I spent 4 days in Hadassah Hospital at the end of May and beginning of June, much of the time with a tube inserted into my lung and also receiving for the first time the chemo Taxol. Last Saturday, I could barely drag myself out of bed. I was more than glad to be released from the hospital last Sunday night. But for much of this past week, I had no energy and felt poorly. Understandable, considering the circumstances. I had to reluctantly cancel two speaking engagements in the US in June, as I simply lacked the strength. I’ve been extremely fortunate for a year and a half since being diagnosed with lung cancer and being on chemo at being able to lead an active, relatively normal life. No one at any of my speaking engagements, who were not clued in, had any idea of my medical situation. Then a month or so ago, I started deteriorating. Now I was wondering if my energy would remain low. Then suddenly, this Shabbat morning, my energy was back. It was like a weight was lifted. I could enjoy Shabbat lunch. I made Kiddush without one cough or wheeze. I even went on a 35-minute walk Saturday afternoon. (A little occasional huffing and puffing, but I decided not to overdo it the first time back out.) What the future holds, I have no idea. But for the moment, I’m back (most of the way). I don’t think I’ll be booking too many speaking appearances in the future, as it would be unfair to have to cancel at the last minute if another incident comes up. Although I have always informed potential speaking requests about my situation, my energy or the need to cancel was never a problem before. I plan to fulfill, if my health holds up, scheduled appearances in August and December. But if I agree to any future engagements, I will need to emphasize the precariousness of the situation. I do plan to continue writing, including my new American Cakes column in The History Kitchen. And I’m meeting with an Israeli publisher after I return in August to discuss the publication of two manuscripts. Thanks everyone for your prayers and good thoughts.
The Saga Continues – Last Monday, I was in the emergency room at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem having more than a liter of fluid drained from my right lung. (This was the 1st instance in nearly 2 years of fluid accumulation.) Although x-rays from that evening showed more fluid in my lung, the emergency room doctors decided to send me home. This week, after working a delicate dance with my oncologist (who I really like), my health insurance, and various other elements, I am scheduled (sort of) around 9 am tomorrow (Thursday May 30) to enter the oncology ward at Hadassah to have the rest of the fluid drained. I could end up spending the night and may even be in for a new chemotherapy. Surprises galore await Although having someone stick a large needle in my back and working out the liquid for an hour or more was not necessarily the way I wanted to spend my birthday (who says the cosmos has no sense of humor and irony?), I am actually grateful for the procedure and hope to get back (no pun intended) to normal (whatever normal may be).
Meanwhile starting tomorrow (Thursday May 30), please read my new monthly column on American Cakes in The History Kitchen (much, much success, Tori Avey, you deserve it) http://thehistorykitchen.com/. The first column is the history of strawberry shortcake with great pics (dare I say, mouthwatering) by Louise Mellor.
I spent the holiday of Shavuot this year primarily in bed. I won’t go into details but it did entail a lot of coughing and fatigue. Then on Sunday May 19 I began to be short of breath. It was an experience I had once before, in November 2011, which led to my right lung being drained in the Roosevelt Hospital emergency room. On Tuesday December 6, 2011, 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.) I have the most common type of mutation L858R exon 21. Starting December 20, 2011, I have taken a pill once a day, the drug Erlotinib (Tarceva), which initially cleared up much of the lung.
So on Monday, I went to the clinic in Efrat, the doctor did an x-ray, and there was indeed fluid in the lung. I went home and packed a bag (just in case), and checked into the emergency room at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. The doctors removed more than a litre of pleural effusion from my right lung. This was the first return of any fluid since I was initially drained in Roosevelt Hospital in November 2011.
The doctors let me go home Tuesday about 1:30 am and I felt poorly yesterday. Today, Wednesday, so far I feel better, but I still don’t have much of an appetite. (Which actually is a problem for a foodie.) Meanwhile, I had my latest CT-scan at Hadassah Hospital on Sunday May 12 and the results showed a little growth in the right lung, which would be suspected by the return of the pleural effusion. I have a Monday meeting with my Israeli oncologist, Professor Hovav Nechustan, of whom I think very highly, and he will discuss his recommendations, and probably a new drug.
And to make matters worse – a neighbor recently learned the flute and practices the same song all afternoon long. I am beginning to dislike the flute.
Yesterday, I asked my 4-year old Israeli great-niece: “Which chag [holiday] is coming up?” She replied: “Chag Yerushalayim.” I was thinking of Shavuot on May 14-15, but she was right (as usual), Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) is next up on the calendar beginning at sundown on Tuesday May 7. I actually can remember when Jerusalem was divided and the Jordanians kept us away from the Old City. I can recall looking through barbed wire to catch a glimpse in the distance of the walls of the Old City. There were armed Jordanian guards at the Mandelbaum Gate and patrolling the open sectors, who would occasionally raise their weapons to mock us. It wasn’t “the good old days” before 1967 and the misnamed “occupation.” I can also remember back then the terrorist intrusions killing Jews, warnings not to touch packages left in public areas (especially toys aimed for little kids), rockets regularly landing in Kiryat Shemonah (their red glare at night) from across the Lebanese border, and, of course, they were boycotting Israel. And yet Judea and Samaria were Judenfrei. It had then and has now nothing to do with “the occupation” or “the settlements.” Netanyahu was right with his recent statement: “The conflict is not about territory. But rather the Arab’s refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland.” Too many of us might take for granted now the right to visit and touch the Western Wall or tour the ancient Jewish ruins in Eir David. But it wasn’t so long ago that we were denied those basic freedoms. Happy Yom Yerushalayim!
The business of writing books today does not end with publication. At that point, authors must consistently and vigorously promote their product. (Buy my books, please! Give them as gifts! Ok, that’s today’s promotion.) In this vein, I do various public appearances, including scholar-in-residencies, cooking demos, and lectures. Even when I’m not the star attraction, I need to keep in mind promoting (tactfully) my books. Fortunately, most of these occasions entail food. (I know, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.) So when I recently attended a special event with Art Smith, American chef (owner of 5 restaurants, Oprah’s former personal chef, and a really nice guy), as part of the American Embassy and American Consulate General in Israel, at Eucalyptus Restaurant in Jerusalem, along with owner Moshe Basson and members of Chefs for Peace (including Jewish, Muslim, and Christian chefs), I schlepped copies of two of my books, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food (man, is it heavy) and Olive Trees and Honey. Having actual books also helps explain to people what I do. Whenever I started chatting with someone, I whipped out the books (those interested I also informed could purchase them in Jerusalem at Pomerantz bookstore). After the event, I was introduced to Hilary Olsin-Windecker, Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs at the US embassy. I duly showed her the tomes and was startled to receive the response: “I own that book [Olive Trees and Honey]. It’s great. Now I know who you are.” If I might take a moment to kvell (Yiddish “to be delighted”) , I thoroughly enjoyed the situation. Everybody needs a little ego-stroking once in a while. And nothing strokes an author more than hearing that someone actually possesses and appreciates their work.
Here are my directions for kreplach entailing a classic egg noodle dough. If you’re in a hurry, use Chinese egg roll wrappers. Read about the history and cultural significance in Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.
Kreplach (Filled Pasta Triangles)
(About 60 dumplings)
Egg Pasta/Egg Noodle Dough
(About 1 pound/450 grams dough)
About 2¼ cups (540 ml/11.25 ounces/320 grams) all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached, or “00” flour, or a combination, measured by dip-and-sweep
3 large (5.25 ounces/150 grams) eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt (optional)
1. Sift the flour onto a pasta board (a board gives more control while incorporating the ingredients) or other flat surface (preferably wooden but not marble) and make a well in the center. Place the eggs and optional salt in the well.
2. Using the tips of your fingers or tines of a fork, lightly beat the eggs. Gradually work the flour into the eggs, always working from the sides of the flour (without breaking the walls which lets the eggs seep out) to prevent sticking, to make a firm dough that holds together (about 3 minutes).
3. Bring any remaining flour over the egg mixture to cover it and form the dough into a ball. Sift any excess flour, discarding any clumps.
4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5 to 10 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. (If the chilled dough becomes too firm to work, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.)
TO MAKE NOODLE DOUGH IN A FOOD PROCESSOR
1. In the bowl fitted with a metal blade, pulse the flour and salt.
2. With the machine on, add the eggs through the feed tube and process until the dough forms a soft ball that cleans the sides of the bowl (about 30 seconds). If the dough is too sticky, blend in a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time; if too dry, add a little water, ½ teaspoon at a time.
3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
(About 2 cups/480 ml)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil or schmaltz
1 pound (455 grams/2 cups/480 ml) ground beef
1 small yellow onion, minced (½ cup/120 ml/2 ounces/60 grams)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup (60 ml) chopped parsley or basil (optional)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
Ground black pepper
1 large egg
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, onion, and garlic and sauté until the meat loses its pink coloring. Drain off the fat. Add the seasonings. Let cool. Stir in the egg.
Substitute 2 cups (500 ml) ground cooked roast beef for the raw ground beef and add the onion sautéed in the oil until soft.
Liver Filling: Substitute 1 pound (455 grams) chopped broiled liver for the ground beef.
Curried Beef Filling: Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) curry powder, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce, and 1½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) granulated sugar.
Chicken Filling/Turkey Filling
(About 2½ cups/600 ml)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive or vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, minced (½ cup/120 ml/2 ounces/60 grams)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound (455 grams/2 cups/480 ml) ground chicken or turkey
1 large egg white or yolk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) salt
¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground black pepper
¼ to ½ cup (60 to 120 ml) plain fresh bread crumbs (optional)
6 to 7 fresh sage leaves, chopped (optional)
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft (5 to 10 minutes). Add the chicken and sauté until the color changes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let cool.
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Don’t make it too thin or the filling will come through. Cut into 3-inch squares. Place about 2 teaspoons (10 ml) desired filling in the center of each square.
2. Brush the edges with egg white and fold over to form triangle, pressing the edges together over the filling, pressing out any air. Pinch the edges or press with the tines of a fork to seal. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let stand for 1 hour. (After forming, kreplach can be placed on baking sheets, frozen and stored in plastic bags in freezer. Do not thaw the frozen kreplach but add an extra 5 minutes to cooking time.)
3. In several batches, drop the kreplach in a large pot of boiling salted water. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally with a spoon to prevent sticking, until the kreplach rise to the surface and are tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes).
4. Remove with slotted spoon and drain. If desired, serve in soup, fry, or top with butter, sugar, sour cream or fruit sauce. If desired, add sweet kreplach to bread crumb topping.
Fried Kreplach: Fry the cooked kreplach in hot oil until golden (2 to 3 minutes) and drain on paper towels.
Fruit Kreplach: Use about 2 cups (480 ml) preserves or berries for filling. If the fruit filling is runny, stir in a little bread crumbs.
Varenikis (Ashkenazic Filled Pasta Rounds): Cut pasta into rounds instead of squares. These are usually filled with a fruit or sweet cheese filling. (NOTE – In some communities, varenikis refers to fruit-filled half-moons made from 3-inch pasta rounds.)
Bread Crumb Topping:
¼ cup (½ stick/2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter or olive oil
½ cup (120 ml) fresh bread crumbs
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bread crumbs and stir until lightly browned. Stir in the sugar and remove from the heat.
2. Roll the hot cooked cheese kreplach in the bread crumbs. Fry, stirring, until the crumbs are browned (4 to 5 minutes).
Part of my work is putting puzzle pieces together to figure out the history of various foods. In my next book, American Cakes, a history of America through its cakes, I have been searching for a particular book for my entry for carrot cake. Most sources contend that the first record of carrot cake was in The 20th Century Bride’s Cook Book by a woman’s club from Wichita, Kansas (1929). (Many ‘expert’ sources for other cakes have proven very wrong.) And I have found records for carrot cake dating back to 1897, although they are German-style tortes made with ground almonds and potato starch and without flour and lightened with beaten eggs. (You know the type from Passover.) But still, The 20th Century Bride’s Cook Book could be the earliest record for a chemically-leavened flour-based carrot cake. For years, I was unable to view a copy of 20th Century Bride’s Cook Book or even a copy of the recipe to verify this. I know this might sound trivial (or obsessive), but I try to be as accurate and comprehensive as possible. Finally two weeks ago, I spotted an admittedly worn copy of the elusive book on AbeBooks for only $10 plus $3 for shipping. Since I’m currently in Israel, I had it shipped to my sister in Brooklyn. It arrived and I can at last confirm the missing link – it is the earliest carrot cake I can verify containing baking soda and flour, integral for modern carrot cakes (but no oil or eggs, those show up in the 1960s). Without leavening, it is just a pudding. (You’ll have to wait for the publication of American Cakes to see the entire history of carrot cake and hundreds of other cakes.) I don’t know what people did before the internet. (Yes, I know, they actually had to go to libraries and book stores and search book by book and page by page, and the internet makes it so much easier.) Thank you, Google.
How many have you tried?
(Check out Encyclopedia of Jewish Food for information and insights.)
Do you have other suggestions?
1. Agristada (Sephardic Egg-Lemon Sauce)
2. Ajlouk (Tunisian Vegetable Relish)
3. Ajvar (Balkan Roasted Pepper and Eggplant Relish)
4. Almodrote (Sephardic Eggplant and Cheese Casserole)
5. Aloo Makalla (Calcutta Fried Whole Potatoes)
6. Ambah (Pickled Unripe Mango)
7. Aranygaluska (Hungarian “Golden Dumpling” Cinnamon Coffee Cake)
8. Aufschnitz (German Cold Cuts)
9. Baba Ghanouj (Middle Eastern Mashed Eggplant Salad)
10. Babka (Chocolate or Cinnamon)
11. Bachsh (Bukharan Green Rice)
12. Bagels and Lox
16. Borekas (Pastry Turnover)
18. Boyo (Sephardic Cheese Pastries)
19. Brik (Tunisian Potato-filled Pastry)
20. Brinza/Bryndza (Creamy Feta Cheese)
22. Budino (Italian Pudding)
23. Bulema (Sephardic Cheese Coil)
24. Burag (Iraqi Filled Phyllo Square)
25. Cabbage, Stuffed
27. Carrot Cake
28. Challah (Egg or Water)
29. Charoset (Apple, Date, or Others)
31. Chelou (Persian Crusty Rice)
32. Chicken Soup
33. Cholent or Hamin (Sabbath Stew)
34. Choucroute Garnie
35. Chrain (Horseradish)
36. Chremslach (Ashkenazic Matzah Pancakes)
37. Corned Beef
38. Couscous (and/or Israeli Couscous, which is different)
39. Delkel (Hungarian Buns)
40. Dimlama (Bukharan Vegetable and Fruit Stew)
41. Dobostorte (Seven Layer Cake)
42. Dolma (Middle Eastern Stuffed Vegetables)
43. Edjeh (Middle Eastern Omelets)
44. Egg Cream
46. Faludeh (Persian Rice Noodle Sorbet)
48. Fatoot (Yemenite Meat Soup with Bread)
49. Fesenjan (Persian Chicken with Pomegranates and Walnuts)
50. Fidellos (Sephardic Noodles)
53. Fritada (Sephardic Egg Casserole)
54. Ful Medames (Egyptian Slow-Simmered Fava Beans)
55. Gefilte Fish
56. Gevina Levana (Israeli White Cheese)
57. Ghondi (Iraqi Dumplings)
58. Gogel Mogel (Ashkenazic Raw Egg Drink)
59. Grape Leaves, Stuffed
60. Gribenes (Ashkenazic Cracklings)
61. Gruenkern (German Green Wheat)
62. Gundi (Persian Dumplings)
63. Hadgi Badah (Iraqi Cardamom-Almond Cookies)
64. Halavah (Sesame, Semolina, or Indian Carrot)
66. Haminados (Sephardic Roasted Eggs)
67. Harira (Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup)
68. Harisa (Middle Eastern Sabbath Porridge)
69. Helzel (Ashkenazic Stuffed Necks)
70. Herring (Pickled or otherwise)
71. Hilbeh (Yemenite Fenugreek Relish)
72. H’raimi (Libyan Spicy Fish)
74. Injera (Ethiopian Flat Bread)
75. Jachnun (Yemenite Flaky Rolls)
76. Kaak (Middle Eastern Pastry Rings)
77. Kadayif (Middle Eastern Shredded Wheat Pastry)
78. Kakosh (Hungarian Chocolate Roll)
79. Karnatzlach (Romanian Beef Patties)
80. Kasha Varnishkes (Ashkenazic Buckwheat Groats with Noodles)
81. Kebab (Middle Eastern Ground Meat Patties)
82. Kefte (Sephardic Patties)
83. Khachapuri (Georgian Filled Bread)
84. Khboz (Moroccan Anise Bread)
85. Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)
86. Khoresh (Persian Stews)
87. Kibbeh (Middle Eastern Fried Filled Torpedoes)
88. Kichel (Ashkenazic Egg Cookies)
89. Kimochdun (Afghanistan Fruit-and-Nut Flatbread)
90. Kindli (Central European Filled Yeast Pastries)
91. Kishke (Ashkenazic Stuffed Derma)
92. Knedliky (Czech Dumplings)
94. Kolach (Czech Filled Yeast Cakes)
95. Kreplach (Eastern European Filled Pasta)
96. Krupnik (Polish Barley Soup)
97. Kubaneh (Yemenite Sabbath Bread)
98. Kubbeh (Iraqi and Kurdish Filled Dumplings)
99. Kuchen (Ashkenazic Cakes)
100. Kugel (Ashkenazic Baked Puddings, including Noodle, Potato, and Rice)
101. Kugelhopf (Alsatian Yeast Cake)
102. Kuku (Persian Omelet)
103. Labaneh/Labni (Middle Eastern Yogurt Cheese)
104. Lablabi (Tunisian Chickpea Soup)
105. Laffa (Iraqi Flat Bread)
106. Lagman (Bukharan Lamb, Vegetable, and Noodle Soup)
107. Lahmajin (Syrian Open-Faced Meat Pies)
108. Lahuh (Yemenite Pancake Bread)
109. Latke (Ashkenazic Pancake, notably potato)
110. Lavash (Caucasian Flat Bread)
112. Lekach (Ashkenazic Honey Cake)
113. Lekvar (Ashkenazic Fruit Butter)
114. Ma’amoul (Middle Eastern Filled Cookies)
116. Mafrum (Libyan Eggplant “Sandwiches”)
117. Mahmoosa (Calcutta Scrambled Eggs with Potatoes)
118. Makosh (Hungarian Poppy Seed Roll)
119. Malabi (Israeli Cornstarch Pudding)
120. Malai (Romanian Corn Bread)
121. Malida (Bombay Sweet Rice Flakes)
122. Mamaliga (Romanian Cornmeal Mush)
123. Mandelbrot (Ashkenazic Almond Bread)
124. Mandlen (Ashkenazic Soup Nuts)
125. Manti (Bukharan Steamed Filled Pasta)
126. Marmorkuchen (German Spice Marble Cake)
127. Matbucha (Moroccan Cooked Tomato and Pepper Salad)
129. Matza Balls
130. Matza Brie (or Matza Kugel, Matza Pizza, etc.)
131. Melawah (Yemenite Flaky Bread)
132. Melokhia (Egyptian Green Soup)
133. Me’orav Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Mixed Grill)
134. Mina (Sephardic Pie)
135. M’kuli (Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives)
136. Mufleta (Moroccan Yeast Pancakes)
137. Muhammara (Syrian Red Bell Pepper Relish)
138. Mujaddara (Middle Eastern Rice and Lentils)
139. Palacsinta (Hungarian Crepes)
140. Paprikás (Hungarian Paprika Stew)
141. Pastida (Double-Crust Pie)
142. Pastelle (Sephardic Miniature Pie)
143. Pastilla (Moroccan “Pigeon” Pie)
145. Patsas (Greek Foot Soup)
146. Pepitada (Greek Melon Seed ‘Milk’)
147. Peshkado Frito (Sephardic Pan-Fried Fish Fillets)
148. Pickles (Full and Half Sours)
149. Pirogen (Polish Potato-Filled Pasta)
151. Pkhali (Georgian Vegetable Pâté)
152. Pletzl (Ashkenazic Flat Bread)
153. Plov (Bukharan Rice Pilaf)
154. Pogácsa (Hungarian Scone)
155. Potatonik (Polish Potato Kugel Bread)
156. P’tcha (Ashkenazic Calf’s Foot Gelatin)
158. Rahat Lokum (Turkish Delight)
159. Raricha (Moroccan Unbaked Flourless Coconut Cookies)
160. Regel (Yemenite Foot Soup)
161. Rosl (Ashkenazic Fermented Beets)
162. Rugelach (Ashkenazic Cookie Crescents)
163. Rye Bread
164. Sabich (Iraqi Eggplant Sandwich)
165. Sachlav (Orchid root Beverage)
166. Salade Russe (Russian Cooked Vegetable Salad)
167. Salami (Italian Goose, but Beef is acceptable)
168. Sambusak (Middle Eastern Turnovers)
169. Samsa (Bukharan Fried Turnovers)
170. Satsivi (Georgian Poached Poultry in Walnut Sauce)
171. Schav (Eastern European Sorrel Soup)
173. Schnecken (German Cinnamon Rolls)
175. S’chug (Yemenite Chili Paste)
176. Shakshuka (Israeli Tomato Stew with Eggs)
177. Shawarma (Middle Eastern Roast Lamb)
178. Shlishkes (Hungarian Potato Dumplings)
179. Sponge Cake
181. Sufganiyah (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts)
182. Sutlach (Middle Eastern Rice Flour Pudding)
183. Tabbouleh (Lebanese Parsley and Bulgur Salad)
184. Tabyett (Iraqi Chicken and Rice)
185. Tagine (Moroccan Stew)
186. Taramasalata (Greek Fish Roe Dip)
187. Tarator (Turkish Yogurt and Cucumber Salad)
188. Teiglach (Ashkenazic Honey Dough Balls)
189. Tishpishti (Middle Eastern Semolina Cake)
190. Topfenknodel (Austrian Cheese Dumpling)
191. Travados (Middle Eastern Pastry Horns)
192. Turshi (Middle Eastern Pickles)
193. Tzimmes (Ashkenazic Sweetened Stewed Root Vegetables)
194. Wot (Ethiopian Stew)
195. Za’atar (Middle Eastern Hyssop)
196. Zaban (Moroccan Nougat)
197. Zalabiya (Middle Eastern Funnel Cake)
198. Zemel/Zeml (Central European Split Rolls)
199. Zimtkuchen (Alsatian Cinnamon Cookies)
200. Zwetschgenkuchen (German Plum Tart)
It has been a rough couple of months. I began taking Tarceva on Tuesday December 20, once a day, and I have been experiencing some of the common side effects, including fatigue, upset stomach, skin sensitivity, and a rash. I understand that the rash is a sign that the drug is actually working, so I can’t complain too much. I have checked with a variety of top lung doctors, including Sloan Kettering and Dana Farber, and they are all in consensus that my present course, taking Tarceva for as long as it is effective, is the preferable one for my condition. Every person reacts differently. This is not a curative therapy, however. Many people eventually develop resistance to this drug. Hopefully by that time there will be alternatives to Tarceva.
On March 7, the doctors did a ct scan to check my lung in detail to compare with a previous ct scans of 11/17/2011 and 11/22/2011. The results revealed some shrinkage:
“Chest: The previously identified 16 x 15 mm lobulated, speculated mass in the posterior subapical right upper lobe has decreased in size, now measuring approximately 8 x 9 mm (image 21) at its most prominent point. Additionally, the superior portion of this lobulated mass, which previously measured approximately 19 x 7 mm, has also decreased in size and now measures approximately 14 x 7 mm. The previously described subpleural/pleural nodules prominent in the right major and minor fissures have also regressed significantly, and now appear as subtle faint lines. The previously noted 2 mm subpleural nodule in the peripheral right middle lobe has also regressed to a small linear area, which now likely represents an area of scarring.
There is a small, residual right pleural effusion. There is also a small calcified granuloma in the peripheral right lower lobe. The previously described 11 x 11 mm right extrapleural nodule seen at the level of T4/T5, lateral to the neural foramen, is again identified not significantly changed from the prior study. The other multiple, small nodule in the extrapleural fat are less apparent and linear, and likely represent small vascular structures.
Impression: Interval decrease in size of the lobulated, spiculated posterior subapical right upper lobe mass from approximately 16 x 15 mm to 8 x 9 mm.
Interval regression of right subpleural and pleural fissural nodules.
Small right pleural effusion
No significant change in 11 x 11 mm nodule in the right extrapleural fat. As described previously, this may represent metastatic disease versus a neural sheath tumor/schwannoma.”
Hopefully, the next ct scan will reveal further shrinkage.
Meanwhile, I have been rather busy with speaking engagements and working on my next book. I will be heading for Israel on March 20 for a month, then it’s on to Limmud Philadelphia at the end of April and a rather busy speaking schedule in May and June. And, of course, more Tarceva.
Again, I would like to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers on my behalf.
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.