Ang’s Journey – Guest post – Colorectal

Inspiration can come from bizarre places.  It so happens that I am scheduled for a follow-up colonoscopy in the morning.  About  a year ago they accidentally found free air in my abdomen after doing a chest x-ray for pneumonia.  The potential medical emergency was averted by a negative exploratory laproscopy.  So it’s something we need to keep an eye on.  I haven’t started my prep yet but I haven’t eaten since last evening.  But I’ll save the rant for another time.

But my impending procedure inspired me to look for a Guest Post in the “Colon Cancer” section of the blogroll.  I found humor and freshness in this happy, but anxious post by Angela who writes in Ang’s Journey.

Great News….

After a whirlwind month which included going to Kauai with our friends and family (only 17 of us this time), proposals that we won and lost, and working working working, I saw my Oncologist yesterday. When I first got there I was fine, no worries, and then as I sat to wait for my blood draw, an older gentleman was confused by the lab. When you get your blood drawn at our lab (which is conveniently located across the lobby from the oncologist), they ask you, “Arm or port?” He was confused, so I asked his wife (who was in a wheel chair) if she has a port and showed her mine. Her face was very disfigured. It was swollen with skin graphs, but she was able to speak quite well. So, I answered for her husband and explained to him what it was. “Thank God we haven’t had to do that!” he exclaimed. I figured he thought it was like the old kind where a piece hung out of you, so I showed him mine and told him a little about it. Then, the woman next to me asked me how long I had had mine. I told her and she said, “If you get really lucky, you get a power port.”

Power ports are like the Cadillac of all ports. I was like, “NO WAY – those are cool!” She said, “They are.” And so the woman with the face said, “So, I want one of those?” We both said, “No. YES. NO!” We chatted for a while, swapped stories, and laughed a bit, She was really sweet. The nurses convinced me to flush my port and I chatted them for a while. Then, the oncology nurse came to get me which was a good thing because I can’t be strong forever – if I am there for too long I get the hibbie gibbies (SP!)

We talked about mutual friends and how one died that “wasn’t supposed to” and I said, “I just gave up asking why. It hardly seems worth it. I don’t know why I am still here….I guess I just got lucky with it stabilized and became operable.” She looked at me and said, “Ang, there is a reason you are here…..there is just a reason. Enough said.” I am thinking like, “So, what is it????”, but I couldn’t get the words out without tearing up. My grief was for the past patients, not for me.

Just then, my oncologist walked in. We chatted for a while about how I am tired, but from only good things, about my other docs, about Kauai, about normal stuff and then he said, “Have you had a scan?” I was like, “Dude, that is not until next month, so NO.” He smiled and said as he was examining me, “Well, I think you might like what I have to tell you.” By this time, my nerves were getting the best of me and as a defense, I said, “You got a reason why I am still alive????” Looking at me like I am the nut I am, he said, “No, but I do think that you are doing so well that we don’t need to do a scan next month. How about a chest X-ray next month and a scan in three months? AND, you only have to come see me every other month. I will miss you greatly, but I think it is the right thing to do.”

About half way through this new protocol, I looked at the floor and exhaled. I said, after he was done, “You know, I could get used to this.” He put his hand on my back and said, “I could too.” So, with a hug, we said the stuff people say when they have been down this ridiculous road together. I got dressed, made my appointments, and GOT THE HELL OUT OF THERE. I have never gotten this far in this journey and I remember when I went into remission the first time, my oncologist was like, “And you HAVE to come in every month, and you HAVE to get scans every quarter, and you HAVE to….etc. etc. etc.” And, so it has been……until now. A little more freedom which oddly enough is scary too, but not so scary that I ain’t taking it with BOTH HANDS AND RUNNING WITH IT. Happy Friday, Ang

from: Ang’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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