Moments Like These – guest post

I am always amazed that it takes me just a few minutes to find a blog post worthy of reprinting as our week’s Guest Post.  Heather is a breast cancer survivor.  Thanksgiving this year, her second since diagnosis, caused her to reflect on her life since.  This is her first post at Being Cancer and she joins our Honor Roll fior Excellence in Writing.  She writes at her blog Heather’s Journey

Heather 1Heather 2

Moments Like These

It was hard to be totally in the present moment this Thanksgiving. My mind kept slipping back to the distorted memories I have of last year. I was so incredibly sick. Just trying to get through. By this time, I’d been on the journey of Breast Cancer five months. I had been on this leg of the journey by myself in many of ways. My book will have a chapter about relationships, and how for most young woman, divorce is quite common. I don’t want to talk about it here, as there are too many readers, and I want to be really conscious of it. I don’t want to blurt out my feelings and dishonour his. Because, I was not in his shoes. I was only in mine. In the long run, it was a blessing. Cancer brought non-actions, words, and detachments that slashed through any cord that made us strong, which made an the ending.
I think, I have so much pain in me. Why is it that in our modern living of life we think that the end is not apart of the experience? Even the word apart. It is together. It could be a part. Together. One. One experience. Silly me, for thinking I was ready to start writing my book. Or even that I was ready to sit with myself in a place to write it, when I haven’t even finished the end of the race. I mean, I crossed the finish line. I ran through my pink ribbon (oh!! that’s a good idea to incorporate that into rituals for woman when they are done…have I told you guys that ONE of the many things I am going to start doing for BC survivors, is creating rituals for them to do with their friends and loved ones to mark the end).
I had an incredible week with family and dear loved ones. I drove down to Eugene, and spent a lot of time thinking. I love rode trips for this reason. Tears came and went. Once I got to my little nephew, meditating on his little ears was incredibly sweet. So little. An ache or two, or three, for my absence of a little ear. I slept next to him every night, my Sis on his other side. He is such a squirm worm!! That part is easy. That part is blood. That part, doesn’t hurt. It is simply love. Never~ending.
My best friend, Gen surprised me the night before Turkey day, with a call that said, “I just landed in Eugene.” What!????!!! Crazy! A wonderful surprise.
I spent a day with her. She understands my depth of loss. We spent the day with our friend Renee, who lost her mom to Breast Cancer, at the age of 13. We shared lots of heart opening conversations, to the point that I just had to stop it a few times. Being reduced to a pool of tears, is not in this soldiers desire right now.
Right now, I am just trying to become whole again. I’ve been living alone since June, and I threw myself into the Zone Of How Much Fun Can Heather Have At a Drop of a Hat, Constantly.
…. Spirit really has had me in the palm of “Yes, you are right were your supposed to be” feeling since I left D, now almost five months ago. This retreat, is going to be where I become whole again. I can grab all my fragments of self, and come together. The next month, well….in just three days, I leave for a girls surf trip to Sayulita. And then I am giving myself one more month of lots of fun, interspersed with lots of counseling.
I am seeing my cancer therapist again, starting when I get back. She mentioned that she thought I had PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…Uhhmmm..ahhh…YES! What part of this year was not full and filled with this.
I need to go get the pre-cancer Heather. I need to go get cancer Heather. And then I need to get the post-cancer Heather. And cuddle with all of them on a really soft soft blanket, and do yoga with them, and dab their tears, and hear their tears, and try to comfort them. They all are in shock. To be a soldier and pass this by would be a grave mistake. I do not want to pass this opportunity up. I deserve to be still. They deserve to be still. I deserve to be in the anguish, and the pain. This is what life is about. I am always such a bright lighted and happy person. But, I just went through hell. And hell wasn’t full of roses. It was horrible. Horrible with lots of medications that luckily let me be hazy and forgetful, so that I could do another dose of toxic almost kill Heather, but for sure kill the cancer stuff.
The end is here. But I need to have another ribbon to cross. To break. There will be another ceremony. Another rites of passage I did not see, nor deem needed until this moment.
This Winter will be all about me. Living by myself, for the first time. Healing myself…..Here I come. Mexico, Girls time…Oh! Yeah! Baby!!!! Lots of fun.
I guess there is a fear in walking into the sadness into the gray, into the rainbow of grief, that I won’t be happy. I have never ever ever, ever in my life been a wallower. So I probably won’t wallow. But I do deserve to be with them, and me, and witness the rebirth of my new woman. There is power in this. Instead of walking through life trying to act, react, and feel in a fragmented body. That does not work.
I am excited now. It won’t all be sad, Heather. It is going to be empowering. You have another mile to go.

from: Heather’s Journey

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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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