No 43 on the List for Living

43) Pull a pint in a proper pub

When my school friend Miche said she had a Friday night surprise for me, I had no idea what she had planned. It was only after we arrived at a traditional country pub and she introduced me to the manager that I realised I’d be going behind the bar.

It was only last week that I popped to Paris just for lunch. I never imagined that I’d end up doing something else off my List for Living quite so soon.

It was a good way to end an awful day. The chemo is really starting to take its toll. I’m more tired than ever. I’ve changed my treatment day to Wednesdays. So Fridays are now the worst day of the week. Just because my time left is short, it doesn’t mean every single moment is brilliant. Sometimes my biggest achievement is getting out of bed.

I put this on my List for Living as I’ve enjoyed pretending to work behind a bar in the past but I’ve never actually pulled a pint in a proper pub.

Miche – the organiser of the pull!

The venue chosen by my friend was in the middle of nowhere with little street lighting. Small and quaint, the pub didn’t even have an indoor toilet! But it was full of locals, all intrigued by my keenness to get behind the pumps. The barman gave me a quick lesson. First I had a practise.

And then it was onto number 43 on my List for Living.

It felt great pulling my first proper pint. Standing behind the bar. Doing something a bit different. Totally unconnected with the cancer. What a fantastic surprise night out.

What with all the hospital visits, the sickness and the stress, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are. You’re a patient for so much of the time. It can be overwhelming and squashes the person you were before all of this.

In such a simple way, this reminded me that I’m more than just someone living with a killer disease.

The steroids may be messing with my moods but pulling the pint made me feel much more like me. I thought that my List for Living would just be a lovely way of doing fun stuff with people who mean a lot to me. Creating a whole load of special memories. However I didn’t realise that the list would enable them to help me feel better.

As I write this, a few days later, I still feel chemo shattered. I’ve done very little since but it makes me happy that I have managed to do something special.

16 thoughts on “No 43 on the List for Living

  1. You’re absolutely right Helen, why sit around waiting to die, enjoy every day, and what a wonderful way to do things that you had always wanted to do and never got around to. Even friends often don’t know what to say or do to help so you have done them a great favour. Your a courageous lady and have encouraged me so much. God bless Kay

  2. Brilliant Helen, not an easy thing to do. I would have been honoured to drink your first pint!

  3. Wow Helen! Just loving your List For Living – What an inspiration you are! Keep going you are doing great! All the best Izzy :0)

  4. I look forward to reading your blogs….having been through chemo myself i can always relate to what you write and after reading you always leave me with a smile on my face…keep strong. Xx

  5. Yaay! I chose to pull a pint when we visited the Guinness Brewery in Dublin last year and it was great fun. Glad you got to pull-off number 43 :)

    Did you drink it or serve it?

  6. Well done Helen ! Been through the same as you with same prognosis, now doing the same, nearly 6 years on !

    I hope you did drink it !

  7. Great stuff Helen! Hav pulled the odd pint myself and yes it is always good. U are fantastic. Hang on in there. I have had my first recurrence after 5 months free so ur attitude is doing me a power of good ! Loved ur lunch in Paris-just my thing! However living in Ireland it’s not so easy to hop on a train. Hope chemo not to hard tday.Winnie


  8. You look perfect for the part of busty, friendly barmaid.

    As for “it’s easy to lose sight of who you are. You’re a patient for so much of the time. It can be overwhelming and squashes the person you were before all of this.” I totally relate. I’m just starting to find myself again as I’m recovering from a stem cell transplant. But also questioning who the new me is or will be… Curious times, eh?

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