personal experience will offer advice here ( i been wrong before ) and i for sure have no worthy advice to offer. So what to say then….fuck.

    Maybe we all see things in you that we wish we had, the way you seem to live and experience and enjoy and create and Love and be Loved. I cant explain why I, who lives in a totally different global hemisphere, and only see’s your photo’s and reads your words feel the way that i do. Ok so i have lusted for a Redhead and metal lathe of my own for a long time but why in the last few weeks have i wanted to learn how to make bike frames and why do i think about Brazing at least once a day. You are without trying, inspirational.

    Whatever decisions you make and for as long as you can i hope that you continue living and experiencing, creating and Loving as you have so far and as I wish i was too.


  25. Happy 309th Birthday! Mine is tomorrow…I’ll be 33.

    I feel like, were I in your shoes, I would feel the same way about another round of treatment. Why not get the absolute most out of the time that remains? Have as many days like your weekend as possible. But who can say. What I know is that I admire your sense of self, your courage, your honesty. I sense the life that flows strong in you even under these fucked up circumstances. Thank you for sharing with us. My thoughts are with you.

  26. Happy Birthday! Mine was a week ago and its definitely a good time of the year to celebrate. Love to hear about your get-away and the way you’re approaching the decisions and challenges in front of you. As per usual, you seem to be doing exactly the right thing with a grace and elegance that eludes most of us, ever. Lots of love to you and yours on the auspicious occasion of your 309th. You, sir, are a fantastic man.


  28. Sometimes there are no good choices, there are just really bad choices and somewhat bad choices. You make the least crap decision you can. There are no words, there is just respect and a hope that this can be as gentle as such a thing possibly can be. Hugs for you, for Hill and for all those around you. In the end, you will still be you and that is a great and wonderful thing.

    Fuck cancer. You’re Ezra.

  29. A little late but Happy Birthday! Hope you are enjoying birthdays and holidays. Sending love from Mike, Sylvia, Josie and me. We think of you everyday and Syl even keeps you in her nightly good wishes.

  30. Sending lots of love and more love–you have so much of it already from so many people but I figure a little more can’t hurt. I hope as you wait for this decision to make its way to you, that both your mind and body can have as much peace as possible. And a continuation of your current diet of snuggles, joy, good eats, and loving people.

  31. Good man! The way you’re thinking about this thing – shows the bravery that I hope I would have, if put into your position. I’m just one more person that totally supports your right to not let cancer scare you into some miserable wreck of a life. This post made me think that, in your heart of hearts, you’re still saying “Fuck cancer”.

  32. hmmmm……can i be so bold to buck the trend here? your doctor is right, it is a no brainer. of course my opinion means nothing to you as it shouldn’t. my perspective shaded by being the father of three, one child of which who has already endured chemo. and so much senseless loss as of late in the world. tooth and nail. i would never take, and believe me when i say i understand the absurdity of the word, easier(more enjoyable?) route. my mother in law was given worse odds then you. lung cancer. 9 years later she is still here, an oddity yes. written about in journals, but still here. she wanted to see her grandkids grow up. tooth and nail. what have you to lose but everything? i’ve said enough and hope not to sound callous or trite, i figure who wants honesty more then someone in your position? we, my family and i love you, for your raw talent in seemingly everything you touch, for your bikes, food, photographs, poise and brutal honesty. we have you in our thoughts and send you much love no matter what you choose.

  33. Happy Birthday! Happy Solstice! Happiest of Holidays! You inspire! Your courage to define how you will live your life is so courageous and honest. May you find your peace and your path and know that you have made an amazing difference in this world! Lots of Love!

  34. ezra, I don’t get a vote.

    If I did, with the qualification that my lovely young wife Eileen recently passed away from breast cancer (I’ve seen some shit these past few months that no one should see), I would say to please don’t stop just yet.

    I’ve followed you over years since your diagnosis (and before) and I know that treatment was never a kind friend to you. The perspective that I can offer from this side of the shit is that if you continue to treat, you will know when it makes clear sense to stop. Far be it for me to say a goddamn thing here, but; you aren’t there yet. When I look back on Eileen and my lives together, I can say that moments matter. Every moment that she wasn’t laid up in hospice was a gift….sometimes rough, but sometimes things were dialed in and we had “life”. Hospice was absolutely fucked up and I regret a whole lot about that decision.

    Either way; you Sir are amazing, and you and your amazing wife and family are in my heart.

    fuck cancer.

  35. My husband and I have been a fan of your for a couple of years now. We send you love, light and wish you peace and happiness through out all that you are faced with. We thank you for your generosity, courage and the most of all the inspiration. You have inspired my husband in his struggle with pain. We are profoundly grateful. Happy birthday, dear Ezra. Power to you and Hil.

  36. Hi Ezra. I read these posts, I want to say something, but don’t know what to say. I’ve followed your Flickr from way back, lived vicariously through all the beautiful things in your life. You inspired me to build my own bike, which I did (a 7 speed Frankenbike) and now I know as much about bike parts than just about anyone working in a bike store. Yet your craft and expertise is way, way beyond what I would ever hope to accomplish. I’m glad to hear you’ve been mountain biking. Thank you for making your life in all its detail and ups and downs open to us. We all should probably be more that way.

  37. Ezra, I read your blog a lot, to check in with you and wish you well. I can not say anything more then UGH, my heart aches. whatever you decide will be right, but you know that already. I loved taking your class for that reason. It was to the point, poetic,and beautiful just like you.

  38. Happy Belated B-Day! I hope the fresh Maine Air filled you. I have always know you to be a man that is rich in life. I don’t know that there is a right answer, just a path to travel. May the love carry you where you need to go.

    As a tear rolls down, the base of me says “This SUCKS”

    I wipe it away. Take a deep breath. Back to the present. You & Hill PRESENTLY!!!

    Cause I’m a Hip Hop kid. Like Heavy D. “I got, noting but love for ya, Baby”


  39. This – right here – is why it’s so unbelievably brave of you to put your innermost thoughts at such a precarious time out there for anyone to read. I marvel at it. I’m stunned by it. I’m so thankful for it. I will repeat what others have said – I don’t get a vote – but I have one question that’s been nagging me: The statistics are shit and that’s fucking maddening, but are there more precise stats for people your age? I vaguely remember a post from years ago where your doc was delighted you were so young and vibrant because that meant you could withstand outrageous doses of chemo. Ultimately, that was obviously not curative, but there was time. Does your vigor and health, except for the cancer, set you far apart from the usually much older colon cancer patients from which these treatment stats are culled? I say this because I a have been struck – for days now – by the photo from the morning of your 309th birthday. I swear to god you don’t look a day over 19. I’d imagine the choices you’re weighing are along the lines of – if you do nothing, you’re guaranteed a few months of good health. Guaranteed. You can make lists and plans. If you opt for treatment, you’d have to start immediately, things could go badly, and you might lose out on even the few months of time where you’d feel well enough to do anything. I cannot begin to imagine… I know the treatments have not been curative. But you have withstood the treatments. Every time – there was a brief reprieve after treatment. I’ve read all of you Ezra:) I’ve read about the depression and things cancer-associated that sometimes scare you more than cancer. I’m not saying “fight” – I’m not saying that. But you are certainly not the typical colon cancer patient. Not by about 30 years. I hate going by stats from a pool a patients so different from you. It’s midnight here in Austin and I’m up wrapping presents. Please don’t think that because it’s the holidays that all of us out here want to forget about cancer and all these awful choices for a while. Concentrated time with people you care about only makes you think more about people you care about. Even those you’ve never met:) I’m sure we’d all love to hear from you whenever you have something to say… Happy Holidays (All of You)

  40. I liked what you had to say earlier about dancing instead of fighting. Both come with their bumps and bruises. I fancy to think that becoming well-practiced in any activity lies greatly within your ability to endure.

    “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
    James 1:2-4

    You’re in my heart, Ezra, and whether you like it or not, I don’t think you’ll be finding your way out of it. God bless you and your girls.

  41. hey, i’ve followed your situation on and off for a while, and am a great admirer of your work, and it hurts to see you and your family faced with these decisions. as an observer, a stranger, and an opinion, i’d say you’ve had an immensely successful life. cheers to you and yours, happy belated birthday, and may you find comfort and happiness in whatever you decide.

  42. At some point I had to make the decision to go to palliative care, and then to hospice. But when I had to make that decision, I had to do it on my wife’s behalf, because her cancer had spread into her brain so far that she couldn’t participate in the choices anymore.

    By making this decision now, while it’s still yours to make, you are giving an invaluable gift to those you love: the knowledge that they are doing what you want. That they are helping you the way you want to be helped.

    You are absolutely positively doing the right thing. I admire your clarity of thought.

  43. i wish i could argue with you . i feel i don’t have the right. i don’t know what you had to endure.
    just know that you are loved,and admired . for being the beautifull person that you are, for being able to see beauty over and over again in the simplest things, for being able to create so much. for your strength. for the life choices that you make.
    i wish i could give you the strength and hope that you’ve given me so many times when i needed it. with your photos and words, making me remember, that life can be good, having faith that it is in me, that it will be . it is so much . and i wish i could give you that.

    i hope you wake up tommorw and see things differently .

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