Tag Archives: Christmas

Last Christmas

The following was written some time ago, but unfortunately, I live in a world full of germs and I caught Influenza A and subsequently forgot that I had written this blog, let alone that I needed to post it. It seems a shame to waste my ramblings; so close your eyes (then open them again so you can read) and take yourself all the way back to December 2016:

  πŸŽ„ πŸŽ…πŸ» πŸŽ„ πŸŽ…πŸ» πŸŽ„ πŸŽ…πŸ» πŸŽ„ πŸŽ…πŸ» πŸŽ„ πŸŽ…πŸ»  πŸŽ„ 

You may think that Christmas was so last year, but as today is the 10th Day of Christmas, I think I can just about sneak a blog post about Christmas under the radar.  Plus, ordinarily I love Christmas, so it would be remiss of me after a year of blogging very little, to not recognise Christmas as it is a pivotal part of my annual calendar.

This year, things were different. I found it incredibly diffficult to get into the Christmas spirit. The Christmas spirit usually comes so easy to me. The drugs seemed to have sucked all the energy out of me, preventing me from participating in some of my favourite Christmas activities. Thus, going through December, I was not seeing combinations of red and gold and getting goosebumps, I wasn’t singing O Come All Ye Faithful in the shower. I felt nothing. I know what the main cause for my humbug was, and it opens one up to saying a crude but well timed joke about George Michael; was this, 2016, going to be my last Christmas? I’m not plucking this negativity from the air by the way, there’s a genuine (outside) chance that it was. With that seed planted, what Hope was there to have an innocent, Myeloma free Christmas? 

So, when it came to making my beloved Christmas cards, cards that I had designed and invested time and money into, and had been thinking about since September: I just couldn’t do it. For at least three days, I slept next to all of my craft paraphernalia convinced it would help me complete them. It’s a similar strategy I employed at university walking round with the biography of Menachem Begin for six weeks, hoping that it would go in via osmosis. It didn’t work then either. Comparing the feeling I had to university stress is apt. The enjoyment I was gained from this activity, had passed. All I felt was undue stress. 

I argued with myself for three weeks. You enjoy it, Emma! Pull your finger out, Emma ! Everybody is expecting them! You are a failure! That was one side, the other side just rolled over and fell asleep. It seems like such a mundane thing to get so upset over, but upset I was. Every year since I was diagnosed, I have made my own Christmas cards. Last year, I made and sent over 50. Was the fact I could not do them a sign that medically, I am detiorating or had the Grinch simply stolen my Christmas?   

I cannot answer those questions, but on top of not making and sending Christmas cards, I also failed to do any Christmas themed baking or make the additional decorations for my tree I had been planning for months. The weight of each of incomplete activity, was unfathomable. Is it really possible for me to have an enjoyable Christmas without all the planned activities I once deemed to be fun? 

I refused to give in. I sought any excuse for my humbug that did not involve Myeloma and the makings of a bad TV movie. It must have been somewhere. The search felt endless. Could my lack of festive feeling be due to my age?  That’s never been an issue before, so Veto. 

Due to financial restraints brought on by  not working and being on benefits , I was unable to buy many Christmas presents. Thinking about what gifts I can buy my loved ones and wrapping them up in a style to suit the recipients personality, has always been a Christmas highlight. But alas, that was no longer open to me. I found that I did not even have the energy to think about presents. 

What about work? I thought. My experience of working in an office is that during the month of December (and the back end of November) there would be at least one discussion a day about Christmas. Work drinks, family drinks, Christmas presents, wrapping; the talk was endless. Despite forcing myself to watch endless Christmas movies, perhaps my failure to socialise with colleagues, buoying each other’s festive spirits up day in day and day out was the cause of my sadness. 2016 also marked the first Christmas I had not been invited to a work Christmas Do since I was 14. 

Could that really be it? Had being forgotten by my work colleagues ruined Christmas? In short, no. Veto. I was invited to the Christmas party last year and chose not to go because I could not afford it, and I did not feel any the worse off. Like last year, my free time has to be used and planned carefully. I do not have seven days and seven nights to play with anymore.

It would also be wrong not to mention the level of pain I was in during December. I was in a lot of increasing pain, which on many a day, prevented me from moving. I don’t know how responsible it is, but my chronic pain was definitely guilty of ruining some of December. Upon return to my mother’s I discovered that I could no longer climb stairs without using both banisters. Yet another sign of deterioration perhaps?

Somewhere around the middle of December, coincidently, the day Rogue One was released, something strange happened. I uttered the words out loud that I was not going to be able to complete the cards, Mamma Jones told me it did not matter, and I began to relax. I really relaxed. My dear sweet Mamma lifted the weight off my shoulders at a most crucial time.  Socialising time. 

The 16 December launched four days of back to back socialising, which believe me, is now something very hard for me to do. I was suddenly busy and somewhere in that busy-ness, and laughs with my friends, I stopped dwelling. I stopped yearning for what once was and I began to enjoy myself. I smelt satsumas, mince pies and sang along to the Muppets. Finding my way out my slump gave me goosebumps.

And then, there was home. Home. Aware, at least I think they were aware, that I had been on a long Myeloma Downer, my family pulled out all the stops (at least I think that it was intentional). Christmas itself was marvellous. For the nine days I was home, Big Sister and her offspring were around for eight of them. I felt loved. The time went so quickly, that when it came to New Year’s Eve, I did not want to leave my family. For leaving meant that Christmas would be over and we might not know another one like it. 

Before I move on, anybody advising positivity, believe me when I say that I do not want my fears to become a self fulfilling prophecy. My fears are real and I cope with them by voicing them, much to the chagrin of my loved ones. I see things more clearly this way.

I did not intend to enjoy Christmas. I had been so worried that it was going to be my Last Christmas, that I was convinced I would find every tradition, every action, melancholy. Melancholy doesn’t cover it, I thought that every tradition, every action would rip my heart out through my throat and lay it bare for all the world to see. Thankfully, that did not happen. 

This photo clearly shows me unwillingly embarking on my journey back to London Town.

For me, our Jones Family Christmas worked so well because everybody, well all eight of us, was home. At no point was I stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Between Mamma Jones, Big Sister and my neices, I had plenty to do. We did things together as a family and had family fun; I wanted to bottle the feeling up and savour it. 

I do wonder, with the benefit of a few days of hindsight, if it is possible to have a Christmas without the feeling that it will be my Last. Should I have just saved this blog for next Christmas? It’s the unknown. Everything from here is unknown.  I do know that things are changing, I can feel it in my aching bones. I was aware as of the 22 December that my treatment is going to change at some point in the near future, meaning my current treatment is failing. We are running out of options. Another daily thought that added weight to this theory of doom. 

I spent my New Year’s Eve with some friends, doing things that adults do like watching Jools Holland, eating nibbles off paper plates and playing board games. Somehow, I managed to stay out until 4am. I don’t think I did that for all of 2016. To fast forward, I did not have a hangover on New Year’s Day. A success by no stretch of the imagination. 

For the evening in question, I had managed to surround myself with good people and there were a few times during the evening that I could feel that hand approaching my heart again, ready to detach it from my body. I really am full of emotions these days. I don’t want to repeat earlier paragraphs, but essentially high from my visit home, now surrounded by friends I love, I wished that this was not my last New Year’s Eve. 

Despite being asked the question, I did not make any resolutions for 2017. I do not see the point, not for me anyway. Every time I was asked about resolutions or plans for 2017, my answer was the same. I do not want to make noticeable  changes. I want to keep on living. I want to be able to do what I am doing, maintain my freedom.  I want to enjoy my friends and my family. Most of all, I want to be able to make the most of my good days and get through the bad. 

Perhaps these are resolutions after all. 

And this is where the writing stopped and the flu took over. It took over for a whole fortnight, marking a great start to 2017. I know what caused the flu (New Year’s Eve) and who the culprit was (Nameless). I still would not trade NYE’s, despite the vomit and general foulness of the flu. I was ‘living’, right?

EJB x

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Some Festive Cheer

It is Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve happens to be one of the best days of the year, if like me, you happen to love Christmas. I am Kevin McCallister, such is my love of Christmas, it’s traditions and the pure wonder that can be a nicely decorated Christmas tree. This Christmas, more than the last two I have with the disease they call myeloma, I have planned and longed for a ‘normal’ Christmas. By ‘normal’ I mean ‘special’. I had meticulously planned something so much better than the 12 Days of Christmas, so that I could enjoy every single moment of Christmas commercialism. I wanted to gorge on Bing Crosby and Jimmy Stewart until the leftover meat fertilises next year’s tomatoes.

By today, according to my plan, all I should be doing is some elective baking, some constant film watching and some smiling. That is not what I will be doing today. Instead, I have all my presents to wrap, one present to buy and copious amounts of rest to fit in where and wherever I can find it. The need for rest is making me act like Scrooge at the beginning of the Muppet’s Christmas Carol. I do not have the time for it, and all it does is remind me what I was supposed to do.

The reason for my childish want of a normal Christmas will become more apparent as 2015 progresses.

I should have known that my plans would have gone wrong. I should have known that instead of coming back to my parents’ house early to enjoy my nieces’ festive excitement, I would be coming home to my parents’ house to get into bed, via A&E with some antibiotics. I have been a good girl this year; I did not need coal. I have been unwell every Christmas since my diagnosis, so I suppose I am just carrying on with the new tradition.

Now, I would be the first person to put my hands up in the air and wave them around to confirm that I have been displaying the sort of behaviour that shows that I care very much about Christmas and the more I care, the more option I give the myeloma to deviate from it.

Over the last few weeks I have been slowly tying myself in emotional knots in festive anticipation. I have a wonderful example of this. Much to his dismay, and my own surprise, Housemate recently incurred my mighty festive wrath after showed some initiative by taking the Christmas tree out of it’s box and put some fairy lights on it whilst I was out galavanting at 16:00hrs one afternoon. My initial reaction and then the one 24 hours after the deed was done, were ones that some, if they were being polite, could describe as ‘an overreaction’. As I concluded the following day, there is a lot of emotion connected to that Christmas tree. I do not want to be morbid, so I shall not type why it upset me, but if you add a failed bone marrow transplant to future Christmases, you’ll get somewhere near my reasons for wanting a saccharine Christmas.

I do tell myself that I have to be stronger and that I should not complain about my situation. Indeed, I do not want to complain about my situation. Myeloma and Christmas just do not go together and I know that despite what will follow in this blog, there are other families who will feel more pain than I this Christmas. To them, I apologise for my self indulgence…

That said, as it is Christmas Eve, I want to find the festive cheer that left my loins five days ago. In the lead up to Christmas I dragged myself North, South, East and West in order to fully embrace, as fully as my body would allow, the festive good times. There was a voice in the back of my head as I typed the last sentence telling me that I just lied to you. I should have added that as much as I wanted to do everything I did in the lead up, I knew that doing it all would be bad for my body especially when my hospital added five appointments last week. The bespectacled voice also says I probably should have shown more strength and stayed in when I needed to and I should have worried a little bit less about letting people down and had the confidence to think my friends would understand that me needing to stay in and lie on my sofa is not a reflection of my love for them, but is in actual fact, much needed medicine that would have got me to Christmas Day without a temperature of 38.6.

Alas, whilst I will still make it to Christmas Day, I will not make it in the way in which I had planned. I will not have the time to watch the films I wanted to watch nor will I bake the things there are a not enough people in the family to eat. I might not be able to rubber stamp my own wrapping paper for Ebenezer’s sake.

This illness crept up on me at my cousin’s fabulous wedding at the weekend. Not particularly unwell with anything drastic, but I had a fever, a cough and the things that usual accompany fevers and coughs. An annoyance if one is healthy, something a bit more if you are receiving treatment for myeloma. I do not have the resilience to battle it. True to form, to A&E I went on Monday for four whole hours for IV antibiotics. The general public out there with their bugs do not have to do that. They might complain like I am right now though.

Anyway, Mamma Jones says I have to try and get out of bed now. I just watched Die Hard 2: Die Harder. I only added that so you know that I am trying to find some good in a bad situation. I just wish, given the importance of this Christmas, I could do it without factoring myeloma into every single task.

If George Bailey has taught me anything it is that one should be thankful for what they have, so that is what I am going to try to do today and with that in mind, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

πŸŽ„πŸŽ„πŸŽ„

EJB x

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A Christmas Message

Ho Ho Ho. Can I get an echo? Yes I can, Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas.

Today is Christmas Day. Today is my second Christmas Day with My Myeloma, and although I am still sitting in the dark, in my clammy, night sweat riddled pyjamas, with a sore throat, a blocked nose, maybe moderately depressed, having had a broken night’s sleep, I can say hands down, that I feel much better than I did 365 days ago. I will need to nap later, and the reason for that is a whole other blog, but I do not anticipate any steroid crashing today, one needs to be on steroids for that, and so, I know that this year will be better. I just reread my blogs from last year, and I know it will be better. That said, myeloma still has the ability to make Christmas feel important. It is important for everybody of course, but in my strange, abnormally large head, myeloma brings pressure at Christmas. Pressure and bad thoughts.

For me, like the birthday now, Christmas Day, is a countdown in reverse, always accompanied with the thought of ‘how many of these do I have left? It’s my second now, so if the stats are right, I get eight more, right?’ I try not to believe that of course. I do not think I have ever done anything really wrong to warrant the naughty list, and Santa Claus is not a cruel man. The stats are wrong. At least, that is what I tell myself to get through the day. Nobody wants Christmas to be a myeloma downer. Myeloma has taken away enough already. Christmas should be FUN. MEGA FUN. Myeloma does take away some of my pre-Christmas fun, because in the back of my head, in addition to feeling the presence of the grim reaper, I know that something could go wrong with my body, this ruining Christmas for everybody on this universe, so I have spent much of the last month begging my body to get me to the 25th December without any glitches. I managed to get today with antibiotics, but that is better than the alternatives my mind can create. It is also better than the alternatives that happen to people with myeloma all over this fair land. Christmas is for loved ones and hospital love is not quite the same as family love is it?

And so, because I have a lot to be thankful for on this Christmas + 2, what with being well and in remission and all, I am going to attempt to not think about myeloma again today. It has had its time in my head today. After all, what is the point of worrying about what is going to happen to tomorrow, today, especially when today is the day after the night before when Santa Claus came down the chimney. I am going the rest of the day thinking about my family, the immediate mostly, all the Telfer’s or whatever they are called now in the North, the Jones’s in the South, my friends all over the place, my presents and my gut. That sounds like a good day.

Christmas is about the good sort of sentimentality, not the bad sort.

Must dash now, I have children waiting. So, without further adieu, I wish you all a very merry and healthy Christmas.

Much love and all that jazz,
EJBx

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Overindulgence?

The Jones Clan has their Christmas dinner on Boxing Day. We always have and I believe we always will, except this year, we did not have a traditional Christmas dinner. It was agreed last year, after much protest from one particular family member, that we would not have a roast dinner again for our family meal. I was outraged. As it turned out, you can be just as greedy with a three course meal that does not include a roasted bird and pork loin, than you can with one that includes said roasts. In fact, you can be really greedy.

Fast forward to seven hours later however, and yours truly was poorly. Very poorly. For four months, it has been a daily struggle for me to, well, you know. It was not a struggle for me on Wednesday night. I was reunited with something with the greatest of ease. I also had to request a pail. I should have realised something was not quite right throughout the day, when I was, well, you know, all day long. I was you knowing, all over the place and loudly. It was a point of discussion. Sure it is uncouth, but I have cancer. Plus I was with my family, I do not have a boyfriend and I am very much a believer in flatulence being funny (in the right circumstance). It was not funny after 45 minutes in a little room, which was proceeded by me having to go to bed at 20:00hrs feeling sorry for myself.

In all my years previous to this one, I would have blamed the pain, dizziness, sweating and you know, on pure gluttony. It may still have been the reason I was ill, but I have another little friend you can blame things on now. I hate that. My Myeloma makes every change to my body sinister. Would I have been as ill if I did not have myeloma? We will never know… and as with all things that relate to my body, I hate that.

If you are sitting around thinking that you overindulged this Christmas and need to exercise, on Boxing Day, I ate the following; a bowl of Rice Crispies with Gold Top milk, three roast potatoes, a slice of ham, three slices of leftover roast pork, half a block of large Brie (I know I shouldn’t really eat Brie), a bowl of pea and ham soup with a Big Sister twirl of cream, bread, a few spoonfuls of chutney, three portions of beef stroganoff with fillet and rice, a mouthful of Stilton (I know I shouldn’t really be eating Stilton either), three brandy snaps filled with extra thick double cream, three glasses of Prosecco and a bottle of beer. I *might* have also squeezed in three clementines at some point, it is a little hazy.

Impressed or repulsed? If it is the former, did I mention I was single?

Oh, and in case this blog is too subtle for you, I believe my five year old niece explains it well in the text message below… She is her mother’s daughter.

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A Christmas Reality

Today is done. Today, is Christmas Day of course, or the 25 December 2012. As I expected, despite trying, today has been bittersweet. My body played ball for approximately four hours this morning, before I crashed and burned, cried, opened my presents and cried again, snoozed, watched a film and ate.

Tears today were inevitable, but how poorly I felt at approximately 14:00hrs today was not. So, being the brave lass I am, I cried. I cried because I wanted to feel better so I could open my presents with energy. Alas, I did not have energy. Stupid Myeloma. If I am perfectly honest, I cried because I have myeloma. There was no escaping it today. Stupid Myeloma.

πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸ’©πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸ’©πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸ’©πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…

Why couldn’t Santa Claus make it go away?

πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸ’©πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸ’©πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸ’©πŸŽ…πŸŽ…πŸŽ…

At least I was spoilt and got lots of other presents. It is clear from my gifts that at the tender age of 28, I am over the hill. Today, I got a slow cooker, a cook book, smellies, knives and a period drama. I loved them all. Next stop? A sewing machine. For sure.

I would also list how much I have eaten today, but I am not Bridget Jones. Not yet.

Night night,

EJB x

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A Christmas Message

It’s Christmas Day. I made it to Christmas Day. I am awake and ready to spend the day with my family. In. Your. Face. Myeloma. You could not take it away from me.

I had considered doing a video message for you all, but seeing as it is Christmas and you are all likely to get lots of gifts already today, I thought the gift of seeing the laughter behind my eyes too much. One can have too much of a good thing. I will save that treat for a rainy day in January when today is but a memory, and the fact I have a lifelong cancer won’t matter so much.

The last five days have been tough. Real tough. Tougher than my previous cycles and the fault for that belongs to Christmas. I have and will continue to try my hardest to pretend that this is just a normal Christmas, but it’s not. Everybody knows it is not. I have cancer. My Myeloma is not the elephant in the room, because I am confronting it at every moment of the day. As I lay in bed, hoping for my Christmas wish to come true, every time I closed my eyes or it was silent, the words ‘cancer, myeloma and death’ would appear in my head. That really is not the spirit of Christmas, at least not the one Hollywood has taught me. I know though that there are only so many tears I want to spend thinking about it, because it is indeed Christmas and I do want to enjoy myself and spread the Christmas cheer. Take today’s outfit for example, I look like a postmodern Christmas tree and that my friends is on purpose.

I want to tell you all the things I have learnt this year; and advise those not as blessed as me, how to live their lives better, much like the Queen will at 15:00hrs today. Unfortunately, I do not think that Santa brought me enough words for that and this blog is time bound. Thus, because it is Christmas Day, I will warm your heartstrings and in the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, say “it’s true wherever you find love it feels like Christmas, it feels like Christmas, it feels like Christmas, it feels like Christmas” goddammit.

Now, us Jones and James Cottam Flooring are going to try and have a good time. We have two Christmas trees… which says it all. We are the bomb.

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Merry Christmas to one and all, and to my friends and family, I love you long time.

EJB x

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A Christmas Carol

Today, I stuck too firm fingers up to my chemotherapy treatment and its, frankly sadistic side effects, and ventured out of my bed for some Christmas joy.

I love London at Christmas, even in the rain. My journey from East to West at the start of my evening, was a stark reminder of how much My Myeloma has made me miss out on this festive season. Sure, people have come to me, but I have not been able to walk along the Southbank finishing my journey by crossing the Millennium Bridge to reveal the Christmas Tree at St Paul’s Cathedral, I have not been able to see the commercialism of the Oxford Street Christmas lights and I have not been able to do my Christmas shopping in an actual shop. Simple pleasures, but things I have missed and things I long for. More simply, I want to sit outside the British Film Institute, drinking a mulled wine whilst smoking a cigarette, and just watch the festive fun walk before my eyes. Alas, there is always 2013. The closest I had gotten to a Central London Christmas, until 18:30hrs this evening, was the photograph below from my taxi.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the sights of London, that is the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree. It is normally impressive when not viewed through a car window in the rain. Oh, Bethlehem!

As with most things in life, I will not permit myself to be all doom and gloom for long, for this evening, once that melancholia was out the way, my body held out just long enough for me to attend a carol service in Westminster Abbey.* Middlesborough once again came up top trumps with two tickets to the Civil Service Evening of Fun and Flirting With Faith. The tickets were obtained through fair and open competition and at no time was my illness mentioned. No way, Housana.

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Now, if you are a fan of the Christmas Carols, you have never really experienced them until you have sat in Westminster Abbey accompanied by the Abbey’s Choir and the Grenadier Guards. You really haven’t. For a whole hour, bar approximately five minutes if I am being honest, my arms were goose pimpled and I was festive. It was, quite simply, majestic, even if my singing was not. High notes and me are not friends as I am sure Housemate would testify when my iPod is on.

The blessings however, did bring my current ailment home to me. My Myeloma is never far from my mind, but in times like these and one is exposed to faith and prayer towards the sick and infirm, you have to ask, why me? If there is an omnibenevolent God, where is the love in whacking me with this big shit covered stick of cancer? I am sure most the congregation did not ask themselves this when the words were spoken. Most of them were believers and were there for the hymns and the hymns alone.

It cannot however hurt to ask oneself occasionally whether you have faith and then, as I do, ask the question above and realise that there is no rhyme nor reason to life’s turbulence. It is what it is, and it is happening because it is happening. I have no intention of ‘giving myself to God’ as somebody suggested earlier in the week. I just ask that those who do believe pray for me. Just so I am covering all the bases. Just in case. All I know, and do not not know a lot as my basic knowledge of theology demonstrates, is that I am just bloody fortunate that their are people in my life who take me to Westminster Abbey at Christmas. And that is something to be thankful for this Christmas Time, Mistletoe and Wine.

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So there you have it. I have seen the last of what London has to offer this Christmas. The chemotherapy has now won out, I am sick and my body is not going to wake up again properly until Christmas Day. At least I got a few hours. I was faithful to my body, and now I am joyful and triumphant.

God Bless Us, Everyone.

* For future reference, private photography is strictly prohibited in the Abbey, despite the Abbey once transmitting images of Elton John’s eyebrows slow dancing in there across the globe. Life can be unfair sometimes. Sure.

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The Hostess

Today, I have successfully shown myself that if the time is right, I am well rested and driven, that I, Miss Emma Jane Jones can still be a hostess. I bloody love being a hostess. Today, as much as it was about having my friends round for Christmas nibbles, it was about proving to myself that this part of me, can still exist, even if I have to try a little bit harder than I did in my pre myeloma days. In your face myeloma.

I have said previously how much I like organised fun and and how much I love Christmas. Put the two together and I am in heaven. Well not heaven, I don’t want to be in heaven. Let’s just say I am in a place where one has a lot of fun. So, My Christmas Nibbles, with Housemate on the music was a delight.

Everybody who turned up, made the six hours of preparation yesterday and four hours today worthwhile. Actually, baking is always worthwhile, but it was better than that. Everybody who turned up made my week. I can rarely go to them, so the fact so many came to me makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and smug. The thought that they only came because of My Myeloma has been pushed out of my mind. Maybe it was a factor, but not the only factor, even for the really hungover ones. My feet are also buzzing, but I think that is just because I stood up too long.

I go to bed this evening happy. Even after everybody left, I was alone and had to take my evening dose of morphine. I suppose that this could just be the mulled wine talking.

I have even followed my instructions and left the cleaning until the morning, well, I have left the dishes.

I could list everything I made, but that would be boring. You can just look at some of the pictures.

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Now for sleep. I fear I will pay for it tomorrow, my body aches all over, but I am positive that if that is the case, it was worth it.

Seasons greetings.

EJB x

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The Edible Christmas Tree πŸŽ„

WARNING – This blog contains the word ‘Christmas’ many, many times over. I want no Scrooge’s here please.

Ho! Ho! HO! It is Christmas.

At EJB Headquarters, we are fans of this festive period. It has always been the case, except that EJB did not exist before this Christmas. My Myeloma is about to have its first Christmas and if I were Santa Claus, I would be giving it a nice dirty lump of coal. I am not Santa, I am female, so I am going to try and spend the rest of the month trying not to acknowledge My Myeloma’s presence. The chances of success are 50/50.

Christmas for me should be a romanticised Dickensian dream with the added features of the motion picture, buying on credit and the satsuma. I expect giving and receiving, roasted food products, carols, indulgence, The Muppets and Capraesque revelations of love and redemption. I know that Christmas is a religious celebration, but I put my hands up right now and say that that is not for me, I have tried, truly I have, but yep, no. I like My Christmas.

In my Christmas Past, My Christmas has involved organised fun. I like to force people to come together in a controlled environment and make them enjoy themselves. This may include board games, theatre trips, films and it will definitely include alcohol. I usually want to infect people with my festive cheer. Friends and family have all had to endure my attempts and desire to maintain, or lets me honest, establish, tradition. I am one of those people.

My Christmas Present is strange. There are clearly things that I cannot do because of My Myeloma. Out are my ticketed trips and Christmas drinks, which last year might have been a little excessive. In, is overspending and baking in a desperate attempt to show my gratitude to others. I am overcompensating. Every aspect of my life is touched by My Myeloma, and Christmas is no different. Myeloma is a Grinch-type beast. Periodically the thought pops into my head that this may be my last Christmas. It comes in and I quickly throw it away and I then go and make something for somebody or put a considerable amount of effort into making my flat look like it has been decorated by a toddler. The thought is there, so I am trying all I can to make sure that I do not dwell on it and that I have as traditional an EJ Christmas as possible. I have calculated that if I can keep things normal, then I will not over think the injustice of having an active cancer in my body on 25 December or the knowledge that My Myeloma will be present for all my Christmases to come. I hate the idea of my brain stopping myself in the middle of my Christmas fun, to remind me that I have cancer. At one point over the next twenty days it is bound to happen. Let’s be honest, I probably need it to prevent further fractures.

I just really, really want to hold on to my Christmas Past.

My counsellor said that my coping mechanisms for overcoming the above are practical and are based in my life pre myeloma. I think she is correct. I have planned and partially executed Christmas based activities, with the hope that it keeps me occupied, is enjoyed by others and maintains some sort of stability in the life that is mine. I only really need to say ‘handicrafts’ and you will get the gist of what I have been doing. My goal on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week was to decorate the flat with homemade items, including my edible Christmas tree. The edible Christmas tree is fake, you cannot eat that, but you can eat 75% of the decorations. I personally threaded popcorn for five hours, stabbing myself with a needle at least three times. If you look carefully, you can see my blood on a few of the kernels. Eat that. Next week is all about the Christmas baking before I endure my next round of chemotherapy. I have planned to do too much. Crucially, I have realised, that I would have done this before, and this pleases me. I may not have spent five hours with a needle and thread, but I would have told somebody that I was going to bake x amount, put myself under pressure to do it, ended up doing more than I said I would, and enjoyed the whole thing. Apparently, this is ‘healthy’ behaviour.

Going back to my flat though, it really does look like Christmas vomited in there along with the farmhouse kitchen, albeit tastefully. Decorating whilst listening to some banging Christmas tunes was just the tonic after my weekend of fatigue. I do not need your compliments, I know it looks good.

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I am clearly expected a flurry of Christmas cards…

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‘Vintage’ paper chains and books. Classy.

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Handcrafted by G.Bourgeois

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Must use up the shop bought decorations of yesteryear. Must use up the shop bought decorations of yesteryear

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See above

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Clearly, I am an artiste

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See above

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12 hours well spent

Who knows what my Christmas Future holds? Not me, but then I do not know yours either. Perhaps if I do not have faith in God, I should have faith that I will see many more Christmases. You need a leap of faith sometimes, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ told me so.

EJB x

Oh and remember, ‘the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.’ Profound.

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Nineteen

At 11:25hrs this morning, I received a call from the hospital informing me that my paraprotein had reduced by four, below the halfway mark to 19. Nineteen.

Thank all the swear words for that.

I now get to have a Christmas at home with my family and I get to keep what is left of my hair for a little bit longer. Knowing that at some point in the new year, I will undergo a high dose of chemotherapy (aka The Diet), I have decided to indulge this Christmas. Cream can now be yogurt to me.

I could write reams and reams about how relieved and happy I am about the news I received this morning, but I have decided to get up and enjoy my day instead. I have chutney and scones to make.

Many thanks for all the messages this morning. I think my body heard what it had to do.

EJB x

In case you thought this was all over, I should probably warn you that I get to go through all of this again in three weeks time, just without the possibility of spending my Christmas in a hospital bed with T13’s Angels. That will be 2013’s challenge.

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