I am over nine years out from my diagnosis of a disease (t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia or T-PLL) which has a median survival of 7.5 months. I am over six years out from any sign of active disease and over six years from an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant. I still experience fatigue, am still on prednisone, and remain blind in my left eye due to a herpes zoster (shingles) infection.
So my intention in setting up this site may be different than others with cancer still in the midst of their battle. I recognized that, despite our best intentions, we come to identify very intimately with out cancer. As I explained it in my very first post “Transplant Birthday”
Now before my diagnosis I thought of myself as a husband, a father, a nurse. But since the profundity of my cancer diagnosis all that has become somehow secondary to the thought “I have cancer” I am cancer. So “being cancer” became the central preoccupation of my life. It has pervaded everything, it has affected nearly every facet of my life – mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually. It is a constant struggle, a tug-of-war between hope and desolation. And now nearly five years from any sign of active disease this old theme – being cancer -still haunts. I suspect that for many persons with cancer, and perhaps even for those caring for persons with cancer, this theme of “being cancer” resonates loudly.
So my intention then for Being Cancer Network was to create a community of people whose lives have been transformed by cancer. The focus for my writing is to stimulate emotion and thought, and to promote sharing of experiences and of what those experiences meant to our gifted and measured lives. Some of this will be history, some stories, other times themes around which we can share our thoughts and feeling. It will become a resource center for a community of cancer bloggers and answer seekers.
In any case this site is not so much for me as it is for what I want it to be for you. I come at it from two perspectives. As a cancer survivor, I want to continue to look for ways to turn this experience into something positive. As a cancer nurse no longer able to practice active, I am still striving to “make a difference.” I hope that this site will offer something of value to a broad spectrum of people. So please don’t be shy about sharing your comments. Else how will I know if I am succeeding at all.
Take care, Dennis
The lighthouse logo is being incorporated into the structure of the website. Echoing the photo theme in the header and the “About This Site” page, this logo is actually of the Tybee Island lighthouse, in the shadow of which I began my recovery after my first remission. I think the image reflects the sheltering qualities of an on-line cancer community – a safe harbor, a refuge from battling the elements, a place to launch from and return to.