One week today. Seven days. Final chemo in this series. And I can’t decide if I should ring the bell?
It’s not like last time. I prepared a speech, I invited people to witness, and I was confident that I’d never do it again. I rang the bell to indicate I was “done” with my treatments. I thanked the nurses, the doctors, and friends and family for their support. It was because of them that I was able to live and live well. I was so excited. They were so excited. I could barely wait for the last bit of poison to course through my veins.
And then – here I am – once more – ready to ring the bell. I think. But, what does it mean to me this time? What does it mean to others?
I’ve always said that funerals are for the living. It doesn’t matter what the deceased wants because they are not the ones left grieving. It DOES matter to the living. One does what one must to move through grief. So is it the same with this chemo bell? Does it really matter what “I” do? Or is it more important for others to experience? I am always so happy, sometimes moved to tears, when I see someone else ring that bell. They are smiling, so happy. There are lots of tears and there is much laughter. Then, everyone applauds – everyone.
So – what does ringing that bell mean to me this time? It almost makes me feel like I’m a bit of an imposter. I’m not even sure if I’ll be in remission – really. My six treatments are up, but I’ll still have cancer. Does one ring the bell when one still has cancer?
I’m pretty sure I’ll be back for more chemo in the future. If so – just how many times can I ring that bell until it becomes routine? Will it lose it’s meaning? I don’t want to sound blaze about it – but too many rings makes the sound fade. If you know what I mean?
Maybe I should ring it, though? Maybe I should ring it everytime I/ we have made it though another round like in boxing? It signifies and “end” to one thing and the “beginning” of another. It signifies closure. It signifies hope. It signifies achievement – not just for me, but also for the doctors, the nurses, family, and for friends. Maybe I’m ringing the bell for them? Maybe they need something to give them hope and encouragement too?
I think I need to ring the bell for them. And, maybe for me too.
One week, seven days, seven sleeps.
The final drop in the bucket. The last toxin to hit my system for a while will drip. I will keep my implant as, no doubt, I will need it in the future. Maybe not? Maybe there will be a cure? Maybe I can dream?