Little Tremors

I just posted the new selection for next month’s Book Club discussion.  It was strongly suggested by a lymphoma/transplant survivor friend as being hilarious and thoughtful at the same time.  It may be an interesting departure for us.   “Time On Fire: My Comedy of Terrors” is by actor Evan Handler (best known as Charlotte’s boyfriend in Sex and the City).  This is an older book.  You might be able to find it at the library or a local used book store.  Or you could order it from Amazon.com.  I finally got my links working again.  So if you order it from this site, I get a small portion, 4% to be exact.

I had also considered “Lisa’s Story: the Other Shoe” by Tom Batiuk,  based on his comic strip Funky Winkerbean. The book does have an appeal for me.  I may spend more time with it.  Has anybody else read this?  What do you think?

Doing only one book a month is a little frustrating.  I have been sent some other interesting books recently.  I am thinking of adding a new page to the site – Reviews.  This would feature 500-700 word reviews of books, CDs, and other media with a cancer theme.   Although it is somewhat common in the blogging world to be paid for writing reviews, I will not accept payment by publishers or publicists  – although (disclaimer here!) I will accept complimentary review copies.  Your thoughts and comments?

Journal: March 2002 – On Monday morning my caregiver-for-the-day picks me up for my treatment.  I tell her that she needs to help me to “let go” of my infusion reactions.  I suspect that I somehow have accepted the reactions as part of my treatment experience.  Though they are very uncomfortable I am reluctant at some level of my consciousness to part with my reactions.  I am gratified that my chemo nurse, Susan, has already discussed my request for no Demerol premedication with my oncologist and that he concurs with me.  We even decide to reduce to Benadryl dose from 50 to 25 mg.  I fall asleep anyway, awakened finally with the news that the CamPath is completed.  I ask that we not disconnect the IV until it has been one hour past the completion.  They waken me again and I ask for ten additional minutes.  I am fearful of having the reaction after my IV had been discontinued.  Ten minutes are up – nothing happens.
We leave.  For the very first time I leave my treatment on my own two feet, not in a wheelchair.  I point this out to all office staff as I leave.

I had noticed a sale at McDonald’s – two quarter-pound cheeseburgers for $2.22.  We drive-through to the pick-up window.  The drive home is uneventful except for the fact that I am awake.  At home I pour us each some ginger ale and we sit down at the dining room table to eat.  I start to feel a little chill as I eat.  Then a slight tremor creeps through my hands.  Marie watches me questioningly.  As I am finishing the last bites of cheeseburger with determination, my hands start to shake violently.  Marie is already getting out Tylenol and Benadryl tablets.  I take them with some difficulty.  She helps me over to my chair and covers me with four blankets.  The chills and rigors subside after about ten minutes. I drift off to sleep.  When I awaken hours later, my caregiver is gone and Tish and Aaron are home.  I will still consider this day a success.


The next few treatment days establish a new pattern.  We continue to avoid the Demerol and use only a half dose of Benadryl.  I walk out of the clinic unaided.  We begin to incorporate lunch out as part of the new modus operandi. We try new restaurants, not just fast food places but real restaurants as well.  My friend and second manager, Lisa Jones, takes me to Rick’s Café Boatyard that overlooks Eagle Creek Reservoir.  It is a cold, snowy, gray day.  A slight chill followed by tremoring in my hands reminds me that I am not entirely well.

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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.

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