Hail the Phagocytic Laborers

After a few days in the hospital and being fed immune-building soups and snacks by my #1 nurse my immune system came back online yesterday morning (neutrophil count up above 1300 from 490) and I was release on my on recognizance. sleeperMy friend Dov and his daughter Riley graciously gave me a ride home around noon and it felt so good to be back with the animals, the trees and our own bed. The staff at Putnam Hospital were really friendly and very observant of reverse isolation protocols and Katie Rose stayed with me every night in one of those chair-beds (i think there is a market for consumer versions of these deals…) but there is no place like home.

I have been reading a bit about these neutrophils and they are kind of fascinating. The make up about 60% of our white blood cells and are the marines of the immune system. They can move fast to problem areas and can deploy any one of three techniques to deal with invaders: 1) they can simply eat them with a move called phagocytosis (one neutrophil can chow scores of bacteria) 2) they deploy antibiotics in the form of protein-packed granules or 3) they can shoot out these web-like forms of DNA that trap and kill the bad guys! Hats off on this labor day to the billions of these guys working 24/7 in all of us to keep the constant barrage of bugs at bay. Here’s one chasing down a bacterium and eating it like an errant pistachio:
KR cooked a yummy homecoming meal of salmon, quinoa, and roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and snow peas from the garden. Who knew eating so healthy could also be so tasty? I’m feeling as good and clear-headed as I have had in a while, I think even before the chemo. I look forward to this week of recovery and building strength for the next cycle of chemo starting on 9/9. Continued thanks for all of the support and kind words – I apologize if I haven’t written back yet, I will soon.

P.S. If you are interested in going a little further into CancerLand here are two great finds my friend Jeni sent to me:

  • the BrainChancery – a blog written by a fella named Chad with a tough form of brain cancer that I find inspiring and hilarious
  • Finding Poetry In Cancer – NY Times article exploring the therapeutic  use of poetry for cancer patients with some very touching examples.

P.P.S I updated the medical info page with some data and charts of blood work from the past couple weeks which we will update as data comes in. Here’s a sample – this is the neutrophil count:



  1. Hold on. Keep the flight. Let sun, nature, God’s world surround you. Sending vibes to you both each day.

  2. Randy Fairbanks says:

    Glad to hear that you’re back at home and your neutrophil count going up! (The video was pretty spectacular, by the way…) Stay strong and enjoy the weekend! Thinking of you…

  3. Steve Yacoub says:

    You’re in our thoughts and prayers Jay!! I’m happy to see your good spirits and your courageous demeanor! Keep on fighting, well see you soon!

  4. Amazing stuff. The whole lot! Jay, you are missed and we look forward to your speedy recovery. Seems all is going well so far, and that makes me happy :-) … keep it up!

  5. Sharon Friedman says:

    I so like following your heroic journey. Helping me recover from my surgery.

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. Theresa Ryan says:

    Happy to get continuing progress reports. Yeah for healing soups made by caring friends/family. xot

  7. patty giesecke says:

    And I say……”Go Nancy Neut’s” !! Super job keeping the rest of the gang in good form.
    Love from the Giesecke’s

  8. karen erickson says:

    The scare of cancer is floating off a bit by your de-mystifying it. Also, your remarkable appreciation of the labors of your body. I am in awe. love, mom

  9. Cate ODwyer says:

    Three cheers for being in your own bed! So so glad to hear it.

    Sent from my iPad

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