On Relationships – Guest Blog

It’s so ironic that my last post was about the uncertainty of “making plans”.  On Monday night, just out of the hospital and feeling pretty good, my plan for Tuesday was to work on the blog and then out to the garden.  I woke up, after noon, feeling weak and wretched.  My wife found me back in bed when she returned home from work.  She scolded me for not eating and especially for not keeping myself hydrated.  She was right.  So I got up for dinner…then back to bed.  Not the day I planned…again.

I decided to make Wednesday the Guest Blog Day, Friday the Cancer News Day.  Hopefully Mondays will be devoted to the Book Club.

Guest Blog Day will feature some of the best writing from our cancer blogging community.  As usual it was difficult to select from all of the quality writing I find.  I bookmarked several entries this morning but my thoughts keep going back to a post by Alli in her blog Life In Transition.  In her recent post “It just is..” she rather poignantly captures the spirit of a visit with her step-father in which both she and he struggle with the meaning of her diagnosis.  I think it is a scene that we all have found ourselves in.  It reminds us of the sometimes awkward but touching emotional shifts that cancer can nudge our various relationships in.  The subtle coloring that our cancer diagnosis can lend to both the shadows and highlights of our quest to relate to those significant others in our lives.

Reaching out...

Reaching out...

It just is….

This after noon my step-father came to see me. This was his first visit to my home since my brother died a month ago.

I can see it has taken a tremendous toll on him. He will be 81 years young next week…Still going like a man half his age. But he had so much sorrow in his eyes, it was hard to look at him because there were other things on his mind as well. We spoke about my brother , we know there was nothing any one could do for him. He made the choices to drink.
I wanted to make him some tea and give him some banana bread I baked yesterday. But he wasn’t hungry…
He finally began to speak and for the third time in my life since he came into our lives as young children I saw him cry. He wasn’t crying about my brother he was crying for me. That’s the last thing I wanted for him to be upset because I have cancer.
He told me he knows how serious my cancer is, that he was scared for me. He commented on how I looked , even though I had makeup and some mascara i know I was very pale… nothing I can do about it. I try and put up a good front.

He told me that he sometimes feels guilty that he has never suffered any serious illness, and can’t understand why his children have to suffer, why I have breast cancer and the worst he had was malaria when he lived on Zanzibar..

His pain was so palpable of course no way could I keep a dry eye either…I tried to reassure him that we can’t predict who gets what and when , that we are more than happy that he still enjoys dancing, his bowling league. He still delivers “meals on wheels” works with the Ukrainian seniors in his building visiting others .

I have Breast Cancer and I am doing my best to get through this as only I am able to.

Sometimes I don’t know how to explain myself so others really feel what I mean..sometimes I feel like I am in a very fragile place, I guess like some I rather pretend to be in denial, this will go away..

I don’t know how I feel right at this moment, to some degree I feel guilt that my father carries this burden…that he is healthy while his daughter isn’t. I want him healthy I dread the day he is no longer here and I know his greatest worry is another one of his children will go before him and there is nothing I can say to give him a gurantee it won’t happen…

We are thrown so many curve balls, that it is impossible to catch them all…

He left a short time later… I called him early this evening to see how he was. He was preparing to take his “lady friend” out dancing….

Then again life is also good!!

Life In Transition


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.


On Relationships – Guest Blog — 1 Comment

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog with all the information, links and other blogs. It’s great to connect with others who are walking the same path as I am, and I’m so grateful for all the links you have posted. I’ll be back! Thank you!

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