DENVER — A cancer patient nicknamed the Steel Bull got his death sentence on a gloomy March Wednesday in 2015.
He was 47, his given name Jason Greenstein, but he had earned the moniker from his oncologist for his stubborn will during more than four years of brutal chemotherapy and radiation treatment — all of which had failed.
That Wednesday, March 4, his left side bulged with 15 pounds of tumor, doubling in size every few weeks. Lumps of Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells swelled in his lungs, making it hard to breathe, impinging a nerve and nearly paralyzing his left hand. Yet Mr. Greenstein, ever the optimist, was not prepared for his doctor’s frank words when he displayed his latest symptom: tumors along his right jawline, the first spread of cancer to that side.
The oncologist, Dr. Mark Brunvand, said he excused himself to the hallway to gather his emotions. When he returned a moment later, he looked Mr. Greenstein in the eye.
“You are going to die,” he remembers saying. “And because you’re my friend, it’s my job to make you as comfortable as possible.” Behind the doctor stood Mr. Greenstein’s case manager, Poppy Beethe, crying.