Tag Archives: Alcohol

Friday Nights

Today due to a slight miscalculation on my part, I did not end up taking my steroids until this afternoon, that means one and one thing only. I am awake.

Being awake, gives one amazing stamina to stay out on a Friday night, in fact, this particular cancer sufferer has been out of their house for 15 hours today. I am aware that this a good thing, regardless of the time it resulted in me taking my drugs. I have to try and live, I guess. I don’t guess. I have to try and live.

The problem with good things and ‘living’, is that they always remind me of what I am missing. And try as I might, I am missing a lot. I am not living the life I want to live. That’s the long and short of it. I live a crazy existence where I put on a brave face everyday, and I strongly believe that this is the best way for me to exist, you can see it in my eyes and I am sure the person who told me that, never intended for me to take it this far. The problem is, we all know that my existence is far from ideal. I don’t want you sympathy. I don’t want people telling me they understand, because I don’t think you do. You may empathise, you may have myeloma, but you don’t know what this is like for me.

I am 28 years old and it is a Friday night. Correction, I am an interesting 28 year old and I am narcissistic enough to admit that I was once pretty fun. My predicament makes me unique and I know that because the Medically Trained People told me so. Many times. A year ago, I would have enjoyed the Kronebergs so much, that I would be in a long deep sleep by now, awaiting the embarrassment upon waking on Saturday morning. I don’t get embarrassed now, because that sort of thing is superficial and all I want to do is live. I can say the most ridiculous of ridiculous things and it is okay, I brush it off because I have to deal with the myeloma everyday. Other people may make me anxious, but I don’t make me anxious. I want to get to a point where I can do what I want, and that seems so far away from me. There are days I think, I’ll never get it back. I try, but it won’t come back. I feel beyond middle aged and I am not ready. I will never taste that two day hangover exaggerated by whatever I had done when I am drunk. Now, as late as I stay out, I am still the girl who comes home with her month’s supply of drugs safely contained in their double bag and who takes her Thalidomide and Fragmin when she gets home. I want to irresponsible. I want to have drunk so much that tomorrow all I can drink is Lucozade and on Sunday, I abuse my pesky body with carbohydrates. I want to have lost something, maybe a red hat, I don’t know. I want to go crazy, but I can’t do that. I want to chain smoke, and I mean chain smoke so much that I cough up tar. I want to eat Smash and corned beef. I want to fall asleep with my make up on in the clothes I wore the night before. But I can’t do that.

I enjoy a Friday night. I still enjoy a Friday night. Locking myself away when I have amazing people in my life is not an option, and tonight has been yet another example of those amazing people. Not collectively. The problem with enjoyment is that it always reminds me what I am not experiencing and what I cannot do and what I cannot have. It’s a different level of commitment, trying to prolong your life. There is one thing and one thing only I want to do this weekend, but I am sensible and sensible says that I need to relax, in Dalston, take my drugs and eat fibre. I want to go so crazy that I flash my breasts in public and I have never done that, those bad boys are barely out of a bra in front of another person, occasionally, they may fall into the arm shelf in my kitchen. I want to be ashamed that I used the word ‘fingered’ in a conversation this evening. I want to feel guilty about my indiscretions. I want to stay up all night and I want the reason for that to be my amazing stamina on canned beer, I do not want it to be induced by prescription medication. I don’t want to worry about how I am going to buy my milk in the morning. I want to be me.

My Myeloma, as much as I fight it, has changed my life. It will probably take my life. I know this, because I close my eyes and this is all I hear; it is all I have heard for ten days. There was so much to do, and now I don’t know if it can be done. I can pretend as much as I like and live in the land of make believe, but I live in the constant shadow of death. I cannot be free of that, my transplant offered me some freedom, some respite, but now that option has gone away. I don’t want to know my current paraprotein level, because the future seems so unattainable and I don’t want to get my hopes up again. I believe other people think this too, I know this, because my insomnia tells me that too. This is why I am trying so hard to be seen, because, I constantly fear it is all going to come tumbling down. I am going to come tumbling down and nobody will acknowledge he much I like Kate Bush.

This is my situation and I deal with it as best I can, I just, everyday, at least once, wish that I didn’t have to. It’s so slow and there is no sign of a resolution. People want to know why I cannot sleep, in addition to the drugs, and the obvious answer to the question I do not want to be asked, is try carrying this around with you everyday and taking it to bed every night. Does nobody want to tell me that my aspirations can only be realised in my sleep? Do they think what I think too? Are they humouring me? Who is taking pity on me, some of you are, you told me? Who is put off by it? Is this it?

How was your Friday night?

If my Friday night has taught me anything, apart from the power of solidarity, predictably is safe and it is comfort and in this I find some comfort. Maybe not for the reasons you expect, but I do. There may be a time when spontaneity wipes me off my feet, but not now. For now, I will take my Friday because that is all I can do. Except it is now Saturday. The birds are singing.

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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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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