Relapse Laments – guest posts

MichelleToday I would like to republish a couple of posts by Michelle, a young woman from Long Island, who has been battling a rare sarcoma for seven years, enduring a number of brain surgeries.  Her blog is entitled “Sarcoma Chic”.  She writes at It’s My Turn to Kick Sarcoma’s Butt! In these two posts she writes sensitively and with humor about dealing with an impending relapse.

My Plan

Being on a high dose of antibiotics had me feeling achy and out of whack. Good news, my ear is feeling so much better. Today was my appointment with Dr. B. The thought of heading back into the hospital was making my stomach flip. I just wanted to be away from that hospital for a while and get my life back!

This morning I woke up with all the right intentions of going to my appointment. I planned on heading in around 9:30. I was getting a cup of tea ready for my drive. My plan was to get gas, take the top down on my car and blast some music. That’s when Paul decided that he wanted to go with me. He didn’t want me to go alone and wanted to drive. He’s been swamped at work trying to catch up and knowing it was only a checkup I told him I was fine. I like taking the drive or train in, having some time to myself.

We were out the door & driving when something came over me. My plan that I had for the day changed. I felt a little upset & had an instant rush of anxiety. I was panicking inside, a feeling that I rarely have. It was like something was pulling me back home, back to my comfort zone. There was no way that I was going into the city. Within a second I called and canceled the appointment. I don’t know if it was fate telling me to turn around. All I know is that a wave of sadness came over me. I wanted to be out of the car. Paul drove us home and I got right back into bed. I curled up for a few minutes, took a deep breath and I felt better.

I’m really not sure what that was about this morning. I know that I like to have control over certain situations. Paul coming with me, changed everything. I love that he cares so much about me and wants to drive me in. Today was just a checkup! Nothing else…I am not ready for anything more right now. Having Paul with me, driving in his car……I felt like it was now a bigger deal. Almost like I was going to get bad news.

I should just open my mouth when I have a plan and continue on with it. I need to do things on my own…I need some control over the things that I can control.

But, maybe the planets weren’t aligned right or one of my beautiful guardian angels was protecting me. I just know that I made the right decision. I went with my gut and stayed home today. It was such a strange day!

It’s Back!

This part of my life is complete nonsense. I am over the drama of it all. I am over the saying, “Things happen for a reason.” Frankly , they should not be happening anymore. I did my time!

I actually spent a month not talking about myself! I brought all the unhappy cancer talk to a halt. When someone asked how I was….I said great! I was able to put everything in the past.

I just knew it was going to be back. My gut told me that things were not right. This dumb lymph node felt funny. But, I really felt it would just go away.
It’s the reason I missed my last appointment. I knew something was wrong. But, I needed some time to not think about it. I just wanted to relax before another surgery. I wanted to pretend that I was clean…that my scan showed nothing…that things were getting better. Yet, here I am back at square one. More anesthesia, more needles…more of everything I despise.

They took two biopsy’s of the enlarged lymph node under my jaw. Doc had the pathologist come down to test it while I was still in the chair. Funny looking cancer cells were swimming around under the microscope. The best thing to do is to remove it.
I am scheduled for surgery on Friday, October 30th.

This surgery is screwing up my Halloween plan! I am going from a sexy german beer girl to a cut up cancer patient! Perfect! I guess I can keep my IV in and freak everyone out. Thank you lymph node for ruining my Halloween!
Chat soon….Michelle


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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