Aloha, friends and family. It’s been a while since my last personal update. I’ll get into my big news in a moment but first a little update on my health.
As noted in a previous blog posted by Jennifer, I underwent emergency surgery in mid-December due to a ruptured colon. I spent ten days in the hospital and came out with a colostomy bag, which we’re still getting used to. The colostomy bag has actually made our lives easier, which is sort of ironic.
During my stay at the hospital, due to the nature of my surgery and the fact that I already have a gastrostomy tube (a.k.a., g-tube), I was also put on tube feeding.
Since then, I completed a barium swallow test and was cleared to resume eating by mouth without risk of aspiration, but we have decided to stay on tube feeding. The switch to formula also ensures that I’m getting the proper amount of nutrition and helps me to maintain my weight.
In fact, for the first time since my diagnosis, I’ve actually put on weight which is actually a good thing for anyone living with ALS. I will also continue to eat small amounts of food by mouth for comfort and pleasure. The other day I was craving a Taco Bell burrito, which I enjoyed thoroughly.
My primary physician was able to prescribe a hospital bed, which arrived just a few days after the order was placed. The hospital bed will make it easier for Jennifer and my other caregiver to have better access to me and to provide better comfort for me.
Now for the big announcement. After almost 40 years of my broadcast career, I informed my board in January of my decision to step down as president and general manager of the stations. While my mind remains sharp and my heart is still passionate about my work, my ALS progression has impacted my body in such a way that it is becoming more difficult to maintain my energy levels to effectively do my work. I had promised my board when my diagnosis was made, that I would provide a six-month notice so that we have a smooth transition between me and my successor.
ALS has now not just robbed me of my physical abilities but of my dream career. I thought I would be in radio and at HPR until my retirement age. I will be stepping down from my dream job and career on July 31 of this year. Click here to read the press release and to read my letter to our donors.
My life will change in a dramatic way after July 31, as I will be giving up my compensation in exchange for disability payments, which will not cover all of our expenses. Jennifer and I will be working on plans to ensure we are able to meet our financial obligations while still maintaining my care.
My spirit has been lifted by the many notes, emails, and cards I have received from our donors and listeners. I have been lucky to have worked in the field that was my dream as his young child growing up in Puerto Rico listening to scratchy AM radio. Many of my high school friends always remember me as the teen club DJ, which was the launching pad for my continued interest in you radio career.
We will continue to keep everyone posted on any further developments. Oh, and we have a new dog in our lives. Jennifer rescued Coco, who is the most gentle and chill dog ever. She has even ridden with me to my office.
Thank you again for your continued love and support. Jennifer and I are grateful for your friendship and love.