Category Archives: Beer

Oscar Night

Every year since I was thirteen, I have stayed up all night to watch the Oscars. It is a stupid tradition that I have, but it is mine.

When I was diagnosed, many things that I would miss flashed before my eyes. The Oscars ceremony was one of them, and film more generally. By late Autumn, I had reconciled myself to the fact that I would not be able to watch this year’s ceremony whilst eating pizza in my pyjamas at Mamma Jones’ house.

Truthfully, my tastes have grown in recent years and I do not find the nominated films, especially this year, that exciting. The ceremony though, all 3-5 hours of it depending on the year, I love. Say what you want about the Oscars, it is a sycophantic night after all, but it is a night about a love of cinema and that is why I love it, because I love cinema. Everybody who knows me knows this, which you could see if your saw my text messages today.

I thought My Myeloma would take that away. Even yesterday, still under the influence of cyclophosphamide, I feared it could not be. I thought it would stop me enjoying something and doing something I have always done. Unfortunately, My Myeloma has reduced the amount of money I spend at the cinema and my ability to focus for 120 minutes. My short term memory issues may have made me (temporarily) enjoy films less, but it has done nothing to my long term memory. My long term memory loves films and it reminds me how much of my being is steeped in that passion.

So, tonight, I showed My Myeloma what for. I am still in control of something, and although it tries, it cannot take my loves away from me nor my traditions. Sure, it prevented me from completing the Annual Challenge, but I can work on that.

I stayed up all night, and I have every intention of doing it again next year for that is what I have always done. And the year after that.

My name is Emma Jane Jones and I heart film.

Oh, and special thanks to Matthew of Northampton for staying up all night with me, and assisting me with my screenings for the last few weeks. Much appreciated. Our night was sponsored by Becks, for we are classy. Becks Blue for me. I have a transplant to worry about.

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And another oh, not everybody was so enthused. See?

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EJB x

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Drunkards

Rarely do I get the opportunity to see drunk people. Since I was diagnosed, my exposure to the drunkards can be counted on one hand. Maybe two, if I think really hard. Housemate may indulge in a drink occasionally, but he tolerates it quite well and he has no cause for embarrassment much to my dismay. Mind you, who knows what he gets up to when he is out, but that is by the by.

Tonight, I got to see drunk people. Well, person. My drinking these days has to be in moderation. Nothing pleased me more this evening than walking home at 01:00hrs to see a man staggering down Balls Pond Road, looking like he had just seen a ghost with his fly undone and his trousers hanging down to reveal a bit of thigh below his pants. They were indigo. It was not because I am a cancer riddled pervert, no. It was because I like drunk people. I miss the embarrassment of drunk people. It’s too dangerous for me to be around them often, both physically and emotionally. I get to touch upon it periodically, normally on receipt of a badly written text message, but on few occasions do I get to see it live. It’s like going home.

I should clarify that I have never walked home exposing myself. I am a lady. I did once fall over onto a piece of glass and as a consequence slice my foot and bottom, well left butt cheek*, thus producing a fair amount of blood. It is nothing to be proud of, I know that. But my, to go back to the day after and for that to be my only care in the world…

… That would be nice.

* I still thank those who investigated the cut on my buttock 24 hours later. I should probably thank Mamma Jones too, for stitching the hole the glass created in my dress. I was young.

One day, I will be able to stay out and lose complete control, maybe I could piss on myself. Warm. Unfortunately, for now, I have morphine in my life and missing a dose of that bad boy is just not worth it. I have soup to make tomorrow.

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Hangover

What is this feeling so sudden and new?

My head is fuzzy, my body is aching, my reactions are slow and my bowels are loose… I have a hangover.

My old friend and I are reunited. Reunited in loathing.

I feel ill because of something I have done. I feel ill because I drank too many Kronenbergs. I feel ill and the cause is not My Myeloma. It is predictable and familiar. I am so proud of myself.

Obviously, I did not reach my drinking tally of old, that would be next to impossible for somebody in my delicate condition and not sensible. But, I had enough to make my room smell like rotten cabbage when I woke up this morning. I had enough to round off my evening with some egg fried rice from The Golden Bowl, in my bed. I had enough to have fun.

My pleasure at being able to stay out long enough to get a hangover, makes this hangover one to treasure. I earned it.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Middlesborough. She is the reason I have a hangover today.

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Parklive

One of my Christmas presents from my parents was the CD ‘Parklive’, which Wikipedia says is ‘the third live album by British alternative rock band Blur, released on 13 August 2012. The live album recorded the band’s performance at Hyde Park, London on 12 August 2012, as part of the companion concert to the 2012 Summer Olympic closing ceremony’.

I happened to have been at that concert, and it has since proven to be Β£65 well spent. I have mentioned that I went to the concert before, for it is now something of a milestone. It was the last time I went out out before I was diagnosed with myeloma. It was the last time I was cancer free.

Clearly, I know I had cancer on that date. I also had a fractured vertebrae. I just did not know it.

I do not think my reaction when I opened the CD was what Mamma Jones intended. She gave me the CD because she knew I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed the concert, and she was right, I did. My reaction even surprised me, I cried.

I believe my counsellor would call this grief.

The 12 August was the last day I had actual, carefree fun. I was in a considerable amount of pain, but on that day, I pushed it out of my mind and enjoyed myself. Let’s face it, I also got ridiculously drunk and that probably used my last reserve of good health before I spent the week that followed on a drip, getting cancer.

On that Sunday, it was hot and sunny. A rarity for the UK this year. It was so hot in fact, chocolate bars were melting in a corner shop I entered to buy rizlas. Middlesborough and Katherine were late arriving, because I got to stand outside the entrance for quite a while looking at the crowds. They at least did bring me beer, and we sat outside the entrance making sure Katherine ate her sushi whilst drinking, before we got into the hour long queue to get in. If memory serves, I was not impressed by the search procedure on entrance. I appreciate a good rubdown search and I did not get one. As we entered, New Order had just started their set and I was pleased I had not missed ‘Temptation’ and relieved I could finally go to the toilet. From then on we drank, we queued for more beer, were merry and enjoyed the music. Writing this, I just remembered that I also kissed a boy. I had forgotten about that. I must have been drunk. Prior to this, I peed in the park, in the open. I am not ashamed, only impressed now, that I was able to do so with a fracture in my spine. See, like I said, drunk.

The next day I woke up and my pain was ridiculous; I couldn’t physically get out of bed. I also felt incredibly ill. The day after that I was admitted to UCH, and three days after that, I had myeloma.

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Blur were amazing and I think I found it all a bit emotional on the actual day, especially the closing songs. I don’t think ‘The Universal’ will ever be quite the same for me. At the time, crying and me were not friends, but I cried on my way home. I was in pain and I did not know why… We all know why now. That day, the 12 August 2012, in Hyde Park, London, represents so much of what is now lost, that is why I cried when I saw the CD.

I wouldn’t take the day back mind; I think it was best to go out with a bang.

For now, I’ll listen to the CD and I’ll remember how I had it good for a while and aspire to get right back up there, as soon as my body starts behaving.

EJB x

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The Lush

My name is Emma Jane Jones and I was once a lush.

By ‘lush’, I am do not mean somebody who is morally loose, what I mean is a female who likes her drink. To be clear.

Of course, my enjoyment came only at the point when I was legally allowed to do so, and it was from then on that I frequently indulged in an alcoholic beverage or five (11). It was not something that was an uncontrollable problem, but drinking was something that featured prominently in my life and my friendships. A drink after work, a drink at home, a drink with dinner, a drink in the park, just a drink here and there. The only time a drink did not really feature was at the cinema before a screening and even then, I would occasionally bend on that rule. It would be fair to say that I drank too much. Such was my concern when I was diagnosed about alcohol and my love for it, that it was one of the first things I asked my doctors. Was I allowed to drink? They answered in moderation. I decided that abstinence was best and there it was, no alcohol for me, indefinitely. Indefinitely is a long time.

Pre-myeloma, when things were normal, my last drink was on the 12 August, 17 weeks ago. I was in considerable pain, but I drank through it. If memory serves, I had four cans of Kronenberg followed by five pints of an unknown cider and lager. It may have been more, it may have been less. I was with Middlesborough in Hyde Park watching Blur and New Order and the end result, before the tears of pain, looked something like this:

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Five days later I had cancer.

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There is something so pleasurable about the first drink of the week, the weight of the glass in your hand, the temperature, the light fizz of the lager and the sweet taste of the magical nectar. I have missed the sweet nectar.

I sit firmly in the camp of drinking being fun. Sure, you do silly things, it is fattening and hangovers are horrible, but in moderation, it is the most enjoyable pastime. It is with part pride and part shame that I say my personal best is 17 pints in a day, and last December I probably consumed 240 units of alcohol in the month. I can taste the difference between a Fosters and a Kronenberg, but I cannot handle any drink over 15%.

Drinking has been my social life for ten (14) years. Not drinking, correction, not being able to go to the pub three or four times a week, because of My Myeloma, has been a test. A test to my sanity and a test for my friendships. Fortunately people have passed. It’s bizarre to think that most of my relationships have formed around drinking and when the cancer took that ability to socialise away from me, I was worried about how I could maintain them. It turns out that I can chat the shit when sober, almost as much as when I am drunk, the venue just looks a little different, I cannot stay out for as long and I cannot gesture quite so violently as I did before. The venue is now predominantly my flat, but can also be other people’s homes and places that are quiet with seats that have back support. It really isn’t the same. A pub is a pub and they are the best.

My drinking hall of shame, no longer feels that shameful. The anxiety is no more. When you have to talk to somebody about your bodily functions three times a week, you’ve been stuck on a commode, you pass your pee around an open plan space and you’ve had a tattoo on your floo floo; your embarrassment threshold rises. I can detach myself from my old life and old stories because I do not know if I can ever get back to them. Plus, as our popular press proves, when one has cancer, all previous sins are forgiven. All of a sudden you become The Brave Cancer patient and not a person who once had to be picked up by their mother from a front garden of a house in a neighbouring cul-de-sac because you were eating the grass, when you were probably old enough to know better. Whilst I am on the topic, hypothetically, the list below are other things one might do when they are under the influence.

* Have to be taken to hospital three times for injuries to ankles sustained when falling down some stairs, kicking a door or falling down the stairs again by your embarrassed parents.

* In your first week of university, accidentally rugby tackle a girl after shouting “Brace Yourself”‘, and then watch her overreact and go into neck spasms.

* Drink approximately seven pints with your male work colleagues, to then have one of them pick you up, squeeze you and spin you around, for you to uncontrollable and audibly pass wind outside The Buckingham Arms.

* Ring your mother on holiday in the Bahamas and tell her you want to die because a boy you like does not like you and who has a girlfriend… at the age of 27.

* Fall out of bed, bashing forehead against the bedside table, then hitting the floor with nose and subsequently passing out. If such a thing were to happen, it would probably look like this afterwards:

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* Feed a friend a whiskey and cola, pretending it is milk whilst she is pretending to be a cow.

* Get up at your friend’s wedding and do your ‘Wuthering Heights’ dance in front of the congregation, requesting somebody remove their tie so you can use it as a sash, then subsequently use it as a sash whilst gyrating on your knees.

* Snog people you shouldn’t do, maybe tugging on a beard and say things you should really save for when you are sober.

* Tell your mother that you enjoy performing a certain act.

* In a desperate attempt to eat Smash, accidentally spill it on the clean carpet, scoop it up, pour over hot water and eat to find you have also scooped up and eaten a bit of Artex, and then recognise the taste…

* Spend four hours lying in your friend’s bed in the dark the day after the night before, groaning about your hangover, your morals and your missing red hat.

* Tell you colleagues that you write porn, give them a few examples, vomit, and then refuse to tell them where you live whilst vomiting out a taxi window as you are standing upright in the back of the cab whilst WM keeps you stable by holding onto your belt.

* Ring one of the twins every time you are really drunk and tell her that you love her and she is the ‘bestest’ friend anybody could hope for, maybe accompanied by a song.

* Try to smoke a cotton bud.

* Projectile vomit on the windscreen of a taxi after drinking some red wine and beer and eating red meat, for it to ricochet onto your coat, have the taxi driver pull over for you to vomit on the car door, shout “undo me, undo me” at the taxi driver and then vomit some more on the pavement. Finish the whole affair off by handing the taxi driver a toilet roll to clean his taxicab. Oh, and more vomit, but this time in your toilet. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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A friend told me these stories, to confirm, I am far too sensible for that sort of thing. But, if you have ever wondered what I looked like when I was drunk, then wonder no more… This is ten years of me being off the wagon.

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Alcohol. Don’t you just love it.

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The point of this whole thing, is to say that after 118 days, 118 days of learning about my new body and what My Myeloma is doing to it and my limits,I fell off the wagon. It was my decision, it was in moderation and I can confirm that the nectar tasted sweet.

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One day, I hope I will once again be able to come up with more hypothetical stories and spend quality time with my friends in a pub. For now, I will settle for a little tipple of sherry at Christmas, and maybe some mulled wine, oh and a pint of Kronenberg.

EJB x

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The Placebo Effect

As predicted, my mood has improved greatly, and sooner than expected. I thought I would let you know, just in case you were worried.

πŸ˜„Good days and Bad days.😭

I am not sure if it was doing something normal like going out for dinner, talking to my friends, celebrating with my friends, my friends full stop, stools, be able to walk 0.5 miles with slight pain or the non-alcoholic beer, which tonight was in the form of a Kaliber. I mean, I have an inkling. Kaliber really is something else.

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Regardless, I just needed a little perspective and to remember that I can manage this. Thank fuck for that.

My Myeloma is my own.

Tomorrow will be a good day. Nighty night.

EJJ x

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Saturday Night

Last night, I almost, almost had a normal pre-cancer Saturday night in with friends. We watched crap Saturday night TV, Icooked dinner and we drank beer. It was a delight. Other friends were going out to a reunion, but last night, I wanted to stay in with my favourite TV Buddies and eat. I would not have been able to go to the reunion anyway, my hip is still being a real pain in the arse. So what were the differences? Well, they let themselves in with the contingency keys, my beer was 0% (thanks Lads), instead of mince the chilli was a three bean high fibre feast, the snacks were nuts and seeds, I allowed my guests to do the dishes and I had to be tucked up in bed by midnight. It was indeed a delight. I then slept for a whole 10 hours…. It’s just a bloody shame about the cancer.

I just wish and long for the day when I do not think about the fact that I have cancer. Obviously, I also long for the day when My Myeloma is put to sleep, but in the meantime, I would like one day when I do not think that about my cancer and I can just get on with things as normal. I would be normal. Normal EJ thoughts. I think, realistically, that would be impossible, and that is indeed a shame.

So, My Myeloma and I are going to hang out today and hope for an equally good Sunday as my Saturday.

Oh, as I am such a crazy part animal, I took photographic evidence of the remnants of my good old Saturday night in. Just for you.

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Hiya EJJ

Tonight I am Happy. That’s right. Happy with a capital ‘H’.

For the first time in 29 days, I have socialised with my friends in a place that is not a hospital, my flat or my parents house. I went to a pub. That’s right, a pub. EJ went to a pub. I drank non-alcoholic beer. We talked about things. Most of it was not about cancer. Right now, I want to cartwheel around my flat and bloody boogie. This was my milestone and I could do it.

There were some slight amendments to the norm, clearly.

The beer for example, was 0%. The pub is located 30 seconds from my flat. My friends had to tuck my chair in for me. I had a walking stick. I did not have any make up on. When I got back to my flat, I had to take an Aciclovir, an Allopurinol, a Diazepam and two paracetamols.

But I went out and now I am happy. Go figure.

YES!

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When I Close My Eyes…

… I dream of you xx

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