Babies or Not – guest posts

Today was spent updating the Honor Roll page.  I am gratified by the response of all our Guest Bloggers to the new Award Badge.  It is wonderful to be able to lend support to some of the great writing that goes on in personal cancer blogs.  It is also rewarding to see our logo spread across the cancer blogging community.

Since news of Being Cancer Network is spreading, bloggers are contacting me asking to be included in our Cancer Blogs Lists.  Recently Amy wrote to let me know about her blog and battle with breast cancer.  She writes at Babies or Not.

It Has Begun

When the shock that I have breast cancer was still fresh, I had conversations on the phone with many women who had been in my shoes before me, some with diagnoses much worse than my own. “This is the worst part,” many of them told me, referring to the beginning of the process, when you aren’t yet sure how bad the cancer is or what treatment plan will be prescribed, or even who will be doing the prescribing. Every one of these women I spoke to (and a few men) seemed so grounded and pragmatic, free of the vulnerable panic I was feeling.
“You will get your life back,” one of them told me, which brought me up short. I so want to believe that.
It struck me that whether or not life ever feels “normal” again, there will likely come a point when I am on the receiving end of similar phone calls. I imagined it would happen next year, or at least months from now, after treatment is behind me and my hair and strength are back. The first calls would come from a friend of a friend, asking would you mind if I gave so and so your number, and I would say of course not, glad to be of help.
I did not imagine that the first call would come so soon —last night— and that it would come directly from someone close to me, or that I would hear a quaver in a voice I had not heard quaver before telling me about her own diagnosis that very day.
On one hand, yes, of course I was pleased that I could be a comfort to and information source for my friend. I was glad to notice that I am not in that raw and vulnerable place anymore myself. On the other hand I felt angry. Angry on my friend’s behalf in a way I was unable to feel on my own. She should have nothing less than a long healthy life full of love and personal triumphs and special moments with her family. She does not deserve cancer.
We all know this disease has its roots in environmental toxins. We know this in our guts and in our brains whether we have the science to back it up or not. We know it’s getting worse, has been getting worse down through the generations. Our grandmothers had a one in twenty chance of getting it. Nowadays, it’s one in eight. I don’t think the trend is over.
There’s a lot of talk about finding the cure, a lot of well-meant energy spent raising money toward that end, not to mention a great deal of wealth on the line for whatever pharmaceutical company gets hold of that holy grail. And there is progress, I won’t deny that.
Of course a cure would be nice.
Frankly, I’d rather get to the root of the cause, and put what little energy I have into eliminating this stupid disease entirely.
In the meantime, I will strive to comfort and support my friend and all the others sure to come on her heels, and also to get through my own treatment and back to some new semblance of normal.

Things That Are Getting Me Through

What a strange thing to be poisoned, systematically poisoned, to be feeling sick while knowing that my immune system has no defense for this. How strange, also, to acknowledge that soon, as I begin to feel better, I will belly up to the chemo-bar and take another dose. And then another. Over and over and over, sixteen times in twenty weeks. And after that, there’s radiation…

And another thing that’s difficult to fathom; that so so many people have been through this ahead of me, without the aid of modern anti-nausea meds that make it possible to eat and sleep and function in a somewhat normal way. And many have been through it more than once. And many died in the process. And many still do.

My mind floats to all the suffering we, the family of humanity, endure. Trauma, abuse, violence, disease… Everyone has their personal trial and tribulation. I don’t mean to be depressing; I’m not feeling depressed. I feel lucky, actually. Not lucky to have cancer, but lucky to feel closer to the core, closer to compassion. And lucky, especially, for all the blessings I do have.

from: Babies or Not

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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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