Goodbye to all that

So as we come to the end of 2019 I found myself back here, mainly because I’m in the process of winding up Wirewool Limited (my freelancing company) and with that comes the fun and games of unpicking all of the hosting / websites / domain name registration / email that I’d been running for a number of customers for up to 8 years.

One of the sites was this one, and that meant I was shutting down where it had been hosted so it needed moving.

The moving part was easy enough, (seriously how hard can it be to move a WordPress site). but then I had a look at when I had last posted, and what I had in the last couple of years posted about. There is a lot missing and a lot has changed. Some better, some just different, here’s a vague recap of what our hero has been up to….

So starting with the obvious, why shut down Wirewool?

Well since April 2018 I’ve been gainfully employed by Amazon Web Services as a Solution Architect, sure I could earn more as a freelancer, but only when working, and only if I have work. One of the things that I found with freelancing was that it was very much feast and famine. Also the idea of freedom of work doesn’t apply when you have bills to pay, kids to feed and a house to pay for. I managed to keep it going for 8 years and when a decent offer came along (in fact I had a couple of offers at the same) I took the one that felt like it would be the best for me long term. So far it’s worked out well and now it’s time to shut down Wirewool and remove something that is costing me money to run having finally gone through and tracked down all of the services I’m / Wirewool is using. (Note: something I should’ve done a long time ago, 20:20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.)

Ooh working for Amazon, gosh!

Yep, gone from a one man band to the largest company I’ve ever worked for (and will probably ever work for). It’s certainly interesting, but it’s also pretty awesome. I mean there is the basic stuff you get when you go back to working for someone, like paid holiday and sickness which is cool, and monthly pay (still freak out towards the end of each month as the account drains down) but also private healthcare (more of why this is good later). Training and education are massively important, I work with loads of awesome people to help customers, I’m enjoying presenting, helping to educate groups of people (ex-forces transitioning into a career in IT and also Princes Trust “kids”) on cloud, playing with DeepRacer and showing how it can help with learning AI / ML, helping to organise Meetups, and just well everything. I even enjoyed going to Vegas in December 2019 for re:Invent (and I hate Las Vegas). I even get to do some code hacking every now and then and have access to the best cloud toy box on the planet.

Introducing Brian

Everyone gets baggage that they carry around after a time, just I managed to name mine.

So I’d been feeling rubbish for a number of years, couldn’t shift the weight that I had gained over time, more than just “getting old”, couldn’t really train without taking days to recover (even after a slow 5km run / walk I’d need 3-4 days for my legs to start working again). I’d been to the doctor 6 years or so ago and said “this isn’t right” and they said what do you think it might be “well worst case, a brain tumor” said I and oh how we laughed….

….right until the point where I tried again with the doctors early last year. This time around I was taken more seriously and sent off for a load of blood tests which revealed I had 0 testosterone. Back to the doctors to discuss the result and the possible causes and it was time to test out the private health care I now had access to (see earlier note on private health care and the joys of working for a large company) More bloods revealed I had a prolactin level of 116290 (normal is below 500) and this was high enough that the day after I’d given the blood to be tested the consultant was called by the vampires who were slightly alarmed by the results. So something was wrong. An Ultrasound revealed nothing out of the ordinary with my testicles (one of the possible causes of 0 testosterone) however an MRI scan revealed I had a benign brain tumor that a) I christened “Brian” and b) that it was a macroprolactinoma approx 28mm in size.

No one wants to hear the phrase “brain tumor” when talking about their health but some reassurance from my consultant and some digging around showed it was easily sorted (well probably) and here take these drugs which have some “interesting” potential side effects (never read the side effects leaflets or google for “side effects of drug I am taking”)

So in the first three months of taking the drugs the prolactin levels were back down near normal, I was losing weight and able to train, aside from a few incidents with a black dog (which I haven’t named) I’d say it’s all pretty good, some members of the family may have a different view, and a couple of work colleagues thought I was suffering from a terrible hangover a few times as my body adjusted to the drugs. Anyhew since starting on the drugs I’ve lost 18 kilos in weight, taken 10 minutes or so off my half marathon PB and have managed to get my Parkrun PB to 23 minutes 13 seconds.