Welcome!

Big Data Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jnan Dash, Esmeralda Swartz, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, XML, Wireless, .NET, Open Source, Virtualization, Search, Web 2.0, Big Data Journal

Cloud Expo: Blog Feed Post

A Very Strange Valentine's Day Anniversary...

I was told something on Feb 14 2011 that, had I not found it out till Christmas Day, might have had a very different outcome

Today it is exactly two years since the weirdest Valentine's Day I have ever experienced, or indeed hope ever to experience again.

February 14, 2011, in short, is etched into my diary and my brain as the day when I was diagnosed out of the blue with pancreatic cancer.

They say one should always be grateful for what one has. Accordingly, the appropriate emotion ought perhaps to have been a feeling that I was incredibly and wonderfully lucky, because I was not dead. After all, St. Valentine died on the the 14th of February, on the Via Flaminia in the north of Rome. Hence Valentine's Day. Whereas there was I, alive and well, being told by a doctor in Sarajevo's famous Koševo Hospital a huge complex of buildings on a hill in north Sarajevo that a malignant tumor on the head of my pancreas was what had caused me to turn, from head to toe, yellow.

Many people, so late are they diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, are dead within three months: my good fortune (for that is truly what it was) was to be told something on Valentine's Day that, had I not found it out till Christmas Day, might have had a very different outcome.

I have
written briefly elsewhere about how very soon afterwards I was wheeled in to an OR at the Copenhagen University Hospital for Whipple surgery, the radical procedure in which, as one fellow pancreatic survivor recently expressed it, "Everything around the pancreas that can be removed, cut, whacked, chopped, is." That operation, simply put, saved my life. It involved the removal of parts of four organs and the reconstruction of my digestive tract and was followed up by chemotherapy that lasted seven looooooong months.

But two years on, here I am. I have out-lived Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, who had the exact same surgery though the pathology of his pancreatic cancer was somewhat different.

Unlike Jobs, but in common with Patrick Swayze, Joan Crawford, Margaret Mead and Luciano Pavarotti, who all sadly lost their lives to it, my Valentine's Day diagnosis was that I was suffering from the more common form of pancreatic cancer called adenocarcinoma. The bad news about exocrine tumors like pancreatic adenocarcinoma is that they tend to be more aggressive than neuroendocrine tumors, the kind that Jobs had. The good  news though is that if caught early enough they can be treated effectively with surgery. In other words, they can be resected, cut out. "All" that the patient needs is the good fortune to be diagnosed before the cancer has spread beyond such organs as can safely be resected.

I had just such good fortune, and the rest is history as is half of my pancreas, all of my gall bladder, all of my duodenum (the first section of the small intestine), a goodly portion of my common bile duct, and the distal or lowest third of my stomach.

Since the overall five-year survival rate for pancreatic adenocarcinoma is less than 5%, being one of the lucky few who can have it operated into oblivion is an incredible gift. Whipple surgery is reckoned, by the Copenhagen University Hospital (Rigshospitalet) in which I had the operation, to increase the 5-year survival rate from 5% to 40%...which is an astonishing improvement in the odds. I was very happy to agree to it: I quite fancied still being alive and kicking in 2016!

After the Whipple surgery, being told that your tumor has been successfully removed, and that all of the many surrounding lymph nodes also removed during the operation have tested negative for any spread of cancer, is a deeply uplifting experience. Having to undergo the physically brutal elective self-poisoning we call chemotherapy was somewhat less uplifting, but "belt and suspenders" was the approach of my team of Danish oncologists. With four children, a wife, two cats and a dog, why run the risk of the surgeons having missed a few sub-microsocopic cancer cells?

Cytotoxins are nothing if not effective: besides, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" right?

That is all I am willing to say about chemotherapy. Fast forward thirteen months beyond the end of that chemo, and you get to today. Pancreatic cancer survivors aren't especially numerous, for reasons that CNN spells out quite succinctly here, but that only makes it more important that we lucky ones speak out and, hopefully, embolden others to do the same.

As well as saving it, Whipple surgery also changes your life, since is rearranges your innards in ways that boggle the mind when you see it spelt out in words. Digestion of entire meals is no longer an option, but a world of snacks is better than no world at all. Because my pancreas was my digestive system's main enzyme-producing organ, my aim in "Year Three" must be once and for all to master the nutritional and digestive complications of no longer having sufficient enzymes. I've not quite figured it out, not yet.

This two-year milestone seems as good a time as any to share one or two images do please let me know if you think it's true what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words.

So far so good: the Whipple Surgery is complete.
(Flashback to March 11, 2011)

 

Oops, this isn't quite how anyone was hoping the surgical incision
would look ten days later, but in the end it healed just fine

 

Back in the SYS-CON.TV studio, Times Square, just three
months after the Whipple surgery. Studio makeup is a wonderful thing!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@BigDataExpo Stories
“We help people build clusters, in the classical sense of the cluster. We help people put a full stack on top of every single one of those machines. We do the full bare metal install," explained Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, John Meza, Product Engineer at Esri, showed how Esri products hook into Hadoop cluster to allow you to do spatial analysis on the spatial data within your cluster, and he demonstrated rendering from a data center with ArcGIS Pro, a new product that has a brand new rendering engine.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your onlin...
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore's Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at Big Data Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, disc...
Software Defined Storage provides many benefits for customers including agility, flexibility, faster adoption of new technology and cost effectiveness. However, for IT organizations it can be challenging and complex to build your Enterprise Grade Storage from software. In his session at Cloud Expo, Paul Turner, CMO at Cloudian, looked at the new Original Design Manufacturer (ODM) market and how it is changing the storage world. Now Software Defined Storage companies can build Enterprise grade ...
Can the spatial component of your Big Data be harnessed and visualized, adding another dimension of power and analytics to your data? In his session at Big Data Expo®, John Meza, Product Engineer and Performance Engineering Team Lead at Esri, discussed the spatial queries that can be used within the Hadoop ecosystem and their integration with GeoSpatial applications. The GIS Tools for Hadoop project was also discussed and its implementation to discover location-based patterns and relationships...
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the tec...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
Amazon, Google and Facebook are household names in part because of their mastery of Big Data. But what about organizations without billions of dollars to spend on Big Data tools - how can they extract value from their data? In his session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Ali Ghodsi, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering at Databricks, discussed how the zero management cost and scalability of the cloud is addressing the challenges and pain points that data engineers face when working with Big Data. He also s...
We’re no longer looking to the future for the IoT wave. It’s no longer a distant dream but a reality that has arrived. It’s now time to make sure the industry is in alignment to meet the IoT growing pains – cooperate and collaborate as well as innovate. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine the key ingredients to IoT success and identify solutions to challenges the industry is facing. The deep industry expertise be...
DevOps means different things to different people. Qubell defines DevOps as the ability for the developer teams to do what they need to do to have this level of self-service. At DevOps Summit, Stan Klimoff, CTO of Qubell, demos the enterprise DevOps platform.
SYS-CON Events announced today that that Innodisk, the service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets an...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Eighty-five percent of companies store information in some sort of unstructured manner. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Fronczak, Product Manager at Solgenia, discussed their enterprise content management solution, which was created to help companies organize and take control of their digital assets.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

Midway through the decade, the experts from Veeva Systems – a leader in cloud-based software for the global life sciences industry – look at what’s on the horizon over the next five years. Their forecasts are informed by a vision for what’s next in technology and insight gleaned from Veeva’s 200+ life sciences customers worldwide. Overall, these predictions reflect how new innovations will enable faster time to market, evolving commercial models, and new ways to support physicians and patients. ...