Don’t Waste Your Cancer – guest blog

Libby Ryder writes at dontwasteyourcancer.  This is a quiet little meditation on the life of one cancer survivor as she moves, literally and metaphorical, along life’s peculiar journey, from one stepping stone to the next.

Take care, Dennis

blogs are funny because they really only display a small snippet of your life. as i look back on the past couple months i can not believe how many things went unwritten about. it was a lot. sadly the lack of blogging does not mean it was not super fun or real important there are just not enough hours in the day. but i do believe you make time for what is important. so with that said…i may or may not post about things that happened a month or so ago. but we will see. but for today i will share something pretty big.
we just back from rockbridge yesterday afternoon. we unloaded the car and unpacked a little bit. there are still piles of laundry and suitcases that are still all zipped up. i hate unpacking. i would rather wear clothes i do not like very much than unpack and do the amount of laundry i need to do. so instead ava and i napped. i was exhausted. when she woke up we did our usual. popsicles on the back porch. a few boats went by. we swing on the swing. ava gets bored and we walk outside. it was an incredible day. not too hot. a nice little breeze off the water. it does not take much convincing that this place really is very special place to live.

this house. the emotion. we have only been here 13 months but in many ways a lifetime. i healed here. i was sick and then i wasn’t in this house. ava walked here. she learned to talk here. i spent endless hours in this house when i was sick. so many significant conversations with friends and family took place here. on the porch. in my bed. upstairs overlooking the river. i have never felt so deeply for a place in all my life. i mean it is only a house. but wow it is so much more. my baby became a little girl here. her first christmas was here. i healed here while looking at the water. justin and i spent more time in this house than we did in all the other places we lived combined. i love it. i can not deny it. i am bursting inside as all the memories of this past year flood into my head. so many visitors. so much help. so many special memories happened here. i used to think it would maybe be hard to live here after my cancer was gone. but it has been the opposite. the emotional attachment i have to this place is more than anywhere else i have ever spent time. because this year changed me. justin. even little ava in such a way that the river house will always. i mean forever. be so significant to our lives. or mostly just mine. i am not sure. but even as i type this i can feel the emotions run through my body. the fear. laughter. sickness. fatigue. the fun. the conversations. the books we read here. the games we played. where ava learned to use chalk and go down a slide. this neighborhood. how i was too tired to do much but ava and i would try and take a walk when i knew she must be going crazy inside this house all day.  the peace and joy i experienced when justin called me and said…”we are moved in. come see the house.” i knew i was home. really home. i knew i could be sick here and still be okay. i knew i could heal here and then be even better here. maybe this seems like a bit to much to you as you read this post…i am okay with that. because i am not sure i will ever be able to articulate what is going on inside when i think about what this place means to me.

~ dontwasteyourcancer


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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