No, I'm not going to GDC this year

· by Steve · Read in about 3 min · (550 Words)

Since I keep getting asked this question by friends, existing business partners and prospects, I figured I’d just confirm it here - I won’t be attending GDC this year. It’s a shame, because I’d love to meet up with all the people I know who are going, but the primary reason is the 5,000 miles between here and there. Given the issues I’ve had with my back over the last few months (the worst episode of which emerged just after I made it back from California last time), I decided to have a break from long-haul travel to allow it time to recover. It would be different if I could afford to travel anything other than economy class, where I have to spend 10 hours wedged in a space PETA would find objectionable, but that’s not really an option. So for the moment, I’m limiting myself to 2 hours flights or less, which lets me get to most places in Europe (in May I’ll be at FMX in Stuttgart doing a talk), but rules out the US of A except in the unlikely event that Concorde makes a return and is curiously both faster and cheaper.

On the back issue, I can tentatively report that things are improving. It’s slow, but the number of ‘incidents’ where I do something that takes me out for a few days with major pain are decreasing; it’s been a couple of weeks now since the last one (touch wood), and before that I had a fairly good couple of weeks. It’s still sore a lot of the time, but sore is a big improvement 😀Having been back to the doctor & physio again, they both appear to be convinced now that my spine is ok structurally (which is very good news), the problem is in the soft tissues - specifically that the muscles in my mid-back have become way too dominant, caused by years of spending too much time sitting relatively motionless and a bit too upright (aka my usual typing position). The result is that the multitude of muscles and ligaments down my mid-back are a bit too short, a bit too tense all the time, and poorly balanced by all the other muscles that would have been doing more if I wasn’t sitting at the desk so much. That means that they have a tendency to over-tense and jam the ‘fins’ at the back of my  spine in awkward ways, which means inflammation and aggravation on the clusters of nerves running between them.

The symptoms I’ve had can be caused by much more serious problems, but the fact that mine recovers in between the ‘incidents’, and doesn’t seem to react to prodding once the inflammation has gone down, means that it’s not serious, apparently. I have to say, it’s easily the most painful and prolonged non-serious condition I’ve had in my 35 years!

This week I’m adding the gym to my schedule of activities, for the first time in a lot of years. I’ve got a list from the physio of the things I should and shouldn’t do, but it’s time to take my recovery to the next stage (that is, Stage 1-2: Moderate Discomfort Overworld), and to redevelop the bits of me not related to adopting the keyboard position. Here goes…