Gratz on the new gig

I recently started a new job as Head of Engineering at a patient-centric health-focused startup.

From a friend:

Subject: Gratz on the new gig!

I was recently diagnosed with heart failure so I’m eager to see efforts like Clara Health get some traction 🙂 Good job Terry! JP

Thank you! I’m lucky to work here.

I saw a posting by you on Facebook about a month ago (I rarely log in). I’m sorry to hear. 🙁 I didn’t want to write because I know the struggles we have are personal, but do know that there are people like me silently rooting for you.

If it helps, my mom lived with heart failure — or the threat of heart failure — my entire life, and then some. She got strep throat when she was a little girl and the doctors in Seoul at the time were too incompetent to diagnose it. It became rheumatic fever and her valves calcified.

Later, as a professor in biophysics, she devoted her entire life to studying the heart circuit. (I even co-wrote a couple papers with her about drug effects on re-entrant arrhythmia.) Through that she became one of the first proponents of supercomputing, and what we now call the internet. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette once wrote an article “At the Heart of the Matter” about her heart condition inspired her to use the newly built Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center to fight that which would one day kill her and others like her. My brother has always had a copy of that article in his office which he looks at to inspire him, when he is feeling lazy, as a professor in economics at Brown.

At the time the only treatment for her condition was open heart surgery to do mitral valve replacement, which they had to resort to just before I entered high school. The second one, happening after the first valve transplant finally failed when I was in graduate school, ended up taking her life one year later. As primitive as heart treatments were, it allowed her to live long enough to have two children and watch them grow up when they told her she would not be able to bear children. Her birthday was last week. On that day, her brother, my uncle, wrote…

Happy birthday to my old (no! 1-year younger) sis, whose primary objective for taking a class at the U of Utah was not to learn from the teacher but find & excel/destroy her competitor in the class. I was also a victim taking an anthropology class together, but thanks to her, as her being the 1st and me the second. So, our teacher secretly told us after the class that we didn’t have to take the final as we two already were way way ahead of the other classmates. I miss her now that recent progresses in medicine made a heart valve replacement using a stent (instead of an open heart surgery), taking less than an hour. – from her bro

I hope this story will inspire you to rage, rage against that dying of the light and fight on. I have high hopes because you never know what the world has planned for us. If my mom settled with what the world told her, I would not be here today.

Broken Jewel: A short flash talk of my eulogy to mom

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