Winter Blahs

I am struggling here.  Not one of those great epic struggles like our collective battle against the Beast, the Big C.  No, this is but a minor nagging struggle.  The legacy of my long ago transplant.  My immune system still hasn’t grown tall.  If you look at all the numbers, it’s good – t-cell count, immunoglobulin levels, white cell differential.  But I have had colds, flus, and persistent sinus problems almost constantly since October.  My New Year’s commitment to publish five days a week is threatened.

I sat down at the computer last night to write today’s post, supposedly a review of some more cancer resource sites.  But my head, both figuratively and literally, felt too blocked, too clogged, too sloooowed to put the necessary thoughts together.  Reading seemed out of the question.  So I vegetated in front of the tube – American Idol, Lost, The Good Wife. Not a bad selection, but at the expense of not writing.  I thought hopefully maybe, maybe I will get up early for a change.  I will have some extra time before the girls come after lunch.  But there I was, staring at the ceiling clock that grinned 9:35 AM.

So I imagined that maybe a rant would flow more easily this morning.  So here it is.  It’s my turn.

Sometimes I hate my transplant.  I lost sight in one eye, my sense of taste and smell are markedly diminished, hospitalizations once or twice a year.  Yeah, yeah, I know – I am still alive after eight years with an “invariably fatal” disease. But this is a rant.  No time to acknowledge grace and miracles.

So why do this when I would rather just plop on the couch, start a fire and listen to opera?  Well …?  Well, maybe it could be that two people newly diagnosed with this killer leukemia contacted me this week for help and advice.  And maybe it’s other cancer bloggers like Jo Ann who started her blog Ooops…I’m still here three years ago as a “sanctuary (to help) me wrestle my deepest fears.”  She was about to put her blog aside, lay it to rest.  Then she read a comment I had left on her blog, thanking her for her contribution to this on-going community dialogue on cancer.  She quietly put her “resignation” post in a drawer and decided to keep on writing.  So I guess I’ll have to also.

FYI – it’s twenty degrees outside and a foot of snow covers the garden.  Maybe it’s just a case of the winter blahs.  I’ll write again tomorrow.


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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