Archive for December, 2011
In the little more than a year since the publication of Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, my book was received an array of acknowledgments and honors. A new one, and one of which I am particularly proud, is EJF’s inclusion in Saveur Magazine’s 100, The New Classics. Check out page 22 of the Jan/Feb 2012 issue. The citation ends, “Whatever topic we’re researching, whether it relates to Jewish food or not, we always find what we’re looking for inside.” Which was precisely my intent. Thanks Saveur.
On Tuesday December 6, I was informed that I have Stage IV lung cancer. The tumors are adenocarcinoma non-small cell. The gene test came back EGFR-positive. (A type not caused by smoking.) Consequently, instead of intravenous chemo, I take a pill once a day, the drug Erlotinib (Tarceva). It has much less serious side effects than intravenous chemo.
I plan to continue working as much as possible. (I already have a host of speaking engagements lined up for February, March, and May.) I also plan to remain as active as possible. (I have walked at least 2 miles a day since leaving the hospital.) And I intend to spend Passover in Israel again.
I want to thank those of you who sent their well-wishes and prayers. It means a lot to me. I need to thank my friends Sheilah Kaufman, Miriam Rubin, Shelley Frier List, and others for all their efforts on my behalf. In particular, I would like to thank the office of my congressman Jerrold Nadler, and especially Ellen Wallach, for helping me with a complication with insurance and an uncaring and unresponsive bureaucracy. Their assistance and reassurance was most welcomed at this problematic time, and restored my faith in government.
You may have noticed that I have been absent from my blog recently and have not been returning phone calls or emails. Well, I’ve been in the hospital for part of that time. On Wednesday November, 16, I went to the emergency room, where they drained more than 2 liters of fluid from my right lung and I was admitted to the hospital. The following night, they drained another 2 liters. Afterwards, they did a cat scan and found a growth on the lung. The result of testing the fluid came back malignant – an adenocarcinoma. And I never smoked. They then did further cat scans, mri, and nuclear bone scan on my abdomen and head to determine if the cancer was localized or spread. I was released a week later, in time to be home for Thanksgiving. They had to wait for some test results to determine the exact protocol. I will be beginning chemotherapy soon. I plan to continue working during this period.