Tucking it in…

The emails I get are not always good.  I saved this one for after the Easter holiday.  It was sent to me and other survivors by Maggie Backus, a fellow blogger who writes at It Is What It Is….

Hi Everybody!

A quiet Saturday morning around here. Richie is out working in the yard, Madeline is off on one of her tutoring jobs, Charlie is at a friends house.  I am taking a vitC treatment and just soaking up the peace and enjoying some fuzzy new hair on my head.

It’s been three weeks since my last chemo treatment.  I can feel myself slowly gaining some energy and feeling a bit more upbeat than in recent months. The doxil will probably not show any positive results for two or three treatments and only then will we know if it’s going to help.  I plan on using this time to get more focused on future alternatives, getting as many different opinions as I can.  I must be able to make an informed decisions as I continue down this path.

Yesterday, I received news of yet another ovca pal, someone I only know virtually and through her blog The Carcinista that has decided to tuck it in. She’s been struggling mightily in recent months and refusing more treatment is the next step in this rather awful process we chronic cancer patients are faced with.  I highly recommend her blog. She has a wicked sense of humor and a truly lovely take on the cancer business. Her decision? Quality or quantity?

Although I want desperately to live, I have to also be aware and cognizant of what my own limits are. Someday, I will have to say “Uncle!” and only I can determine when that will be.  I have a constant ‘conversation’ running through my head on this subject and have since my diagnosis.  I also have regular discussions with Richie about how and when and why. These are usually accompanied by major crying jags and always when I am feeling compromised physically.

There is no satisfaction in this line of thinking, but there is a level of comfort for me. While I want Madeline and Charlie to know I am fighting hard to stay with them, they are living the disease as much as I am. And the realities of the disease are not pretty.  We’ve enjoyed many wonderful moments in our lives together, but we have also had some extremely difficult times and a good mama takes care of her babies (no matter how old they get) as long as she can.  And if there is one thing I can lay claim to – it is my ‘good mama’ status.  So, I always make decisions with them in mind. How much more can I take? And how much more can my gang weather? This is not an easy path.

When The Carcinista made her decision to improve the quality of her life and be the mama her boys needed, I had a good long cry.  I know in the end, no matter what happens to me, my babies will be okay. They are loved and can love, smart and beautiful, kind and funny.  What more could a mother ask for? Time would be nice, but none of us have any control over that issue.

So for today I am thankful for the time I have had and for the chance to have this life.  And I will hope for an even better tomorrow, one full of family and laughter and love.  And I will know that I do have a life of quality, right here and now.

Happy Easter, thanks for all the meals, and for the love and good wishes.

So I’ll certainly keep posting, but from here it might take a slightly different direction. And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have – ask away! But I’m already feeling better without chemo on board, so unless you have a hotline to some pretty powerful folks, I’m going to let it ride.

And I’d love to give appreciation to those of you who envisioned me as a pit bull, one who would grasp at any straw to milk every second out of my life, for my kids’ sakes. Turns out what’s best for them is to have their mom AROUND and PARTICIPATING, not hiding inside all summer and watching their birthday parties on video at the end of the day. So I’ll fight while the fighting is good. And then I’m going to have a chocolate milkshake and a really killer nap.

from: The Carcinista


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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