Pain and Cancer – guest post

Just added some new blogs, yet again.  The Breast Cancer Blogs section continues though to grow at a faster rate than others.  Another cleverly named blog, another nugget for your consumption – a meditation on the nature of pain.  T.C. writes at Boo Bee Trap.

Painful Heart

“Living involves being exposed to pain every second—not necessarily as an insistent reality, but always as a possibility,”

Pain is often referred to in philosophical discussions concerning the fundamental nature of human experience. The meanings and consequences of pain, and/or suffering, have been a topic of writing by philosophers and theologians alike. The experience of pain is, due to its seeming universality, a very good portal through which to view various diverse aspects of human life. (Wikipedia)

“Living involves being exposed to pain every second—not necessarily as an insistent reality, but always as a possibility,” writes Arne Vetlesen in A Philosophy of Pain, a thought-provoking look at an inevitable and essential aspect of the human condition. Here, Vetlesen addresses pain in many forms, including the pain inflicted during torture; the pain suffered in disease; the pain accompanying anxiety, grief, and depression; and the pain brought by violence. He examines the dual nature of pain: how we attempt to avoid it as much as possible in our daily lives, and yet conversely, we obtain a thrill from seeking it. Vetlesen’s analysis of pain is revealing, plumbing the very center of many of our most intense and complicated emotions. (Review – University of Chicago Press)

Pain is a noun (person, place or thing). Pain lurks in the shadows, but never quite leaves me. It has become an insidious, but loyal companion for the last year. Pain was first associated with the post-surgical discomfort from the mastectomy. As my body healed from the surgery I was subsequently assaulted with a different, and more persistent Pain, associated with the four rounds of reconstruction surgeries and procedures. Since I have more or less accepted the ladies “as is,” Pain has taken on a different manifestation.

Pain is with me daily now, but not continuous. Pain now appears to have taken up residence within my chest wall. The width of my chest is just 10 inches. Despite these close quarters, Pain is still a selfish lover. Pain strokes me hungrily underneath the implants –which are shoved below the pectoral muscles. It demands my attention by piercing through my sternum. At times it startles me. Taking me by surprise in a shooting moment. Other times, it snuggles up to me for the day, a dull reminder that my body has gone through a metamorphosis, and as a result must embrace a new paramour. And, like any passionate paramour, Pain at times seems to envelope my whole self, leaving me spent, trying to catch my breath.

~ Boo Bee Trap


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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