500! But An Ending Too

500th Post!

Something I’m proud of, then onto a sad item. Firstly, the front page now validates as XHTML. There’s little point to this other than my own personal satisfaction, but in theory it should render in all browsers now. The archives aren’t all validating yet, but I’ll try to get that sorted soon.

Also, I’m happy that I’ve managed to get to 500 posts. You never know when you start a blog / any kind of website whether it’ll die a death after a few months, but I’ve managed to keep mine alive and I’m very happy with how it’s turned out. I’m not bothered about whether it gets widely read (although I do like it when people mention things I’ve written), it’s just cathartic for me. I can, and do, pretty much say what I like, and that gives me confidence. Sometimes I’ll say things I regret, or are factually wrong, and sometimes I’ll write something I’m proud of, but I don’t postedit. It is what it is and I am what I am; it’d be silly to pretend otherwise. So thanks to my regular, and not so regular, readers for all the comments and tips. A fair bit has happened in the 16 months since my first entry, and it’ll be interesting to look back in another 500 posts and see what’s going on. I was going to look over the logs / comments and see what the most popular posts have been, but I’ll leave that for now because…

Ivan Noble, BBC ColumnistI’ve been following the diary of Ivan Noble for probably two years now. He’s a BBC News science and technology writer who in August 2002 was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour. He’s been writing a regular diary on the BBC website since that time, chronicling his experiences. After various major operations he went into remission in late 2003, only for the cancer to return shortly afterwards. This time last year he wasn’t sure he’d be around to witness the birth of his child in the summer, but he was. A few months ago he again went into remission, but six weeks later the tumour had come back with a vengeance. Today he posted his final diary entry, as he feels that he will not be well enough to continue writing after this point. Reading between the lines it seems that he’s extremely ill, and somebody on the Joinee Forum says that he’s going into a hospice to be looked after.

I don’t know Ivan personally, but reading his diaries has been almost like sharing in his experiences. When his child was born I was very happy. When he went into remission last year I couldn’t stop smiling. So this makes me very sad. He’s used his last entry to thank everybody who has helped him, and as his last request he asks people to stop smoking. The page is quickly filling up with comments from readers all over the world. The internet is a funny land, and people’s memories are short, but I don’t think he’ll fade away any time soon. By sharing, Ivan helped himself and others, and he’ll be remembered for that. I’ve posted a message on the site, but I’ll say it here too. Thanks for being so brave, Ivan. It really is an inspiration that you’ve had the courage to talk about what you’re going through, and as the comments show, you’ve helped far more people than you know.

It’s corny to say that this ‘puts things into perspective’, as I know terrible things happen every day. But I didn’t want to pride myself on 500 posts without mentioning the end of Ivan’s diary. I’ll be donating money to the Macmillan Nurses tomorrow, as I can now appreciate the job and the good that they do. The next 500 posts are dedicated to you, Ivan, for the courage you showed in not being bowed by this terrible disease. May I be that strong, one day.