Trust me, I’m a doctor.



Yesterday finally, Hill and Special Ed and I made our way back to the doc.

I spent most of the day in the shop working on the prototype fasst (tight ass) bike.  I’m hustling to get the frame done in time to take it up to Vermont this weekend where Zach and Todd are waiting with parts to hang from it.  My appointment was 3:20, and at 2:59 I was still holding a hot torch brazing on housing tie downs.

I didn’t bother to change clothes.  I decided that if I showed up in my work boots covered in flux it would help send the message that I was far too busy for this shit!  (cancer. treatment.)

Ed had a bit of a mechanical on the way there, and had to peel off to the local bike shop because none of us had a multi tool.  I checked in at the desk at 3:20 on the nose, while Hill finished locking up the bikes.

“Beata, that’s a beautiful name.  Where are you from?”

“Poland..  you say it exactly right..”

Beata walked us down the hall towards an exam room.

“Zaufaj mi, jestem doktorem!”

“Wow!  How do you know Polish?  You say that with no accent!   Are you really a doctor?”

“No.  And it’s the only thing I can say in polish.  Except some swear words.”


My doctor has pretty blue eyes.  Usually there’s a significant portion of white showing above the iris.  He looks as though he’s had a LOT of coffee, but without seeming at all nervous.  Wide eyed, but mysteriously calm.  I’d like to know what he’s taking.

He did the normal updating of my profile.

“Are you still taking the gabapentin?”

“Yes.  2400mg per day.  It seems to be working on the sciatic pain.  At any rate, I notice when I DON’T take it.”

“Good.  Are you taking anything else?”

“I’m sometimes taking clonazepam to insure good sleep.  I’m experimenting with amphetamine to counteract listlessness.  And I’m taking tylenol 3 to help with pain.”

“Bourbon!”  Special Ed chimed in.

“Ok.  Is it working?”

“It seems to be.”

I reported that we had been to another doctor for a second opinion, and that it had been just like his.


“Yup.  with either Avastin or Erbitux.”

“So.  What do you want to do?”

” . .  Nothing at all.”

He didn’t blink or stop smiling.


He needed no explanation and I felt intense relief.

We discussed clinical trials, and the various palliative chemotherapy drugs that I could take.  He made it quite clear that these were things that I could try or not, and could stop at any time if I did try.  He also made it quite clear that I would have to fire him for him to stop being my doctor.  That the decisions were up to me, and that he was there to advise.

I still haven’t found the time or the words to write an essay here about this decision.  Perhaps if my doctor doesn’t need to hear a rationale, then neither do you.  Maybe you already get it.  Or perhaps I can give it to you in pieces.

In general lately, I’m finding that there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Yesterday while I was working in the shop I had a moment of real sadness.  I was working well.  Things were making sense.  I was having no trouble solving fabrication puzzles.  I was enjoying myself.   I was building a beautiful bike.

“Shit.  I’m just getting good at this.”




56 Replies to “Trust me, I’m a doctor.”

  1. i am an older man than you who has dealt with a fraction of what you have and i understand, completely; like you said elsewhere – it is not a fight with winners and losers. it is just something that happens.

  2. I think that “Because” is a sufficient rationale. For me it is anyway. Doesn’t change who you are in my head. Bike builder extraordinaire and general all around badass.

  3. Your decision is your peace and that is all it needs to be for anyone else.
    p.s. I think it would be a great idea if there were a Fast Boy Mardi Gras bike ride/party.

  4. You have touched more people in your life than i imagine 100 people would have done.
    You dont owe anyone an explanation.
    Just because, is perfect!

    My mother at 80 was not ready to go. She had too much left to do. I doubt many of us are ever ready unless we are dealing with depression.

    Whatever time you have left, life it to your fullest………I wish there were something I could say to you or do that would help you, but sadly there isn’t.

    I wish i had known you personally!
    You are a rare one!

  5. i love your stained workshop boots and that you had no time to change them or your work clothes. perfect. many thanks to special ed and hillary and everyone in your life. you are a treasure. thank you for writing. you are dear to my heart and i know to so many others…..can hardly wait for you to ride your bike in the woods!

  6. You don’t owe anyone a rationale, neither is one needed.

    I’ll pray all goes well, no matter which path you choose to take regarding your cancer. You’re a thousand times braver than I’d ever be in face of this situation.

  7. You have better things to do with your time than justify this decision to the rest of us, if that’s what it comes down to. Often, though, the act of explaining helps clarify one’s own thoughts. I won’t be waiting for any essay, though, especially when there’s brazing and riding to do.

  8. Well, there’s all those vampires running around. If you get lucky and one of them bites you, you could build bikes forever! 🙂

  9. You don’t need to explain to anyone. In fact, you’ve justified and confirmed for me that my plan of doing nothing, should such an illness befall me, is the right choice. Why waste your precious time explaining why you’re doing something when you coud be DOING anything else? Live it up, Ezra. Use it all up.

  10. Love that you have no time for this shit!

    As a woman with someone special in her life, I would LOVE to see one post from Hillary’s POV.

  11. Don’t feel obligated to explain anything or justify anything. Only if you want to.

    Live the moment, I’m sure you will be living more intensely one single day than most people will live years of their lives.

    You are an inspiration.

  12. There was a story in WIRED a few months ago on treatments of the future that could remove memories. Didn’t actually sound far fetched at all. I really wish there was a pill you could take that would simply let you forget this shit for a few hours a day. A good friend of mine in college died in a car accident. I keep thinking – what if she’d been told that 8 months or 8 years in advance? I keep trying to picture her navigating condolences while still hanging out at a bar or going to football games. It would have constantly, continually isolated her from us. Not because we were all immortal, but because we had the luxury of not knowing. We don’t know everything about you either, Ezra. I hope you can get lost in this gorgeous bike for long minutes every day. I cannot wait to see this tight ass / FassT Boy in action!! By the way – if I just throw out my tv will I too be able to be a master bike builder, choreographer, chef, photographer, and then in my free time pick up some Polish? Is that how that happens? ‘Cause I mean really…

  13. There is plenty of dignity in living on one’s own terms. Keep building, riding and loving. Maybe you need to get the Faast to Asheville for a test ride? I don’t live down there, and, in fact, have never been, but I was trying to think of good riding this time of year that isn’t under a few inches of crusty ice/snow.

  14. holding thoughts of you even closer to my heart these days. you are such an incredible spirit and force, E, and as others have said — you have touched and continue to touch many. i am but one of those many.

    of course you are getting good at your work … but where you excel the most is at life … inspiring, motivating, moving others by living life as i know no one else does or can.

    much love and strength…

  15. i totally get it. i would have made the same decision myself. nonetheless, i feel gutted about your situation. and i don’t even know you. but i feel as though i know you. from someone who has followed your blog for a few years now…thank you for sharing your life. i love the realism. and the photos. and the food videos. everything. “i will remember you…”

  16. I totally get it.
    I found your blog a couple months ago.
    I was poking around on your Flickr page and found the video of you and Putney rumpassing on your bed. Love it!
    Thank you for sharing your life with us. You are no ordinary man! Your writing, your photos, your bicycles, and your food are incredible. I wish I had the chance to know someone like you! Your friends and family are so blessed! I know you will keep on doing what you do best, living each day to the fullest!

  17. Completely respect your choice and totally understand your feelings of sadness. I’m very sad over all the shit you’ve had to go through these last few years, only to get this bad news. I don’t doubt that there is some fear as well. Even my grandma, when she got close to her death at the age of 101, became frightened and said that she was not ready to go.
    I don’t expect you to share with us every moment of this next year, but I do want to thank you for the full, exuberant, creative, sexy, beautiful life that you have led and shared with so many. I know that you have inspired me numerous times, to do more, to look at things more clearly, to get off my ass. Thank you!

  18. Oh, and I am NOT trying to say goodbye. Just giving you a virtual hug. No goodbyes will be given until and unless they are required. Maybe not even then.

  19. It’s been ages since I checked in, and I’ve never met you, but I wanted to send my love. So: I love you, man. Tons of love. Take care.

  20. Long time reader, first-time poster… I had written plenty of comments in this box only to chicken out and not say anything. I just wanted to say that you’re one of my idols. Bikes and food, two of my favorites. You’re seem to be a wonderful person, passionate about people, and your blog posts are thoughtful and flow well. I hope you continue to be able to enjoy your adventures and I hope that if you’re making dinner you set up a tripod, pour yourself some whiskey, and go crazy. Thank you for living, very few people do and I see you as a shining example.

  21. Your life, your decision. You don’t owe anybody on here a lengthy explanation. Enjoy the time you have with those you love. I feel privileged to have had the benefit of your transparency. Praying for peace.

  22. i like how special ed chimes in with “bourbon”.
    if that was all it took, well. . .
    big to you, fast ez.
    ride that fucker.

  23. For me there is noexplanation needed, why drag shit up ??? Your decision and the support of your nearest and dearest is all that matters.

    On a separate note I coming to NY in Feb, fancy a beer ???

  24. For me there is noexplanation needed, why drag shit up ??? Your decision and the support of your nearest and dearest is all that matters.

    On a separate note I’m coming to NY form the UK for a week in Feb, fancy a beer ???

  25. i don’t know you. i am just an observer here…i get it. no explanation necessary. you just amaze me… in everything you’ve done to this point, and also in this moment.

    i must admit i am sad though & it’s that moment you mention at the end that gets me….. keep on doing what you do so well. i’ll be here reading… looking at photos…

    🙂 …sending much love to you from Chicago.

  26. You are a renaissance man. I hope that when i posted here once before I told you that. I have always thought it. You put beautiful bikes, food, images, films and thoughts out in the world in the most personal ways.
    Thank you.

  27. A poem from one my favorites reads as follows:

    “I have done so little
    For you,
    And you have done so little
    For me,
    That we have good reason
    Never to agree.

    I, however,
    Have such meagre
    Clutching at a
    While you control
    An hour.

    But your hour is
    A stone.

    My moment is
    A flower.”

    – Langston Hughes

    So much of Life and our lives is affected by things we do not control. You face this challenge with such grace.

    It’s painfully beautiful.

  28. “Maybe you already get it.”
    We get it. No further explanation needed – unless its something you feel you need to do.

    Ezra, you don’t know me. I found my way here via a internet bike forum frequented by some of your friends. Like many, I have been touched by your life. Probably doesn’t mean much coming from a complete stranger, but it seems that at a relatively young age you got ‘it’ figured out. “It” being life. Squeezing anything and everything out of ‘it’. There are many people who live to old age (I know many of them, sadly) who haven’t LIVED life to a fraction of the extent you have.

    I wish you the best,

    Matt F

  29. I was directed to your website via Fat Cyclist in December. I started with the first post in 2008 and read your story chronologically to the present. Once I started, I could not stop reading. Having just gone through a 10-year journey of breast cancer with my sister-in-law, your story made me realize how much I didn’t know about her experience. Thank you for sharing your story and helping me to more fully understand hers. For the past few weeks, I stayed away from your website because I did not want to read the post that I “knew” was coming. Yes, we get it. Thoughts and prayers.

  30. Ezra, i have been following in the shadow of my daughters friendship with you.
    I have this quote from Albert Schweitzer lurking in my brain. I pull it out for souls like yours.

    “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

    You have enriched many lifetimes.

  31. ezra, I am one of your many, many silent followers, almost since the beginning.

    it took me some days to dare to write something. your latest news are….well, I have no words for this. thank you for sharing your thoughts. the way you are dealing with cancer is inspiring – and you are obviously not only a bike-builder, a chef, a photographer….but also a writer.

    whatever is going to happen…albert schweitzer said the following: “the only important thing in life are the traces of love that we leave when we have to go unasked and say goodbye.”
    be sure that you are leaving your marks even on complete strangers.

    warmly, sabine

    ps: one print of “Putney and the Injuns” is decorating our flat. she’s such a lovely dog!

  32. Saw a guy wearing a shirt a few years back that read:

    Life is sudden death overtime

    Picked up skis from your brother a few weeks ago, and told him I had met you and your mom in Central Park, two different occasions. It was not a long conversation, and now I know why.
    Peace, Ezra, to you and yours.

  33. Ezra, I’ve been away for awhile and am just catching up. I have a pretty clear understanding of where you are coming from and I know this is a time when platitudes are wildly inappropriate. Sometimes what doesn’t kill you just keeps trying and that is a tough place to find yourself. Only you can decide how to handle this persistent guest.


  34. I’ve long admired your bikes, your photos and your words. Thank you for doing what you do and for sharing it with all of us.

  35. “Shit. I am just getting good at this.”

    Most people never get to say that. About anything.

    I cherish the timeI look at your pictures and read your words.

    A fellow polymath,


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