I read the comment to my last post, by Dennis Pyritz RN, of the site Being Cancer. I checked out and love his site, it is a wonderful resource.

I went back to his blog and read his Feb. 2009 inaugural post, Transplant Birthday. I loved that in his post that he acknowledged that we as cancer survivors do appreciate our blessings more, but he comments on the fact that “the dark hand of cancer” still transforms his life even seven years post diagnosis.

He goes on to say “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.”

The theme I think resonates always for all of us who have walked cancer’s path in our life. We are forever changed, we are never totally “cancer free”. The patient interviews in the book “Dancing in Limbo: Making Sense of Life After Cancer” also found that most long-term survivors remain haunted by “the dark hand of cancer”.

In reading Dennis’ blog I also read that he regretfully has “retired” from nursing. As a registered nurse, I beg to disagree with him. Important roles a nurse assumes are those of educating and advocating for patients, and in that sense he continues to be a nurse…in a very profound and meaningful way. I think some of the best healers are those who have walked the path of a patient, the “wounded healers”. I’ve always felt nursing is a “team sport”, and I am very proud to have Dennis as a member of our team. He continues to heal.