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Cancer Dude’s Last Battle. Good Bye, Jeffrey

Damn. Damn. Damn.  Cancer s**ks.  And here I am, the blogger who thinks can write about everything, yet I am speechless.

Yes, Cancer Dude, Jeffrey Walker, businessman, musician, artist, family-man @radiowalker who fought and beat cancer so many times had one too many battles to fight, and he lost this last one.  Last night he passed away.

I can’t find words to write. Bloggers’ block, big time.  But he described his battle and inspired so many in his own posts:

Cancer 2.0: the Killer App

What I learned from Cancer 2.0

Living with Cancer in Silicon Valley

Living with Cancer in Silicon Valley II: Survival Tips from a Hardened Cancer Dude

and some of my earlier posts:

Cancer Dude Will Win Again

Jeffrey’s Seven: Cancer Dude Back Online

Jeffrey’s gone. Here’s an excerpt from his wife, Jessy’s email, very much in Jeffrey’s spirit:

Jeffrey loved blogging and he loved reading the responses even more. He was awed by the outpouring of love.  Going in to his surgeries, he read all the postings written and it gave him strength.

Let’s give him strength again. I know that somehow, he will see your comments on his blog.  Its a wonderful way to reach out to us too, his family.

Let’s say our final Good Bye to Jeffrey over on his blog.

And listen to him play one more time. During the last struggle, between two chemo treatments he played guitar at the  Stanford University Relay for Life:

Update:  I thought I’d let another guitar player say the final Good Bye: Only the Good Ones Die Young.

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Fiber One. Cardboard No (?) Deceptive Yes. Do They Think We’re Stupid?

Fiber One has a risky tagline: Cardboard no. Delicious yes.

Why risky?  Because ..well, cardboard is indeed the first word that comes to mind when I taste it.  Oh, well, my Dad likes it.  Lucky for him, since he needs it for health: it’s hard to find this much fiber in half a cup of breakfast cereal elsewhere.  I assume that’s the reason for this product’s popularity, not taste…but wait, building on the base product’s success, there is now a whole range of Fiber One products, cereals, breakfast bars..etc.

They went mainstream. Translation: sweet, tasty, sugary, less healthy.  From 57% of your recommended daily fiber intake down to 20% in some cases.  But wait.. there’s one cereal likely a lot tastier and not that far from the original fiber content:

Forget the standard industry trick that the new box contains only 14.25 ounces instead of the original 16.2 for the same price… it’s almost as healthy and likely tastes better. Let’s check the small print:

Capture Capture1

At first glance the two products are close: 14g vs. 13g fiber.  But how come the tastier version is listed with 42g Carbs while the original had only 25?   And 160 Calories vs. 60?

Oh, there’s the trick: the ingredients are listed as per serving. However, the original serving size was half a cup, while the tastier Honey Clusters’ serving size is 1 cup.   I repeat:

General Mills, makers of Fiber One is using (almost) double the serving size to compare fiber content.  The true comparison would be on the same serving basis, which would show  a drop from 51% fiber content to roughly 25%.

This is an outrage: while technically correct, it gives false impression, especially since these products are typically placed right next to each other on supermarket shelves – and on the company’s website, for that matter.

Shame on you, General Mills for treating us as if we were stupid.

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Jeffrey’s Seven: Cancer Dude Back Online

This is the third slide of the Opening Keynote from Atlassian’s Summit this week.  Amidst all the celebration of success, product and partner announcements, and just about a windfall of information it was a nice gesture to spend a minute with Atlassian’s first US employee, President Jeffrey Walker, who could not be at the event, having just received his chemotherapy a few days earlier.

Other than an Atlassian, Jeffrey is also a hacker artist and musician. And Cancer Dude.  His words, not mine.  He wrote them two years ago:

In preparation for this upcoming surgery, I’ll be working out every single day. I’ll be leaving work at a reasonable hour. I need to point my Type-A personality at Atlassian at something more important right now.”

I am Cancer Dude and I am going to kick it’s ass.

In March Jeffrey dropped a bomb: his cancer was back, bigger and uglier than ever before.  I don’t want to repeat the story, here’s my wrap-up, and his own post: Living with Cancer in Silicon Valley.

Today Jeffrey’s back online: Living with Cancer in Silicon Valley II: Survival Tips from a Hardened Cancer Dude.  It’s a must-read.  There’s no excuse not to find the time to read it.   His Seven Survival Tips are a testament of strong will, the kick-ass attitude that makes him invincible, and gives strength to many others.  Literally.

This time around the battle took more focus than ever before, so Jeffrey took a 6-month leave from Atlassian.  But he doesn’t rest.  Between two chemo treatments he played guitar at the recent Stanford University Relay for Life:

 

Now for the important part: he has 3.5 weeks left until surgery.  He is offering to play (free) at a local benefit in the San Francisco Bay Area.  If you need a musician who can identify with your cause, or just know of a benefit event, ping me below in comments or via the contact form.

Focus on the positive. Tell cancer to “Piss off”

(Cross-posted from CloudAve)

 

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Cancer Dude Will Win Again

This is Jeffrey Walker.  President of Atlassian, an incredibly cool and successful company. Hacker artist and musician.

And also Cancer Dude.  His words, not mine.  He wrote them two years ago:

In preparation for this upcoming surgery, I’ll be working out every single day. I’ll be leaving work at a reasonable hour. I need to point my Type-A personality at Atlassian at something more important right now.”

“I am Cancer Dude and I am going to kick it’s ass.”

It was an eloquent, inspiring, witty, sour yet humorous, brave post. I am sure that Jeffrey’s Type-A personality played a key role in defeating cancer and coming back healthy.

Now it looks like he did not win the War, just a major battle.   Jeffrey dropped a bomb in his blog today:

My cancer returned Monday. In not exactly a subtle way. I have two tumors, one of which is 11×8 centimeters…

…This is my life. I am living with cancer, I have had three major operations — here comes #4…

…I can struggle or I can embrace it. Those of you who know me understand I have only one option. Not because I consciously choose. I am just innately positive…

Damn.  I’m struggling for words.  Writers block.  Damn again – here I am whining when all I have to do is pull my thoughts together.  Jeffrey is the guy with the real fight: he is fighting for his life, for his family, for his company, friends, everything he believes in.  And what a fighter he is!  The way he handled the battle last time gave courage and inspiration to many others.

Here’s something on a personal side:

  • In 2007, just the day before Jeffrey became cancer dude he took the entire San Francisco office to a Giants game.  He obviously was aware of his condition, but kept it to himself for a while, not wanting to spoil the fun.  The Team comes first for Cancer Dude.  He invited me, but I declined, not being a baseball fan.  When I found out about his condition, I felt guilty for missing a chance, and promised myself to never turn down an invitation from Jeffrey again.
  • This weekend I was supposed to talk to him again.  We set a time aside to discuss business, his philosophy and a lot more a’propos of Atlassian’s $100M milestone.  I missed the appointment (shame of me, I forgot).  And here I find him in hospital again.  Karma?  If it is, it’s as bad as it gets – so I choose to ignore it.

But this story isn’t about me.  It’s about Jeffrey, his courage, endless positivism, and the fight he will win again.  A Veteran, he already has a blueprint for it:

The first priority on the blueprint is of course getting the right treatment and recovering. But the blueprint includes trying to work when you can. I called a customer Tuesday morning, just 20 hours after getting the news.

Customer call the day after finding out he has cancer again.  Vintage Jeffrey.   That’s the tough guy who will beat this s**t again.  And then I don’t care, he may even drag me to a baseball game, I will go (although beer in a pub still preferred).

This is Jeffrey’s fight – supported by his family and doctors.   But there is something we can all do.  This is what Jeffrey wrote after winning the previous battle:

The community was awesome. People I never even met wrote me passionate emails. I was touched.

Tuesday, the day before surgery, would not normally be a Real Groovy Day. You go onto a clear liquid diet and clean out your system for the surgery. Not a regimen I would recommend. Instead, it was an exhilarating day. Watching the comments, emails and views pour in from people I inspired turned out to be a massive inspiration to me.

So let’s do our part: please comment on his blog, write your own post, Twitter, Friendfeed, you name it – just link to his post, and use the tag cancerdude.  Let’s give Jeffrey all the inspiration we can.

And welcome him back in a few weeks.

(Cross-posted to CloudAve.)

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Google Health & Microsoft HealthVault: the Sorry State of Health 2.0

Today’s joint IBM – Google announcement about enabling personal health monitoring devices to send data directly to Google Health gave me the grand opportunity for a (not-so) quick rant that’s been boiling in me for a while. 

Ever since I started actively managing my parents’ health care I’ve been a heavy user of electronic health records and communication systems, and I am immensely frustrated.  Frustrated at the paper-based world we’re facing in the 21st century, but also at the current attempts to change all that.  Grand ideas, alliances, announcements, but they all feel like IT-talk, losing sight of the very people these systems supposed to serve: patients.  That’s you and me and our relatives who have health issues.  

Read further

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Cancer 2.0: the Killer App – A Must Read

Jeffrey Walker, President of Atlassian blogs about his recurring cancer.

It’s an eloquent, inspiring, witty, sour yet humorous, brave post. Jeffrey used to be in my book as “good guy”, now he is my hero. If you read just one post today , this should be it. It’s so … human.

In preparation for this upcoming surgery, I’ll be working out every single day. I’ll be leaving work at a reasonable hour. I need to point my Type-A personality at Atlassian at something more important right now.”

“I am Cancer Dude and I am going to kick it’s ass.”

Cancer Dude, we’re with you. You WILL come out of this one, too, stronger than before. Hope to see you back soon!