Don't have an account?
Register here to comment on this blog

rss feed

State of the Captain

I have received numerous inquiries on the State of the Captain, so I decided to finally post something.

The Captain has been in better shape, but all hope is not lost.

I had brain surgery on November 11th after two new brain tumors appeared during an MRI. Prior to that, my brain was clear of tumors since I finished intensive radiation and chemotherapy in June of 2009.

Denyse and I traveled to Montréal in late October and I felt noticeably weaker, returned to New York and contacted my doctors who immediately found the two tumors.

The surgery was done with gamma knife surgery, which is a form of intense radiation which allows the surgeons to operate without opening up an incision. It is all done through radioactive hocus pocus and according to the best case analysis is simply an in-patient surgery with a quick recovery. This is not to say there is a guarantee that it works, but there should not be a lengthy recovery.

This has not been my case. My mobility in my right foot and leg have been significant reduced and I have been isolated at home since the surgery. I have great difficulty walking and getting about. My condition is worse than before the surgery.

I also have no idea if the treatment was effective in pushing back my cancerous growths and where exactly the state of my brain cancer is right now. I am taking Avastin intravenously every two weeks. This is a drug that hopefully starves nutrition to the cancerous growths and reduces them. We will spend several weeks in the hope that this works, it it does not we will have to try something else. And then something else.

So, I'm in a state of suspense, where there is a little I can do but hope I recover and beat back the current fight with cancer. I have had a great 18 months since my first tumor was detected and defeated and I hope to do it yet again.

I have the support of the greatest family, friends and business colleagues in America, France, Italy and Portugal and I am thankful for and proud of all of them.

I have a fierce atheist pride in what we all have done and the lives we have lead that gives me the strength to do more....I have the satisfaction that I have done something to help the world, even if it was just to import a unique bottle of wine that someone would have never discovered on their own. I have had a great live from marching for the victory of Viet Cong, to bringing real, natural wines to America, to working with vignerons who have made a difference, raising money for Partners in Health in Haiti, and to sticking out my middle finger to every pompous, reactionary asshole I came across in and out of the wine world.

Fuck them and celebrate humanity!

I am going to be closing up my blog soon and it will send hits to the Louis/Dressner Website. That site is going to be redone, updated and there will be an integrated blog on the site. We are even going to do social media!

We have taken several steps in the last week to strengthen Louis/Dressner. Josefa Concannon, a long time supporter, will be taking on the position of National Sales Manager. Josefa is based in Chicago and will be working with our distributors around the country. We feel we need to provide more support, logistically and organizationally for our customers and Josefa is the perfect person. Plus she runs the marathon!

Additionally, Jules Dressner, a casual relation of Denyse Louis and I, has joined the company on a full time basis and will be working out of the Bay Area in close collaboration with Farm Wines, our distributorship in California. Jules will also be working on written material and be a go between between the vignerons and our American clients.

We are also in the process or rehauling our distribution in several regions and states and hope to see our wines more available around the country....of course within the limits of quantities we receive from our growers. The addition of David Bowler Wines this year in the New York region has been a fabulous development for us as has the growth and stability of Farm Wines in California. Keven Clancy and Jeff Vierra have done a great job with Farm, a company where Louis/Dressner are slight majority owners.

I have to thank my great friends like Donna Siegel, Jeremy Leeds, Vicki Robinson, Michael Wheeler, Robin Sulkes, and Joe Dougherty. Of course, I don't know where I would be without Kevin McKenna, Sheila Doherty and Lee Campbell.

And I'm still around. E-mail, phones, internet and however I can. For the time being my role will be more limited and I can't travel. I am on a witches cauldron of medications, side effects, steroids, anti-steroids and anti-cancer medicines which makes everything taste absolutely horrible to me. Life without good food and good wine is profoundly depressing, today I cried when I ate breakfast (normally I drink a glass of Frappata), but I am not suffering any pain and have all your support.

Hard to ask for more!

I am entering the Rusk Rehabilitation Institute at New York University Hospital tomorrow for a week and I hope this will help me to regain some strength.

Your friend,

Joe Dressner

I'm with you, Joe!

Glad to have been with you here in NYC....

Congrats on the new in 2011....

Beat it back...

We're thinking of you Joe...
I'm with you too, Joe.
Where can we send cards and letters? Social media is so impersonal.

greetings from...


i am glad you..

are an atheist. everyone needs to believe in something.
Good wishes for your recovery.

Joe Dressner - Captain Tumor Man!

Hi, I'm Joe Dressner the famous wine importer and I have brain cancer!

I already have a wine blog and frankly wine is such a luxury business that I hate to mix my cancer problems with my wine observations. I think it would be a general downer for the lifestyle crowd out there.

Furthermore, we in the wine trade always claim there are tremendous health benefits to drinking wine. I've already had cardiovascular bypass surgery over eight years ago and now I got a tumor aggressively rattling in my brain. My colleagues in the glamorous wine industry want me to keep it quiet.

So, I've started this wonderful new blog to discuss wine, brain tumors, my life and to give you hot tips on handling the cancer stricken around you. There will also be practical wine/radiation pairings when I start radiation therapy and chemotherapy next week.

Having brain cancer means I might both physically and intellectually decline. So, I will be using this blog as a venue to pursue petty vendettas against relatives, acquaintances and people in the wine trade.

I might also lose touch with reality and say things that are not true or are only half true. The important thing is to have fun and enjoy this rare and precious time in my life.

One of my pet vendettas is my cousin Dr. Barbara Hirsch. Dr. Barbara Hirsch is a very important Great Neck Endocrinologist, who was raised and nurtured by my parents. Dr. Hirsch waited until my father was near death and my mother was suffering from a rare neuromuscular disorder, to write them a seven page letter denouncing them for being horrible to her for the entirety of her life! Despite my concerns, Dr. Hirsch still refuses to apologize.

Last night, I drank a beautiful bottle of Bourgueil Clos Sénéchal 2005 from Pierre Breton. It was sublime and reminded me that I used to be healthy. Not only that, the vineyard used to be there before I existed. It exists independently of my having cancer and will continue to exist. You ought to buy some.

August 2009 Postscript: Not only does it exist independently of my cancer, it also exists independently of Louis/Dressner Selections. After 18 years, they have dumped us for Kermit Lynch. Oh well. At least I'm alive!