|By Jeremy Geelan||
|February 14, 2013 07:00 AM EST||
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 (
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.
(Flashback to March 11, 2011)
When building large, cloud-based applications that operate at a high scale, it’s important to maintain a high availability and resilience to failures. In order to do that, you must be tolerant of failures, even in light of failures in other areas of your application. “Fly two mistakes high” is an old adage in the radio control airplane hobby. It means, fly high enough so that if you make a mistake, you can continue flying with room to still make mistakes. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:45 PM EST
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 189
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 12, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 423
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
Feb. 12, 2016 03:00 PM EST
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Feb. 12, 2016 02:15 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 12, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 447
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 12, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 226
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Feb. 12, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 261
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 12, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 106
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizonta...
Feb. 12, 2016 11:45 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 12, 2016 11:45 AM EST Reads: 451
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
Feb. 12, 2016 11:45 AM EST
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
Feb. 12, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 300
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 12, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 140
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Feb. 12, 2016 10:00 AM EST Reads: 132
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Feb. 12, 2016 09:30 AM EST Reads: 217
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
Feb. 12, 2016 09:00 AM EST
The cloud competition for database hosts is fierce. How do you evaluate a cloud provider for your database platform? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Chris Presley, a Solutions Architect at Pythian, will give users a checklist of considerations when choosing a provider. Chris Presley is a Solutions Architect at Pythian. He loves order – making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion w...
Feb. 12, 2016 08:00 AM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 12, 2016 06:00 AM EST Reads: 253
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Feb. 12, 2016 05:45 AM EST Reads: 462