Under Construction, But Still Alive

When I first typed the title above, I was referring to this blog – an update on recent events.  But then I realized that there was a deeper meaning.  The title also described the experience of many of us cancer survivors.  To a greater or lesser extend, the diagnosis of cancer tends to shatter and distort our experience of life.  And whether it has been ten days or ten years since diagnosis, we have involved ourselves in a process of re-construction.  Some finish the process sometime after remission.  For others the process of reconstructing, rebuilding goes on and on.

Just yesterday I was talking on the telephone with a woman in California who shares my rare disease, t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia.  She is in remission but looking towards stem cell transplant.  In the meantime, she says, she is looking for her “new normal”, a place all of us have been.  “Still alive” is our primary focus.  “Still alive” can be a source of rejoicing, or, at least, of solace.

So too with the blog.  Since December I have been de-constructing the mechanism.  My trusty host server in San Francisco was being put out of commission.  All accounts were being advised to “migrate to the cloud”.  Of course I put this off til the last minute for fear of losing everything in the process.  My desk has been stacked with books, instructions, and papers.  I had to relearn what I never understood well from the beginning: PHP, HTML, FTP, MySql, the WordPress Codex.

Finally I thought I had everything aligned.  I went over the checklist, hesitated for a moment, then hit “Enter”.  I typed in my familiar URL: www.beingcancer.net.  Then it happened – the white screen the error message stating “permission denied”.  My blog has disappeared into the ether.

For the next few days I consulted my books, help topics and the LS support desk.  Still no blog.  I appealed to my technical guru and cloud guide at Laughing Squid, Shelby DeNike.  He sent back a list of instructions which I tried to follow to the letter.  I hit enter once more.  Suddenly my blog reappeared, just as I left it…at the end of 2009.

For some mysterious reason all of the posts, comments, and cancer blogs for the past three years were nowhere to be found.  I appealed to Shelby once more.  This time he took off the gloves, dug into my overgrown database, and hefted the whole thing up onto the cloud.  This time it worked.

In the meantime I had the newest version of WordPress,  I uploaded a new theme (Weaver II), tweaked the controls a bit, and voila’, a brand new look to Being Cancer. So many new toys to play with!  Hours of fun and frustration!  new plugins and widgets, new features, bells and whistles!

But wait … that’s not why you visit here.  You come for the content.  You come to visit other survivors with your disease.  You come to read about other people’s experiences and insight with cancer.  I have at least three dozen new blogs to add.  Surely there are some gems in this bunch – an opportunity to republish some of them for this wider audience.

So that is where I will begin.  The other things, the new, interactive features can be added later and gradually.  In the meantime you can do two things for me.  First subscribe to the RSS feed in the sidebar for really simple to-your-computer notification of new blog content.  Second let me know if your blog or someone else’s is not listed.  If you want to add the Being Cancer Network lighthouse badge to your own sidebars,  just let me know.

I am looking forward to a healthy and happy New Year for all of us, blogs and lives under construction, but still alive.

Take care, Dennis



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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