#vExpert,  VMUG

Time to start 2019 blogging… wait, hang on its APRIL!?!?

So I thought at long last I would do a post as life has started to settle down for 2019 despite my best efforts to get some posts out! I was a little sad to see so little and already quite a way through the year! But I had to focus on me and the family for a little bit.

TLDR:- Went in for scans, Had a busy Christmas, Did the Newcastle VMUG, Flight landed. Had rubish news and was rushed in for surgery for a tumour, Tried to recover (But I am useless at sitting still), Helped out with the vExpert Applications, Opened a vExpert shop, Found surgery was a success it was not anything too scary and now on the long path to recovery! Now to start a cool VMware project

I think the above summaries the last few months the best I can without boring everyone who bothers to read this blog but will also help me when I think why did I not blog later in the year! If you do want any more context than the below then always grab me and I can bore you at a conference.

Basically, just after VMworld Barcelona, I noticed something odd on my back of which I thought was a spot/ingrown hair and decided for once to go to the doctor due to the fact a few weeks later it was still growing and had no head on it. I was sent off for scans and referrals of which the last one was around Christmas of which the very kind doctor said due to the fact they were not 100% sure of what it was and the fact it was starting to push on my spine and I was sloughing badly it was best to have it out and within 6 weeks!

The next few weeks were a blur with kids and Christmas and trying to finish projects and of course new ones for 2019! In between this, I was trying my best to perfect my VMUG presentations and thought I had not heard back maybe my surgery letter got lost in the post. To be fair the NHS can really shine sometimes as once I followed it up it was delayed due to an influx of things due to this time of the year and I was followed up not long after saying could I come in within a week so it could just get done (a week before the VMUG at this point).

I spent the weekend finalising my presentation and helping with the last few vExpert mentoring applications for vExpert Pro, then a quick flight up to Newcastle and back. During this time we also had some bad family news of which I won’t write too much about on here as I know the topic can sometimes upset people but its a hard thing for people with families and wanting a family to go threw, especially if you already have kids around and you have to stay strong in front of them. I also know its quite taboo and still think for me personally we should be able to talk about it as the mental toll it takes on you and a relationship is unreal! Remember its ok to not be ok, go find family or friends to talk about it, I did and it helped massively

The next morning after landing late due to this news we had myself and my wife spent most of the day in hospitals for me and her, got the news we did not want an hour and a bit before my surgery, even to the point the surgeon I had was so supportive over what we were both going through, a little shocked over the fact I wanted to still go through what I was just about to but he helped me every step of the way! I am the most useless patient at the best of times. Some may say it was selfish but I saw it as if it was a bad thing (yes the thing some can’t talk about and as a family already been through it) growing in there I needed to be around for my family more than ever now! It also gave me a massive excuse also to ensure I was around to support one another for the next two weeks. Once I explained our past to my surgeon before I knew it I was face down on the table and was kept awake due to the location and it was all over and done with within the hour and I was on my way back home.

The next few days were an emotional rollercoaster with everything that had happened and it was by no means easy hence why I stopped blogging and never got round to writing up the VMUG.

I also got time to re-read some of the blogs about career burnout and work-life balance, especially the one from Bilal. I just knew I had to focus on this for the next few weeks during recovery and I know most others would have taken an opportunity to do more but I knew my family needed me.

Fast forward a few weeks and it was time for the stitches to come out! I could not wait, as much as I loved playing the Resident Evil 2 remake I even went back into work a few days and worked from home as I could not stand sleeping all day and watching daytime TV/Netflix but I knew this was key to my recovery! I am just stubborn and get bored by myself. Also due to the timing I was gutted to give up my place to vRetreat but it clashed with the stiches coming out.

This was the major turning point for me as I knew my physical and mental health really now just needed a massive overhaul. A few days later I got the letter stating it was not anything serious but a very odd growth and due to the depth they went, they do not anticipate it coming back. At this point, it was just in time for me to then be able to focus on the vExpert applications and make notes for the team to help approvals and it also was the start of the recovery journey for me.

My brother bought me a gift of which was possibly a bit of a joke between us as he knows I hate fads and exercise but I must say the Joe Wicks plan he got me with the extra support has been nothing but amazing! I am not even halfway through it and I have seen a massive improvement in my mental and physical health. I have lost many kilos and then put on loads of lean muscle but I have found my get up and go attitude I felt I had lost! I also found that I am much more ready to take on the day and more alert but also much less stressed and enjoying more time with the family. I have even started to run with my wife and now able to keep up with her on 5/10k runs if she is on a short one training for her half marathons. I could not even do a few minutes without feeling I was going to pass out before.

So what does this mean for blogging and the rest of the year…

For one it means I am going to be much more ambitious! I want to take on new challenges such as the CloudCred Pro of which I will be doing live streaming events. Such as the exercise, I did not even think I would last or enjoy a few weeks but I am loving it. Amazing what you can do when you really push yourself.

I want to look at my career path and where I am either staying or heading as it always super interesting at work even if its not always VMware related

I want to mentor more people where I can and spark the fire/passion of community or even just getting up and giving it a go

Try and make it to a few more major events and maybe even do a major talk if I can get the guts to do this. I would love to look at things such as vRetreat, Tech Field day and the likes.

I can’t thank my mentors (one being my boss) and friends enough! Many of them know who they are and I know a few have said some great comments/constructive critisiums of how I can become a better engineer and person and the main thing I need to do is just believe in myself and they have all said I will go far if I do! I certainly hope over the next few weeks especially after this workout plan I will have the mental and physical confidence to start taking on their comments and push hard to achieve the goals we have spoken about

Finally, I couldn’t have got to where I am today without the support of my family especially my amazing wife! She is my rock and I know we are always there for each other no matter what, despite how hard it is! The best bit is she has instilled this into our kids and I know if daddy is not always as strong as he should be they will pick me up and cheer me up too! All it takes sometimes is a hug!

So sorry to have bored you with this post or upset anyone (not my intention) its been a while coming but again this has really helped me mentally to express what a year so far! If you are struggling yourself do reach out as I am more than happy to talk and help! Anyway onwards and upward to living and loving life! Go grab it and enjoy it!

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