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AlBlue’s Blog

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One year later ...

2009

The last year has been a bit of a tumultuous one, and it's time to take stock of my surroundings and figure out how things have gone on. Looking back a year ago, a lot of things have changed. Credit crunch sounded more like a breakfast cereal; the App Store was a glint in Steve's eye (and he was back at work then, too), and Lehman Brothers still existed. Heck, even Gmail was still in beta. For me, I was getting on with my life until I was diagnosed wtih Leukaemia, which was a bit of a breeze block on the road of life.

At the time, not knowing was probably the most difficult part. In fact, the suspicion that something was wrong was easy to arrive at, with multiple tests and cores taken out of me; actually getting to the diagnosis was therefore a bit of a relief. And the type (hairy cell) is one of the better ones to be diagnosed with.

The immediate consequence of the treatment (rebooting my immune system through chemotherapy) was the development of a fever, which hospitalised me for a couple of weeks (although they did let me out for the afternoon for Sam's birthday). Thereafter, it was a case of repeated blood transfusions (and a major fill-up before heading up to my brother's wedding) and generally feeling quite weak and run-down, before returning to work (electronically) for the Lehman's crash clean-up — although I didn't physically return to work until December.

Whilst I've been relatively normal this year, I think the biggest change has been psychological. For one thing, I'm starting to become a hypochondriac (verging on OCD), although like all paranoiacs, I know that they're coming to get me :-) Getting back onto the road of life has been a bit of a challenge. For one thing, my energy levels have been slowly sliding over the last couple of years. At first, I thought it was due to old(ish) age but looking back on it, I can probably finger the disease as the cause of fatigue.

My energy levels rebounded after treatment, but they're probably not where they once were; so my extra-curricular activities (writing for InfoQ, work on ObjectivEClipse etc.) are going forward at a slower pace than they used to. But I'm also asking myself the question of why I'm doing this — and sometimes I'm not sure. I guess priorities change in life, and as life goes on you naturally drift towards, and away from, things that you used to do.

I'm also missing a certain verve or joie de vivre. I suspect everyone gets this from time to time, especially after returning from holiday, but I hope it's a temporary thing and that it will return eventually. Having a great family and enjoying in Sam and Holly's laughter is certainly medicine for the soul.

And lastly, I wouldn't have been able to do this without the support of friends, family, and the support of my ever-loving wife Amy. She's really been the glue that's held everything together over the last few years, and although our family has gone through hard times, we're still very much a tight unit.