Showing blog posts tagged with: hotels

Booked!

by Hilla Duka - View comments

Holiday

This past week has been so rough, physically and mentally. Physically mainly because of the different tests I’ve had to undergo for my halftime evaluation, and in part because I chose to participate in life. I went to vote, and I deliberately wanted to do it on the election day (even though it meant standing in line for ages). I don’t know how many more times I’ll get to go and vote, so I wanted to do it properly. I went bowling with the kids, and after much persuasion I actually did some bowling myself (the last time was in my teens, I ended up dropping the ball and someone was hit in the head...) My fingers and my hands hurt for the rest of the day and then some, but it was worth it to do something fun with the kids (they all love bowling).

 

Mentally, because I’ve been waiting for my half term results. I got them today, and I’ve been a nervous wreck waiting for them. Imagine if you got the result of all of your university exams in one day, and then multiply it by some factor - it’s not just a university exam at stake here, but my whole life, my whole future.

 

My head was in complete and utter turmoil, but it turned out to be good news. The ultrasound didn’t produce much - as the tumour is lobular it’s spread in a very spidery way, making it very hard to tell if it’s shrinking or not. The mammography results weren’t back yet, but my doctor was more than pleased when she examined the breast - much smaller, almost as small as the healthy one!

 

My blood tests showed that I was producing blood by myself, at least some of what I need, which is a good sign that the metastases in the bone marrow are receding, even if my blood values where lower now and I’ll probably need a blood transfusion on Friday when I have my next round of chemo. And my lymph nodes were almost normal in size! So, all in all, really good news. The best bit was that there was no new metastases, and the fluid in my right lung that had been there before had gone away.


To celebrate, I’ve booked tickets for the holiday that Heidi and all the lovely people who contributed enabled me to go on through the fundraising campaign! A week of sun, bathing, drinks and ice cream with all my boys - the kids are going to love it! And I will too. And it’s just two weeks away! It’s been hard settling on a date - basically I’m in no condition to do anything for the first week after treatment, and then comes four days when I’m extremely sensitive to infection - not a good time to be on a plane. And after that I have about ten good days, before it’s time for another round, so it had to be on October first. Thankfully, I found a great trip on
Fritidsresor. I’ll be home a day before the 6th treatment, and we leave just as soon as I stop being so sensitive to infection after my next round - perfect! It will be just perfect.

 

 

The picture is borrowed from Fritidsresor, of the hotel we'll be staying at


Dreaming away

by Hilla Duka - View comments

Dream-holiday

When the worries and fears of the next checkup, or just of life as it is these days, threaten to overtake me, I have a new weapon. I dream myself away. To after the doctor’s appointment, when she’ll have given me the news that I’m doing fantastically, that the results are better than they had dared to hope for. To a holiday in the sun, playing with the kids. The more real the worry, the more real I make the dream.

 

Yesterday it was time for the half time checkup I’ve been dreading and hoping for for months now. The checkup itself was done quickly and more or less painlessly (they just insert a needle and at one point give you contrast fluid through that), just lying down and then you get moved back and forth through a huge machine with a round hole. The day before that was the blood sample which will tell me if my all-time high of 112 was a fluke, or if my body really is producing blood on its own again (which would mean the cancer cells in my bone marrow are fewer), and tomorrow its time for another mammogram. And for all I’m willing my body to have done well, there really isn’t anything more to do but wait for the results.

 

So, I start dreaming away, to a holiday in the sun with my family. My lovely friend Heidi started a fund-raising when I got diagnosed, to send me away on a dream holiday. The fund-raising went through the roof, and it means I will get to take the kids on their first holiday in years.  I’ve some red tape to get through first, like getting OK to going on holiday while I’m still on sick-leave (Sweden has loads of rules on stuff like that), but my oncologist cleared me for travelling, just to go somewhere “safe and practical” as she phrased it.

 

So now I’m looking at holidays - the kind of chartered ones with preferably all-inclusive and pools and beach just around the corner. The kind I never would have looked at before having kids, and that always seemed too expensive or over-the-top once I did. This summer, I think, in the end turned out to be a good one for the kids. Thanks to the car we could go to fun places we didn’t really go to before, and all of us, Ilir, my brother and my dad, made an effort to take them out as much as possible, so that they could go swimming, or go to the really fun park across town. But we couldn’t go away, at that point. Everything about the diagnose was still so new, so raw, so dangerous. The year before that I had time off in the summer, but no money to take them anywhere, and the year before that I worked all summer, so they’ve really waited long enough for this. We all need this, I think. For one week, just to get away from it all, the morning stress and the homework that needs to be done and the constant, constant worrying…

 

Now, when I start to worry about the result and what it will show and I realise that it’s just one of those improductive worries, I start to think about our holiday instead. I know we will have an amazing time once we get there, and for that I’m so very, very grateful. But even before that, just now, it’s doing me a world of good to just have this to dream away to, as a counteract to those worries that will just lead me nowhere. I just start dreaming away to a place where I’m lying by the pool sipping goldfish-bowl-sized drinks and watching the kids splash around in the water. This trip will be another thing that I hope they can remember for the rest of their lives, something we did together as a family.

 

I’m so, so grateful to everyone who helped the fundraising become such a success. Thank you so much, for caring, sharing, contributing. And a massive thank you to Heidi, who as always knows how to make stuff happen!

The image above is borrowed from fritidsresor


Whining

by Hilla Duka - View comments

London_bridge

tl:dr - I hurt myself again and it hurts like fuck. The rest of this post will consist of nothing but me blowing off some steam and complaining of how miserable I am right now. You have officially been warned. Pic's nice though?

I'll just complain for a bit, shall I? So last week I set off for London again, which fealt really good, since I haven't been there since November, and it feels really weird not to go as often as I used to. But still, my job responsibilities have changed, and I'm no longer in charge of finding the right product fit for UK, but for all our markets. Doesn't mean the UK doesn't lie close to my heart, but it does mean I don't get to go as often as before. 

 

Anyway, as I made my preparations for my trip, I really did think I was being responsible - I booked a really-rubbish-hotel very close to work, and as I set up my appointments I was very clear that I needed to meet close to work and hotel, as my knee was still acting up and I couldn't jet about as much as I normally do. Said and done, first day of getting up early, dealing with airports and flying and then work, I was done for the day and headed off to meet my friend at a bar nicely positioned some 500 meters from my hotel. Only problem, the loo was one floor up. And as I came down the stairs (very nice, pretty stairs they were too, you know those really broad, industrial looking ones?) when my knee decided it had had enough of getting around and standing and walking, and gave way. Me being as I am, I didn't think much of falling down at first, it happens, and I mainly thought it was rather embarrassing and undignified, but somewhere around the second bend, I lost consciousness for a bit, and came to with the staff standing around me looking quite worried. My only save at this point was that I wasn't drunk. And being as I am, I assured them I was fine, and it was only my bogy knee that was acting up, and got back to my table and my friend. 

 

I woke up the next day with an ankle that was larger than my thigh, a distinctly bad looking flesh injury and bruises down my back and in my head. Concussion, I hear you asking? Well, I thought it a possibility, and went to check my pupils in the mirror (told you, I'm no noob to falling over) and sure enough, my pupils were weirdly dilated. Only, I was in London, and have had my fare share of dealing with the NHS (let me tell you, not having a national insurance number doesn't help!) and I had a big ass meeting to go to (in Slough, of all places) so I decided I just needed to toughen up, and face the day. Off I went, at the amazing, and to passers-by's not very amusing pace of probably 1 km per hour (I'm not exaggerating, it took me 30 painstaking minutes to get to the tube 500 meters from my hotel) in rush hour. Thankfully, because of my knee injury (in case I didn't tell you about that, torn off ligament, disrupted kneecap, ugly story, still hurts like hell) I already had some codein pills, which I was taking like there was no tomorrow. They helped a bit, but not a great deal. Oh, and to make matters worse, I had - momentarily insanity and I blame it on the fact that it was spring in the uk at this point - only brought high heels with me. After over a month of living in wellies, I had had enough, and thought my knee could survive some heels. Only my knee didn't agree. Honestly, I have no idea how I got through the meeting, besides with pain, and no idea how I got back. I did somehow, but since then have been in constant pain. I can't really get through a full working day anymore, and yesterday, as I tried, I came home frozen to the bone, and spent the night shaking under the duvet. Actually duvets, as in plural, because I could not get warm for the life of me. Any time I walk about for a few minutes, my ankle swells up again, The scrape on my calf hurts all the fucking time, and as I can't support myself on the side where I tore a ligament, I have to support myself on the other side, where I've sprained my ankle and have the bloody scrape to the bone. I sometimes wonder what it was ever like to walk without pain, or indeed to be without pain 24/7, but the sad truth is that I can't remember. And even sadder, I don't wonder this all the time, which in my head would be a sign of normalcy, but only occasionally. I've become accustomed to being in pain all the time. I don't have more painkillers, and trying to get a new prescription feels too addicty a thing to do, so I just do without. On top of this, I'm working still. I don't have it in me to take sick leave, so I just keep working, from home and the sofa if I can't stay longer at work. 

 

There really isn't a happy end to this one, at least not yet. If anyone actually read my whole rant, I'm impressed and slightly worried about your mental health. I'm trying to take it easy, trying to listen to what my body's telling me and all the soft hearted bullshit I don't believe in. I think I'll get back, hopefully to normal, but at least to pretty good, in time. It just sucks ass right now.


Happy holidays

by Hilla Duka - View comments

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I haven't really been writing for a while, as usual things have been a bit mad... My last trip to the UK was disappointing in the way that I came down with tonsillitis. Spending any amount of time in a hotel room is boring, but spending it shivering under the duvet, hallucinating and with no strength even to get up and get a cup of tea really sucks. I was able to attend the two events I meant to, but not much more. This time I stayed at Premier Inn in Old Street. For being a three star hotel, I should be more kind to it, after all it was clean and big enough to open the door fully, but honestly it was a horrible stay. My room lay next to a construction site, and 5 am they started the noise. Also, no roomservice when confined to bed is really not ideal. It was close to the PR show, but next time I'll stay at my usual hotel and brave the morning traveling.

Since I've been back I've been pretty much occupied with trying to make Christmas at home. The kids have decided that we are to have a full blown Christmas at home, complete with a tree and all. As this is not really something I'm well acquainted with it's taking some efforts, to say the lease, but thankfully I've been getting helpful tips from people at work. So we've been making gingerbread cookies, decorated a tree and whatnot. Presents are under the tree, mincemeat cookies in the oven. The kids are sleeping peacefully in their beds, and for the fist time I'm starting to get a bit of a Christmas feeling. It's nice, sort of.


Barcelona!

by Hilla Duka - View comments

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Last week we packed up the entire product team and took of for Barcelona, and the Baruco conference. We combined a few days of team building with a few days of conference, and ended up having a great time. Though five days proved to be too much for me to be away from my monsters, Barcelona was lovely. I will always sincerely heart a city that sports a beach. 

 

We ended up renting a huge flat for the whole team through AirBnB, which was pretty great most of the time, at least during the days, but pretty awful as I snore and feel terrible about sharing a room with anyone. I ended up trying to go to sleep after everyone else and waking up before them, and as a result had such a sleep dept that by the end of the trip I was completely knackered. 

 

And now I'm back home, doing the Certified Product Owner course at Citerus, which is turning out to be mind boggingly good. It amazes me how they manage to cram so much information into just two days, and how it all manages to make sense. Two days of this and I will be returning to work with a revolution on my mind...


This view!

by Hilla Duka - View comments

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I just have to share this pic, taken just outside my hotel for my last trip to London. The hotel is literally just next to Saint Pauls Cathedral. So every time I went out for a smoke some fresh air, this was what I was looking at. The downside was that every hour on the hour, this is what I was listening to...

 

Still, felt good to not be stuck in old habits, and trying out a new hotel. Not that I had much choice, my usual hotel was full and this was the best I could do. Will I stay there again? For all the lovely views, probably not. Way, way to corporate for me. Lovely to stay at once, but next time I'll either be back at my usual hotel, or I'll try another one. 

 

I had a really good trip, and was able to combine some training sessions, meeting potential customers, and drinking wine with good friends, which is basically all the ingredients for a really good trip. Now it'll probably be until beginning of October until I go back, in September the Product department packs up and heads to Barcelona for a conference, and the entire company heads to Berlin for our People days. I wonder what my kids are going to say about me being away so much...?

 

This was Grange St Pauls hotel, and though it's usually a bit on the pricey side (like £300 per night for a single...) in the midst of summer I think I paid around £120 per night for it. It's absolutely lovely with large, clean and modern rooms and a great bar, though too corporate for my tastes. 


A room with a view

by Hilla Duka - View comments

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Though maybe not much of a view... Still, I like my dull hotel room view, as I like my hotel, when I'm in London. I try to make a point of staying at the same hotel when I'm in town, it gives a feeling of normalcy. It's not far from work, though far enough for me not to feel like I'm staying at work, and even though I dislike staying at hotels, I must admit I have a thing about hotel room windows. I enjoy sitting in the window, watching the world below...

After last week's visit in London, I actually, for the first time in years, have a holiday! Well, I'm easing into it, and will be working tomorrow, but the plan is basically to be off work for four weeks! Maybe I'll take the kids on a trip somewhere, lay by the pool for a while and relax... And even though it feels weird not being in London for almost five weeks (I've grown so used to flying over every two or three weeks) it'll be good to get some rest too! Switching on holiday mode as of... well, as of Wednesday, but you get the general idea!