Christmas Gift – guest post

Another gift for readers of Being Cancer Network.  On Christmas Day our Dancing on Thin Ice
blogger remembers her son Nick who lost his battle with leukemia

Pedaling Hard


Two years ago on Christmas, Nick said he wanted a bicycle. Of course, we all hoped it would not be long before he was riding his bike all around the town. Having no idea what kind of bicycle Nickolas would want, I made him a card. The card said “A Gift Just For Nick” on the front. On the inside I pasted some pictures of old-time bikes and then I added these two poems. The first reminds me of the joy that Nickolas would always find in everything he would do. I can see him now careening down a hill on that bicycle. The second poem is more poignant and reminds me of how hard we all fought to hang onto any glimmer of hope we could find that Christmas. I pray that Nickolas is riding fast and free through the blue sky of day and the starry sky of night. I love you more than a wagon full of puppies my sweet boy. Mom

Going down Hill on a Bicycle, A Boy’s Song
By Henry Charles Beeching

WITH lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.

Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:–
‘O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.

‘Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!’

Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.

Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.

Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.

A Poem, a Bicycle, a Bird

by Naomi Shihab Nye

A boy told me
if he roller-skated fast enough
his loneliness couldn’t catch up to him,

the best reason I ever heard
for trying to be a champion.

What I wonder tonight
pedaling hard down King William Street
is if it translates to bicycles.

A victory! To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

~ Dancing on Thin Ice

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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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