Back in The Saddle Again (sort of)   February 17th, 2012

So, after entering the hospital via the emergency room on Tuesday, February 7th, via the emergency room to wait for an in patient bed, I had been out of hospital since Valentine’s Day. Interestingly my hospital stay diagnosis listed my condition as “failure to thrive” (which is a condition typically associated with infants and small children). In my case, the problem was that despite the best efforts of my wife I was unable to get myself to consume food, and thus not getting enough nutrition. How ironic that a foodie like me ( could almost die of starvation? And part of the reason for that was the swelling of the brain tumors that formed after my brain radiation in December. It’s definitely good to be back in my own space after being in the hospital, the private room I had was very nice, but not very restful. I am now under the daily visitation of a nurse from the hospital to make sure that my various statistics and vitals stay within range. One of the things that has gotten me back on board again was the consumption of a broad spectrum steroid to reduce the swelling in the brain, and one of the side effects is an increased appetite.

One of the things that I learned while I was in the hospital, was that a personal hero of mine Mike duGruy, had died in a tragic helicopter crash. Mike and I and Linda had spent hours at past conferences, discussing his exploits, like his being in the middle of a swarm of killer whales beaching themselves to capture seals, when he realized he was also wearing black neoprene, looking like a big seal himself, and Mike’s incredible cephalopod video footage, has been an inspiration. It was an honor to have known him – more about Mike can be found here: and


A Little Better Each Day   February 10th, 2012

From Linda…
Still in the hospital and doing better, Jake’s energy level has improved. He ate some food at each meal and even requested something for me to bring to him for breakfast tomorrow morning. He has also asked for us to make a Dim Sum take-out run to Chinatown; positive interest in food is a good sign. His strength is improving as well. He was tested by the PT folks on his level of coordination combined with strength. At this point in his recovery, they determined that he requires 24 hour supervision and the huge differences in our sizes – 1 foot in height and 70 pounds in weight – makes this too difficult for me to handle alone which again is another reason for remaining in the hospital for now. The PT folks at MGH will continue to work with Jake in the hospital getting him more mobile and confident as his energy and strength return.

We also spoke to Dr. Flaherty and we are still a go on Jake’s second dose of Ipi scheduled for next week.


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Quick Update   February 8th, 2012

From Linda…

We have met with Dr Flaherty as well as Dr Curry today (and it felt like a half dozen other drs). Currently, brain surgery is off the table.

Jake is doing better and has regained some strength. He did eat some today which is much better than the last several days. They are still trying to figure out the reason for the low blood levels. A scan of his abdomen showed no problems there.

The kids came over to visit for an hour or two and both remarked how much better he looked and how more responsive he was than just yesterday. Of course, it probably helped Jake to get their hugs as well :-)

I read your posts and emails to Jake today as well. Thanks for the encouragement and support.


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Jake in the hospital   February 7th, 2012

From Linda…

Jake had been feeling dizzy, weak, and fatigued last week. Over the weekend, it became a big problem and we began a fast and furious email conversation with all his doctors at MGH. They decided to push his brain MRI to Monday morning to see if anything there was causing problems. This morning we had an in-person consult with the radiation oncologist, Dr. Oh. He saw some minimal changes on the scans but wasn’t expecting the ipi to have done much at just 1.5 weeks in any case. He did take notice of Jake’s weakened condition and decided to admit him to the hospital to get him started on various medications to help with his energy level, his non-existent appetite (my major frustration and concern), and get further consults from the brain surgeon that we had met with in January.

So Jake and I spent much of the day waiting in the ER until finally getting admitted to the hospital about 5pm today. Jake was in the ER so they could start the hydrating IVs and medications as well as doing lots of tests rather than waiting for a room.

Jake is in the good hands of the Lunder 9 staff at MGH. So far we know he was dehydrated and had low red blood levels enough to get some whole blood units which he is getting right now. Tomorrow, we should be meeting with the doctor about possible brain surgery.

Jake also wanted to let everyone know that he decided to withdrawal from his classes since he felt unable to concentrate well and was having problems typing.




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