#100DaysOfCode Challenge

For the past few months, I had been mulling over about my future and what I want to do in my life.  Career goals, Life goals, Personal growth goals, Hobby goals…

My long time blog/weeb friend (no joke, we’ve known each other since we were in middle school) Vicky has recently started participating in #100DaysOfCode Challenge.  She blogged about the challenge and learning to use GitHub a month ago, but while I found the concept interesting, I didn’t think I was “at that stage” of my coding education to take part in it.

Up until then, there was my few months’ stint at trying to learn Python, which kind of melted away after my health issues started up in earnest.  And I was finding it difficult to “get in” to the programming languages that I was being introduced to.

However, the “contemplations” took a turn of urgency when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis last month.  I realized that I really need to buckle down and form an escape plan in case I lose my mobility and health to the point of being unable to function readily in the corporate world.

Web Development

Around the same time, I realized that “front end development,” “web development,” and “UI development” actually meant I could potentially use HTML/CSS/Javascript to make pretty things like I used to back in middle school/high school.  Why did I never realize this!

Back in my school days, I was able to “read” and “write” these languages like I was reading and writing English.  Languages like these, I can comprehend much more readily than the programming languages like Io or Python.  This realization, along with my 1-on-1 with my manager discussing my potential career paths (where he encouraged me to pursue web development) and my medical issues, I decided to seriously look into the field.

Somehow, I had always assumed websites had “moved on” to some other language or format that wasn’t accessible for me.  But turns out a lot of it is still done with HTML/CSS… And that was exciting for me, because as rusty as I am with coding website layouts, that was one of my favorite things to do as a teenager.  And obviously, I still create and maintain numerous websites; just completely reliant on templates on WordPress.  This was my chance to break out of having to rely on other people’s work, and start actually making my own.

The Fateful Tweet to Start 100 Days of Code

On Sunday afternoon, while rolling around in bed after a filling brunch (because what’s a weekend in NYC without boozy brunch?), I made a fateful Tweet.

And of course, ya girl Pauline jumped on it.

And the rest, as we like to say, is hisherstory.

After flailing around with GitHub/GitHub Desktop, and figuring out how to use it, I hit the ground running.  (I really tend to perform best when I have that initial jolt of energy and excitement, so I try to ride that high out as much as possible.)

#100DaysOfCode Challenge

So the basic premise of #100DaysOfCode Challenge is that you pledge to code for at least 1 hour for 100 days.

You first “fork” a repository from their Github, and start editing it to customize it.  Then you use the log.md to keep a progress diary for the next 100 days.

The goal is to have your Github account be all green.

(Mine is not quite green yet…)

Every day, on top of updating the log file on Github, you also tweet an update.  The community on Twitter of people participating and people supporting in the challenge is pretty great.  There’s a lot of interaction and feedback from both beginners and seasoned pros.  It’s kind of rare that people with such huge range of skill-levels interact on the “same plane,” so I think it’s great.

Getting Back in the Groove

On the one hand, I am enjoying getting “back in the groove,” slowly remembering how this whole coding thing worked, refreshing my memory on CSS and HTML tags and values.  On the other hand, I’m also reminded of the daily frustrations of things not working even though it’s identical to a working copy, and the only thing that gets it working again is to do something that shouldn’t have done anything at all to change any of the settings.

One good thing about working in a tech company is that help is only a few feet away, if I need it.  That’s comforting for me.  It’s so strange, because I didn’t feel much desire to learn programming or build servers or any of these kinds of things when I was living with my ex-boyfriend, who wanted to teach me.  However, now that he’s not sitting across from me, I’m energized and excited to learn.

I guess I should also mention that my roommate is a programmer, as is my sister, along with many of my other close friends.  I’m just the black sheep of the clan, with my weird special education degree!

Overall, I’m enjoying the process. I’m glad I decided to start with the “path of least resistance” and start with creating WordPress Themes, because it’s something I’ve been interested in, and can utilize immediately.

I am going through a Udemy course that is teaching me how to create a WordPress Theme using Bootstrap (another concept I’m learning new), and I’m a little overwhelmed with the sheer amount of potential and freeware code that is being thrown around these days.

Times have really changed! It’s like, Lissa Explains it All except legitimized! (Dude, it still exists!)

@Heart; Echocardiogram

Today, I had an echochardiogram (basically ultrasound of the heart) done to see if I have symptoms of heart conditions (comes with Rheumatoid Arthritis) or Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  The doctor said that it looked good, though she did notice some skipping in my heart beats.

She gave me a referral for a Neurologist (for follow up of AVM) and a Geneticist (for screening for EDS) in Columbia.  After the appointment, I called in to both offices, and was told one has an opening in February, 2018, and the other, in April, 2018.  Ah, America.

Honestly though, given how little impact a joint disorder would have on my life at this point, I might just cancel at some point early next year, depending on how I feel.  It’s not vital to me to know if I have it or not, and by that point, my deductibles would have reset, and I’d have to pay for everything out of pocket.

It was very cool seeing my heart at work (it’s the hardest working muscle in your body!), and even hearing it.  And now we have a medical trail to reference later down the line to have a baseline status of the condition of my heart as a 28 year old.

My pain’s coming back a bit, but I think it’s because I decreased the dosage of Aleve to 2 a day instead of 3 a day (a month ago, I was barely able to get out of bed on 4 a day).  For this level of “acceptable” pain though, I think it’s worth it to be down to 2 pills instead of 3 or 4.  I’m hoping that, as my Rheumatologist said last week, that the Methotrexate will do its job and keep working until I’m in complete remission.

And Just to Ruin Your Day…

“Don’t spend money; spend time. You think what you spend matters?
It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles; go for walks.
Swim in the sea, build a camp, and have fun. That’s all they want.”

I Need Your Recommendations!

I really want to go on a vacation… A very very relaxing one…
But it has to be public transit or car-accessible from NYC, and relatively painless to get to (because, you know, pain)… Anyone have any ideas…?
I can take Metro North, Amtrak, maybe planes if the rides are short…
I have about 10 days of vacation days I need to use up before winter comes (because at that point, everyone already has their vacation planned, so it’s harder to take off in chunk).

Hiroko Nishimura
AWS Community Hero. Special Education teacher turned IT Engineer turned Technical Writer. Author "AWS for Non-Engineers" (Manning Publications). Technical Instructor "Introduction to AWS for Non-Engineers" (LinkedIn Learning).

23 thoughts on “#100DaysOfCode Challenge”

  1. Come visit me :3 the metro here sucks but I’ll drive you everywhere! Or we can go to the mountains and chill in a cabin. (I originally typed beach but then I realized what time of year it is…)

    Yay for getting into #100DaysOfCode. It’s been surprisingly supportive, I didn’t expect so many people to actually read my tweets raging about how I have no idea what I’m doing haha.

    And it’s good to hear that your heart is doing well. <3

    1. Agh that sounds so nice. I’m missing nature and quiet. BOO.

      I’m really thankful for all the random people on there. It’s great you get to talk to random people even if you’ve never spoken before. It’s hard to have communities like that these days. Gotta keep chugging along!

  2. This is so awesome! I love seeing girls kicking ass and taking names in tech 🙂 I so wish I was more tech savvy, but maybe one day I’ll get to take a coding class! Also, you’ve got a seriously amazing attitude about the health issues you’re dealing with, so kudos to you! You should DEFINITELY take those vaca days though. My brother and his gf were recently in Fire Island in NY and they said it was AMAZING. That might be an option for you!

    1. Being in tech sounds a lot scarier than it actually is! I actually started my career in tech after a recruiting company was like, “We know you don’t know anything about computers but… Do you wanna fix computers?” And I was like “YEAH SURE WHY NOT.” LOL.
      I figure I have all my life to be depressed about my health, but it won’t bring it back! And I’m going to check out Fire Island!! I really need a break!

  3. Thanks for the wordy comment ^_^ I appreciate you coming by and writing to me. I also appreciate you sharing your story with me. You went through quite the journey over the past year. 20 lbs lost is still 20lbs lost regardless of how or when or what. Great job!

    This coding challenge seems interesting to me. I haven’t done much in coding over the past few months aside from the minor tweaks I’ve done to my blog. I used to code themes and websites all day long back in the day (ahem, a few years back). I will look into this challenge a little further.

    I was thought to have rheumatoid arthritis but it turns out I have psoriatic arthritis instead. I totally understand what you’re going through with the pain and such. I was on Methotrexate for a time but didn’t last long until they put me on Humira injections for psoriasis and arthritis. The Humira injections seem to be doing their job, my flare ups are less and less as the days go by.

    I’d love to be your pom-pom cheer team during your journey. We can support each other through our journeys in life with all things. You have my support. Good luck on your challenge, health journey, and weight journey.

    1. Wow!! What a journey you’re on, too!! I’m so sorry you had to move on from Methotrexate to Humira. That’s my next go-to if this doesn’t put me into remission, and I’m hoping that it won’t resort to that. My insurance is too shitty for all this, for reals! Lol.
      I used to code allll the time in middle-high school, and I didn’t realize how much I used to enjoy it until this week (it took a week to get “back into it” with the CSS/HTML flow!)… And gosh. I wish I never gave it up! Imagine how much further I’d be here now. LOL.

      Let’s pom-pom together!! You’ve inspired me start my next challenge.. It’s going to be a 30/90 Fitness Challenge… Work out for at least 30 out of the next 90 days, starting October 1st. WISH ME LUCK! Haha.

  4. I’m really happy to see so many ladies taking part in this! Everyone is so supportive with one another as well, and that’s amazing to see. Though I decided against pursuing a career or degree in technology, as I struggle in arithmetic too much, I definitely want to keep it up as a hobby!

    Though I’m far too busy to do it this round, perhaps the next round I’ll be able to take part in coding challenges. I need to get better at it anyhow xD

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing slightly better health wise! I know it’s not easy, and some days are harder than others, but know that you’re in my thoughts girl.

    As for vacation, honestly, I’m still planning on taking mine to Hawaii to see the Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Arizona in Jan, but it’s SUPER expensive o.O

    1. The best part of this is that you can start whenever you want. So there’s no “round” to have to wait for. 🙂 I think I literally started at the middle of the month, and I see “newbies” starting every day. It’s amazing the support system they have on Twitter to keep everyone motivated.

      Thanks on the health thing. It’s kind of weird. I do think I’m getting better, but the pain seems to be around the same or worse. But physically, I have much better range of motion, and the inflammations are way down. So I’m hoping it’s just the slowness of my pain stuff catching up at some point or another.

      And haha. Awesome… I’d love to go to Hawaii, but alas. It’s too far for my frail ol’ body to go. I hope you make it though!!

  5. I joined #100DaysofCode earlier this year, but, well, life happened and I disappeared from the challenge LOL. When time permits, I’ll participate again. I’m currently taking a refresher course back in Skillcrush, so it’s not far off from participating again haha!

    Wishing you good health. I’ve read your stories years ago, and I find you admirable through those hard times. I’m diabetic myself (type 2) and who knows what I may get diagnosed with in the future. I don’t write about it, but I’ve been thinking about it everyday.

    1. Life definitely happens! I couldn’t code one day, and usually I get really dejected when I miss days on challenges, but I took the advice from their website to heart that said “Don’t skip 2 days in a row!” And I’m still chugging along, somehow!
      I just recently learned about Skillcrush! Let me know which one you’re doing and what you think! I’m still a bit ehhh about paying a lot of money for courses because this isn’t my “main field,” but I’m always up for recs. 🙂

      I hope your diabetes is under control! It’s kind of weird; after a while, my disorders just become so part of me, I don’t have to “think about it” for it to be ingrained into my daily life… It just becomes “Another Hiro thing.” It was a little sad thinking about it a while back though; how quickly my pain “normalized” and it just became a thing…

  6. I’m still so glad that I saw that tweet and decided to tweet back at you. At the time I’ve been wanting to do it to really commit (ba dum tis) to learning JS and getting better at it. After doing it for 7 days, I’ve really enjoyed how much I’ve learned. I’m becoming much more familiar with the language and understand it better now too! 🙂 I hope that you’re getting lots out of it yourself!

    I wish you nothing but good health. I hope that you don’t experience too much pain, hopefully, your medications will help. I do a lot of cardiovascular work at University and I remember hearing my heart and seeing it beat for the first time. It definitely made me want to take better care of myself and ensure that I appreciate it because it does work so damn hard! 🙂

    I wish I could give you a recommendation in the states but I haven’t been anywhere but New York really. Matt and I went up to see his family in New London but it didn’t have a lot (in comparison to NYC!) If you are going to go to Europe though, I’d recommend London (lol, please come and visitme, I’ll take a train there to see you!) or Portugal like I said in my tweet! 😀

    Hope you’re having an awesome day!

    1. New London – Connecticut? If we’re talking about the same New London, I have family over there too LOL. Well, HAD a family. They all moved out West here. Very nice and cozy place! 😀

    2. I’m so glad you responded, because I didn’t really have much intention of actually going through with it. I’m getting LOADS out of it, especially after I switched from doing the bootstrap/wordpress course to actually working on my portfolio. I do need to get back to that course at some point (it opened doors to CSS/HTML/Bootstrap, which was a necessity for me to have any footing).

      Yes- your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body!! And the brain never shuts down either… I think we as society don’t take care of either enough!!! Gotta stop eating my burgers… Or something… LOL.

      And I can’t wait to visit London!! One of these days. When I’m in remission. LOL.

  7. Yay, I think that’s great that you’re doing the 100 Days of Code challenge! It looks like a really good challenge and a good habit to get into. I might try it later when I finally make time for my Ember project, and maybe that’ll motivate me to actually work on it. Good luck on it!

    Wowww, that’s crazy how far out the appointments for the Neurologist is. I’m glad that your echochardiogram looked good though. I’m also glad to hear that you’ve been able to lower your dosage of Aleve. It’s progress! I really hope that your RA will be in remission soon!

    Hmm… my brother recently went to Maine, and it looked so nice and beautiful there. They drove there from Pennsylvania and visited Acadia National Park. When I used to live in NY, we would also drive up to Canada once in a while!

    1. It’s great, especially the support system!! People are so nice and encouraging on there. It’s honestly 90% of the reason why I even managed to stay at this for over 2 weeks. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re looking to learn something new or have a project in mind. They are really helpful at troubleshooting stuff with you, too!

      I’m really hoping I’ll get into remission soon so I can visit ALL THE PLACES! And Maine definitely seems gorgeous. I was considering Boston, but I’m not sure. Might just do a staycation, since I DO live in NYC…. I’m just so exhausted on the weekends because of chemo!

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