Let’s Beat This Things – new blog

This notice came to me in May – I think I was in hospital at the time.  Meg is a photographer and a breast cancer survivor.  She just started her blog last March.  I have excerpted a portion of a recent post for your edification.

Last Wednesday, we celebrated Mike’s Uncle Johnny’s life at his funeral service and burial.  It was a very nice service and although the circumstances weren’t ideal, it was nice to see all of Mike’s family.  Unfortunately, coming from a pretty big family as well as marrying into a big family means that I have attended a lot of funerals in my twenty-nine years.  But, this time it was very different.  Sitting in the pew next to Mike at the gorgeous Shrine of the Little Flower Church, I was reminded of our amazing wedding day in that very same place – the absolute happiest day of my life.  At the same time, I couldn’t help but think about my own death and how one day, my own funeral will take place in that very church.  I by no means consider myself dying, but when you are diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and told there is no cure for what you have, it is nearly impossible to not let these thoughts creep into your mind.  I knew attending a funeral would be difficult for me, and it definitely was.  It just hits a little too close to home right now and I couldn’t help but think of what that day will be like and how it will possibly arrive decades earlier than I ever thought.

I wish I could tell you I didn’t think about these things.  But truth be told, I think about it way more than I would like.  Facing your own death is such an overwhelming, all consuming feeling – it feels like a tidal wave of grief and sadness, where despite your best efforts, you can’t seem to find the surface to catch your breath.  It is something that I have obviously never come close to experiencing before and a feeling that I can’t even put properly into words.  It gives you an entire new outlook on life – what’s important and what’s not – and how to cherish the time you are given.  I think we all assume we are automatically given a lifetime of 80+ years on this Earth.  The truth is, nothing is promised to any of us and a long life is not guaranteed to anyone.

There are times when I still can’t fully wrap my head around what is happening.  And if I have made it three days without crying, I consider it a success.  I am truly not afraid of death, but the thought of leaving Mike, my mom and the rest of my loved ones before I am ready, just breaks my heart.  However, I do my best on a daily basis to use the time I am given to live my best life, to tell the ones I love how I feel about them, and to fully appreciate every blessing that is given to me.  That is all I can do, because the alternative is to curl up in bed and never climb out – which has never been, nor will it ever become an option for me.

Sorry for such deep and heavy thoughts today but these are things that I think about a lot.  I have shared some pretty difficult, intense and emotional conversations with Mike, my mom, and some of my closest friends and I always end up feeling better after releasing these thoughts to others.  It’s incredible how isolating this can feel sometimes because not many people can say they know how you feel, but that’s all the more reason why I am so grateful for all of you.  Your love and support truly gets me through those tough times and you have no idea how much that means to me.


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.


Let’s Beat This Things – new blog — 1 Comment

  1. I hope that I am responding to Meg Malley as I have not blogged before. I read an article about you in the Baltimore Sun. I applaud your efforts to increase awareness of breast cancer for young people.
    I wanted to give some information to you and really to anyone with cancer about a book I have read, “The China Study”. I am a nurse and I think that it is respected, important information. I am now taking a course through Cornell University to learn more. I am aware of controversies on diet and cancer and I believe you should continue with your current medical treatment. I just think information that can be additional insurance for you is worthwhile. The information advocates for whole food plant based nutrition. It is eating a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in their natural state and no meats, poultry, dairy, eggs, processed or refined foods and minimize fish. Surprisingly it is not as hard as it might sound and I felt better in just 2 weeks. I first read about it connection with a CNN story on Bill Clinton who was put on a similar diet to actually reverse his heart disease. This way of eating could heal alot of chronic conditions and positively affect the health of our country. One of the scientists aware of this information suggested the garden idea to the First Lady and another the diet information to Bill Clinton. I hope you, Meg, and other people will read this book, draw your own conclusions and seek more information to sustain your health. I wish you all the best and thank you for thinking of others in your time of need.

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