No, I haven’t died. But I do feel like sh…!

Got word that some readers were a little concern about my long absence from the blog.  Overall it appears easier to keep up with my posts when the weather is cold and foreboding.  The garden yearns but alas I have neglected it to.  Good things first.  Nathan, Coppelia and the twins, Gemma and Molly, arrived safely from Boston last Sunday evening.  We all had a fine visit though none of us did much more than play with the babies.  A number of family get-togethers with plenty of vegan food.  I can do vegetarian easily enough but vegan remains a challenge.  Lots of Indian, Chinese, and Thai stir-fries.  They left Saturday morning and arrived in Boston safely on Sunday.

Last Tuesday I finally returned to my dermatologists, a husband and wife team.  I had squamous cell carcinomas removed from my neck and right forearm.  She also did something called a “scrape and burn” on a lesion on the side of my jaw.  All under local, not too bad.  The two incisions were rather large though – the arm carcinoma was about the size of a grape – taking in generous margins.  So each incision is about 3 inches long.  She wanted me to be careful, even try to avoid picking up my older two granddaughters.  And did I mention that we have 18 cubic yards of mulch in our drive?  Tish loads and spreads.  I get to drive the tractor.

In the background these past few weeks is that persistent, irritating, frustrating, draining (energy and otherwise) sinus problems.  This has been around since Fall.  Every three or four weeks it seeds an infection.  I wind up with fevers, chills, malaise, and increasing body aches (not the good kind from gardening).  I have been on antibiotics six times.  Symptoms recede, only to return a week or two after the antibiotic course is finished.  I was to see an ENT.  But my last CT scan (dome a week after a month on Vantin) was clear.  I kid you not – the very next day after my clinic visit, cold and flu symptoms started. After a week of this, I called to get the ENT consult scheduled.  It’s a week from today, I think.

We had mixed feelings about the Boston branch leaving.  But now we could turn our attention back to the garden.  WRONG!  Saturday morning I was nauseous and felt the familiar “hit-by-a-truck” sensations.  My temp spiked throughout the day, topping at 102.8.  I was shaking terribly under five blankets.  Finally we called for a new antibiotic script.  Felt no better until Monday.  I have been trying to push myself to get more accomplished, only to be rewarded with a temp spike to 101 – 102 in the early evening.

With all of this going on, you will no doubt wonder at what I tell you next.  I have a job, part-time, my first employment in over five years outside of occasional speaking engagements.  Money’s been a little tight – I’ve not had a raise in over five years!  Spending money on four young grandchildren is a real weakness.  Not a lot of money though more than minimum wage.  And the job is flexible with low stress, low physical requirements, and could be a lot of fun.  I will be working 2-3 five hour shifts at a fancy gourmet food and wine shop. Wines, beers, and spirits from all over the world.  Over 4000 kinds of wine, 500 brands of beer and ale, several hundred labels of whiskey, over a hundred types of cheeses.  There is a cafe.  Each week tastings are held in the evening.


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.


No, I haven’t died. But I do feel like sh…! — 5 Comments

  1. Hey Dennis. Glad to see you’re alive! I too, have trouble keeping up the posts when the weather allows me to get out in the yard. Be careful with those skin cancer removals––I had the same thing done to me, one golf-ball-size taken form my neck and one 3 incher from the base of neck and shoulder. Not good for raslin’ with the Grandkids. Be well, Greg

  2. Dennis, I have been thinking about you. Your ENT problems sound awful. A friend in my Vitamin C clinic was suffering similar problems (she’s an OVCA patient, too) turned out she had a fungal infection in her sinuses. Any chance you are suffering the same? She is now under an infectious disease and immunologist’s care. Please check it out. Some of those fungus’ are horrible and your immune system is so compromised right now. Hope you are comfortable and I will keep you in my prayers and send good energy your way as I do every day.

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