Don’t Be Afraid to Jump – guest post

Finding content for this blog has been easy lately.  Survivors just send stuff to me.  That is great because my new job working as a nurse in a bone marrow transplant unit at a large university health care system continues to drain my energies while at the same time inspiring me to more.  That should make a a nice post of my own.  Maybe later this week…

Today I received an email from Jen Luce.  She became an ovarian cancer survivor at the age of 29 in 2007.  She has been busy ever since.  She not only maintains her blog 2011: Don’t be afraid to jump , but also finds time to speak at conferences and write for other websites.  She says this about blogging.  “Cancer can be so very tragic, and it takes love, patience and support to get through it. Community became very important to me as I learned to heal myself from the effects of treatment. Picking up tools such as meditation, resources, meditation, and peer counseling, gave me the drive to share with others.”

How do you open your heart and get vulnerable?

I know that love and tenderness have been big topics for me this year, whether it’s been regarding a relationship I’m in which I am personally struggling with due to my past, or what I have felt is an imperative need in my life, or how much I allow myself to be open with others considering the hurt and pain I’ve encountered in dealing with cancer patients.

It’s interesting how much our past experiences denote our responses to current situations.

With regards to vulnerability, the breadth of relationships I have experienced with cancer patients and the wisdom gleaned have allowed me to really open up my heart, though it has been difficult to lose so many from this dreadful disease.

In fact, I must pay tribute to all those lost. This past week we have lost Caio, a 23 year old Osteo-Sarcoma cancer victim. I hate to say the word, but it’s really true. I know he lived with his cancer because of all the support he had, but I don’t think it’s right to live with a disease. I think it’s so unfair to cause so much pain to an angel, as he truly was one. He met everyone with such honour and appreciation of being, that it was impossible to not meet him with love. The memorial service that was held this past Friday was completely full. There was barely room for people to stand. His partner loved him dearly, and really showed this at the service. It was so touching. Several people shared their experiences, songs, poems and flowers, which allowed such a breadth of ceremony.

I’ve had a tough time dealing with his passing. Survivor guilt was never something I thought was possible, until I passed my one year cancer free mark. A survivor mentioned it to me as I’d never heard of it before. It’s a strange concept really; as happy as I am to be here, I’m so angry for those that lose their fight to this horrible disease.

There have honestly been too many to count during my journey post-cancer. I believe there is a post where I was detailing who and when people were leaving this dimension for another hopefully pain-free and peaceful one. I actually feel somewhat disgusted that I was chronicling people I’d met that I’d no longer be able to have relationships with.

I can’t be angry at myself for doing this though, it’s a human response to put things into context and that was my purpose at that time. It is no longer.

~ 2011: Don’t be afraid to jump.


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.


Don’t Be Afraid to Jump – guest post — 1 Comment

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