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The Life Changing Magic

And just like that chemo is over......and I can get back to 'normal'

Chemo drugs

14 days ago I had my final chemo session. 

It feels so strange that the 6 sessions I'd dreaded starting last September, are over! And if I'm honest, what i thought would be a celebration was an anti climax. My nurses had had a shit day. One chemo patient had really bad reaction. And they'd left the ward before I had my shoes on so I couldn't thank them properly for the care they'd given me. 

Then I was hit hard by the side effects. I felt really sick by 6pm and just wanted my bed. So I sent Jim to play football and i went to sleep. Plus. Lets be honest. Who actually cared that it was my last session but me? So I'm yet to celebrate it. I doubt I actually will. It was such a long time ago now. The bottle of Moet in the fridge can just wait for another event. 

So here I am. Post chemo. Having taken my last lot of drugs. Being told left right and centre that I'm done with treatment. That I'm all sorted now. It's over. Mostly I just smile and nod. I don't have the heart to tell people that in a week I have a planning session to start my radiotherapy. That there are 23 sessions of that to go. That the CT scan they'll do at that session terrifies me, because who knows what's going on in my body.  That I have no clue how the radiotherapy might affect me. 

I'm told I can get back to normal now. But I'm not sure that people grasp that the 'normal' me that went in to this with won't be the normal that comes out. That I won't be the same. I won't be normal any more. Not for a while at least. 

How can i be? Chemo might be over but the side effects are still going strong; 

I can't straighten my arms without them hurting because of the cording in my veins.
I can barely make it round the park without stopping. Hell. I can barely make it through the day without a nap. I'm just so tired all the time.
I forget what I am doing all the time. I forget things I said I'd do. I forget pretty much everything unless I write it down.
My hair is shit. Really shit. It needs some moisture. And dyeing. And de-frizzing. It needs to be the 8 inches it longer it was this time last year.
And my stomach needs to un-bloat after the drugs.
And I burst in to tears all the time.
And I need to reassess how I'm spending my life.
Oh and lose the weight I've put on during chemo before I start taking a drug, for 5 years, that is known to make you gain weight. The joy!

So no. I don't think I can get 'back to normal' just yet. I'm going to try my hardest but it might not be as easy as everyone thinks it will be!

And if any of you have been wondering what it's like to have chemo - I made this video for Instagram a while back. I haven't shared it here but maybe it's time?


A post shared by Em. (@ohgoshem) on

Creating Latte Art with the Nespresso Creatista

The thing I've discovered about having treatment is we're always having to make drinks for the people who come round to see if we're OK. Which would be fine if everyone wanted a glass of water but guests keep wanting coffee.  

I have no qualms with sending Jim to make drinks for people (it's his job because, you know, cancer and all that. On a side note - how long can I use that excuse with him?) But as we've been living with a slightly broken, really slow and fiddly coffee machine for the last, well, forever, it seems a bit mean to keep shipping him off to the kitchen! Especially as everyone we have round seems to take their coffee a different way.
But we might have a solution. This week a Nespresso Creatista arrived in our kitchen and it's already changing the way we entertain guests! It's the first pod coffee machine we've had but I have to say it's really impressing us so far. I've even gone as far as to set up a coffee station in the kitchen so if needs be guests can just help themselves. 
It heats up in a fraction of the time of our old machine, there are eight different coffee settings on the Creatista, including flat white which is Jim's drink of choice, 4 different levels of milk frothing, which I am loving playing with because the selling point of the Creatista is that it makes creating latte art easy. 
Although I am not sure that the people who created the machine and figure latte art is easy have met me. No matter which of the milk frothing settings I choose, I just can't make the patterns appear. Jim thought my first attempt looked really rude, and well, this latest one looks less like the heart that I intended it to be, and more like a bum! Although it's clearly due to lack of skill as my friend Zoe came round to see me and she managed to create some really pretty patterns! But I blame that on her barista training. I mean she has an unfair advantage right?

But you tell me - bum or heart?
Luckily for the people being subjected to my latte art attempts I'm off to the Creatista Studio in Leeds next week for some pointers in how to make the perfect patterns in the top of the drinks I'm serving them. I'll be beating Zoe at her own game in no time! The pop up will be in the Victoria Quarter until the 19th so if you're in Leeds drop in and see the Creatista team and see what art you can create! 

Travel: We're off to Washington, Philadelphia & New York!

Earlier this year I posted about our travel plans for the year and I mentioned the trip we had planned to California snowboarding - but that had to be postponed due to my chemo schedule. Initially we thought we might take the trip, just later in the year, but we've decided that we want to take the California trip when we can go snowboarding so have put it off until next year!

BUT.........But........but.........we still had some airmiles that needed spending, and a celebratory end of treatment holiday to take so, after some moving of my radiotherapy dates, we have booked a new trip. 

So, the day after my treatment finishes our new trip we're flying First Class in to Washington, (yup, you read that right, First Class, thank you airmiles) driving up to Philadelphia, then on to New York and the Hamptons (Well, this Hamptons bit will be on if I can convince Jim that we should go. He's clearly not watched enough Gossip Girl as I'm just not sure he's up for it!) Then we're flying out of New York 18 days later. 

As we only booked it yesterday we've not planned how long we'll be in each place, where we'll stay, where we'll go in between. We've not planned what we should see, where we have to eat or any of the things we already had sorted for the California trip. 

So if you have any recommendations of what we should be doing, hit me up - I want to know your tips, tricks and must visits!