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 speak 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, Cyprus, Israel, and India.
Dennis and his wife, Tish, live in Indiana. They have three grown sons – Nathan, Ben, and Aaron, two daughters-in-law – Coppelia and Dorothy, four granddaughters, Sophia and Isabel, and twins, Gemma and Molly, as well as an English setter, Raleigh. Hobbies are writing, gardening, boating, reading, woodworking, surfing the internet, and going to garage sales and auctions.
Dennis does writing, speaking and consulting on healthcare issues, pharmaceutical programs, survivorship and advocacy, as well as, nursing education. He currently works on the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis.
In 2002 Dennis’ on-line book, Diary of an Illness, was published by the Oncology Nursing Society on their website. It remained a popular feature there until 2009. In February 2010 Dennis republished the journal as a free e-book on its own site. The book has been used by cancer patients as well as in medical and nursing courses. Diary of an Illness – A Cancer Nurse Battles a Rare Leukemia
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