Are you tired of my anniversaries? 1 year ago tomorrow, I had my last radiation appointment. I “rang the bell” at Roger Maris Cancer Center & ended my active treatment. These milestones are wonderful to celebrate but they bring up some emotions too. My Facebook memories showed my Caring Bridge post from a year ago. Since you might not have read that, I’m posting it here too:
April 7, 2015
Today I had my last regular/weekly appointment with the radiation oncologist (aka my flow chart Dr). Tomorrow is my last radiation treatment. They were talking to me today about ringing the bell after my last treatment tomorrow. I guess I hadn’t thought of that. I obviously know that tomorrow is the last day, but to realize that it’s the last day of “active treatment” was something that hadn’t quite sunk in yet. The thought of being able to “Ring the Bell” kind of made me emotional. For those of you who don’t know, there is a big bell by the doorway at Roger Maris. When you are done with “active treatment”, you can ring the bell to signify that you are a Survivor. Some people don’t want to do it, some think it’s superstitious to ring it in case your cancer returns (and also you still have 5 yrs of follow up – but this is the end of active treatment). I am quite certain that I will ring their bell and do so with my pink attire on and a large smile on my face. And I will quite possibly be teary.
I am relieved to have this part of my journey (almost) over. I’m amazed at the prayers, friendship and support that me and all of my family have received these last 4 months. I’m thankful for those prayers and positive messages that have carried us through some difficult days. I’m so thankful for my family and their support. I know I’m not always easy to deal with, and they’ve taken it in stride. I’m thankful for my co-workers, and Cameron’s, who have helped cover our work duties, supported our absences and listened to our stories – I’m sure to them it seems like this is going on FOREVER. I am thankful that I have grown in faith, learned to turn things over to God (and not be shy or apologetic in my dependence on HIM), and have drawn on HIS strength and promise to keep me going. While my journey isn’t over, and I’ll likely update after hysterectomy (and if there is anything else “interesting” that happens along the way), I’m glad to be closing this “chapter” of my cancer story. Strength, positive attitude and faith are things that I’ve heard from people when they talk about how I’m handling this. There is a saying on my desk that is truer than you’ll ever know – “You never know how STRONG you are until being STRONG is the only choice you have”. That’s how I’ve approached this journey, and will continue to for the next 5+ years.
So, if you see me tomorrow (Wed) after 11am, feel free to HIGH FIVE me, say congratulations, or just smile big. This chapter of my journey will be ending, and I will be thankful!
That was from a year ago. At times it feels like yesterday & sometimes it feels like a million miles away. I still carry the card with me from the cancer center: “Ring this bell Three times well Its toll to clearly say, My treatment’s done This course is run And I am on my way.” I still can’t read that without getting a lump in my throat. So tomorrow I will acknowledge my anniversary & be thankful for all that’s happened. Oh, and if you want to high five me on Friday, that’s fine too.