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More News From MRI on Thursday, January 20th

I had an MRI (or what the French call an IRM) yesterday. I recently developed two new tumors, which popped out during an MRI in early November. I then had brain surgery on November 11th, and I have been on a mix of steroids, anti-convulsion medications, and a whole cocktail of drugs to combat the drugs that I need to take to reinforce the drugs I currently take and used to take and might take in the future, that is if I have a future with all these drugs and my cancer.

Basically, I have sat at home for the past two months and will be missing my winter trip to France for the first time in twenty years. I have lost a great deal of mobility and can't get around. I have been waiting to see if the surgery worked and where my cancer is taking me.

Over the past six weeks I have started a treatment called Avastin. I am intravenously fed Avastim every two weeks in the hopes this will be a miracle anti-cancer drug. Of course, I have not been optimistic because my body ain't up to snuff. Food tastes bad, wine is difficult and I'm an unhappy guy.

I have been waiting for a new MRI to see if the surgery and the Avastin are anything more than a waste of time and the nation's health budget. Perhaps I am best suited for one the Sarah Palin legendary death squads?

I had the MRI yesterday. I see two oncologists, one for cancer and one for radiation (although I am never sure who does what but they both seem fabulously competent).

Anyhow, both Dr. Narayana and Dr. Gruber at the NYU Cancer Center were astounded by the MRI. They both said that if they didn't know my history they would have taken the MRI results as totally normal, with no traces of tumors or cancer activity. That the results were remarkable!

Today, I was contacted to see if I might be interested in a reality TV show -- The Real Brain Cancer Victims of Sutton Place!

In other words, some good news! I cannot tell you all how thrilled I am!

Of course it has to stay like this. In the next week, while half of America is in France is at the Dive Bouteille, my doctors will be consulting to change my treatment. They might want to just leave me on Avastin over the next few months and progressively lift all the other treatments. Avastin is a tiring drug, but it might be that I am currently being overtreated and subject to unnecessary exhaustion.

So there you go....

Thanks for all your concern.

And remember not to pray for me or wish me a quick recovery.

Denyse will be away for two weeks and I would appreciate any visits, help and encouragement.

Except from you.



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 SÚnÚchal 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!