Kidney Cancer Sucks

In late September 2011 at age 35, I encountered a major life changing event – the big C.    It was stage 1 Kidney Cancer (renal cell carcinoma).    In a period of one day, I went from feeling perfectly fine, to ending up in the hospital being told there is something on my kidney.   Absolutely surreal.     In the next several days, I saw many doctors and had quite a few diagnostic scans.    I had a 4cm tumor consistent with malignancy and biopsy wasn’t a choice since that often does more harm than good in your kidney.

On Halloween (kind of weird), I had a partial nephrectomy; ~25% of my left kidney was removed.     I had a surgeon at Johns Hopkins who is considered one of the best.    He completed the surgery using a minimally invasive robotic laparoscopic technique – 5 holes but who is counting?.   When I think back it makes me laugh that they considered it minimally invasive.   It wasn’t pleasant but when the choice is do nothing and eventually die or have surgery, it really doesn’t matter.

Fast forward to the present – I’m cancer free and just need to keep up with periodic monitoring.    That is the awesome news.    The bad news – no one can ever tell you it isn’t coming back.  Frankly, that has been the worst part of this ordeal.      But the more time passes, the more I realize I’m the same guy with the same interests.    Cancer isn’t going to define me.    I have the same great friends and family, but now I appreciate things just a little bit more.     I’ve just happened to experience more emotions than I’ve ever known existed.  

Thanks for the support and stay tuned, I hope to post more in the upcoming months.

Bring your own wine to dinner in Maryland.

I’d love to see this happen, but I really doubt that it will.    The practice is called corkage and is currently legal in restaurants that do NOT have a liquor license.   

The liquor lobby is incredibly strong in Maryland and I can’t see them giving up any control unless they are compelled.  More details here.

Belgian Wit

This brew has been in the works for quite some time.  It is for my neighbor, Dick, who is a pretty zany guy.   When we moved in, I started getting him hooked onto “better” beverages.  It has been both fun and entertaining.

Lately, one of Dick’s favorite beers is Hoegaarden; aka, that refreshing orange-flavored beer.   This was a special batch as he was able to join me for the brew session (#53).   It is really just Jamil’s recipe but I tuned it a little for my system.

Beer Label - Tricky Dicks Belgian Wit

Wine Spectator’s Best Baltimore Restaurants

This article from the Baltimore Business Journal caught my attention.   “Three restaurants — Della Notte Ristorante, the Black Olive and Capital Grille — earned the Best Award of Excellence. The ranking is the second-highest award dished out by Wine Spectato”

Am I the only one who thinks Wine Spectator missed quite a few restaurants with excellent wine lists?    Some of the entries on the overall list are questionable at best.   Just my $.02.

Giving up food for Lent

No, I wouldn’t even think of trying this myself, but this interesting nonetheless.    He is giving up all food and attempting to live solely on beer.   Check out this link for the full story.

"Three hundred or four hundred years ago, a group of Paulaner monks in a Bavarian region had made a stronger beer in a town called Einbeck and they called it bock. The monks started making a stronger beer, a double beer, called doppelbock," Sorensen said. "The story goes the monks would give up eating and literally would drink this ‘liquid bread’ to sustain them through their Lenten fast."

Maryland Wine Shipping Bill Passes

Hooray – some of my civil rights were actually restored today.     Maryland has finally done what 37 states have previously recognized.

It’s clear that this bill isn’t everything that everyone wanted, but it represents progress and I’m glad to take it.       With that said, I still feel that the distributors are entirely too strong in this state.    Short and simple – their lobby killed the effort to be able to buy wine from any retailer.

UPDATE: More info here.