Jurassic Park Dreams – guest post

If you’re a regular reader, you probably have figured out that I am still not back on schedule. I missed the Monday Book Review.  And Wednesday I missed the Guest Post – although I did enjoy writing the “Little Things” post.  Friday should be something about Cancer News or politics.  I’ll just cover the politics issue with a weird quote from Republican House Leader John Boenher who said today (I heard him) that the current healthcare reform bill in the House was “the single greatest threat to our freedom…in my 19 years in Congress!”  Wowy-zowy!  He’s been reading too much George Orwell.  Back in the 1930’s conservative pundits declared that Social Security would lead us straight to a socialist state.  It’s been seventy years.  I think we can stop worrying.

There is a reason I am still behind schedule.  For the last nine days I have been experiencing near-constant nausea and sour stomach, interupted daily by regular bouts of diarrhea (probably more than you wanted to know).  I was hoping we could blame another “little thing” – C Dif or clostridium difficile.  This organism can overgrow in the gut after a course of anitbiotics, especially if you have a less than effective immune system.  These little buggers excrete a toxin which cause diarrhea.  But the result came back negative, along with that old rerfrain “probably a virus.”  That would be the third viral infection in about six weeks.  And our rescheduled trip to Ireland is coming up fast on the 14th.

Enough of that.  With so much good writing out there I decided to catch up with a Guest Post, especially since the churning in my stomach distracts from my writing.  Our breast cancer blogger writes in My life, in a Tumblr

Jurassic Park

I had that horrible, terrifying Jurassic park dream again, in which I and a small group of people (at first…they dwindle down as the dream goes on) are the last survivors on earth after proliferation of large, fast, toothy beasts that take over as dominant species.

This time, the dream was a deja vu—or rather, I kept saying in the dream “last time, this and this happened.  THIS time, let’s do this…” So, clearly…this isn’t a dream about a fear of reptiles, it’s about a fear of a recurrent cancer.

The ambulance bay sirens outside became screams in my dream, and I woke up after only a few hours of sleep.  Had I been home, I would have wakened George, and poor thing, in his disoriented fatigue, he would listen to the dream, put his arm around me and say that the cancer isn’t going to come back, not ever.  “How can you be so sure?” I always ask him.  “I just know” he always says.

This recurring dream is new.  I never dreamed it before cancer.  Early in the cancer, I had a horrible dream (that I attributed to the toxic stuff they were pumping me full of) about robots and dinosaurs…it was a fight between technology and biology—can I dream in any more obvious metaphors?

In this dream, since I’m not in active treatment, there was no technology.  There was a green and rolling hillside, and the landscape was dotted with fast moving dinosaurs.  It was the landscape I imagine in “Watership Down”…the place Fiver is always describing, on a hill, with a view of everything surrounding it.

Anyway, this time, as I dreamed, I contemplated what survival would require, and mean.  Eventually, I thought…we’re going to have to go outside and use the bathroom, gather food, and eventually, that food is going to run out.  I contemplated running out there in the midst of all the velociraptors and Tyranosaurus Rex and just getting it over quickly.  I woke up when I realized, in the dream, that I was prolonging the inevitable.

I used to like that movie—but now, after so many of these dreams, after it’s become a metaphor for what it’s like to live with cancer, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to watch it again.

from My life, in a Tumblr


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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