Seven Days

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?

Yes.

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?

Seven days.

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About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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20 Responses to Seven Days

  1. sharechair says:

    Ring that bell. Send up fireworks. Shout and yell. Jump and dance. This ordeal is over. Don’t think ahead, not now. Stay in the present, and celebrate!! ❤

  2. Judy says:

    This was so tough to read. But it is a perfect example to me about how mindsets can affect how we feel. You could choose to focus on the worry and negative element of cancer not being eliminated – how human that would be! I cannot imagine overcoming that dark cloud. The other focus is the positive one and it is amazing how you have embraced that. I can only imagine it is a struggle as your post clearly points out.
    That is why you are my hero. You fight hard to stay on the positive path – there is so much love in your heart for others struggling, and most of all for your family. I applaud you, Stacey!

    • inmycorner says:

      I’ll give you that, Judy – it is a struggle. And it is a choice. What I can’t understand is why anyone would choose to be miserable? I mean – for the long haul because I have my days – think those are the days I don’t write. Being positive is the most challenging part of cancer, really. And it is the little things that count like when my fingers no longer tingle. When I get up in the mornig and my feet don’t hurt. That kind of stuff counts. But – we all have that kind of issue every day. Sometimes I wonder if I things were tougher BC (before cancer) but I just schelpped them off? I don’t know. So glad to be a part of your life – funny – you are so meaningful to me and yet – I’ve never met you. Thank you – more than you know.

      • Judy says:

        I realize the idea of it being a choice – that is the hardest part. I remember well with grief that I had to make choices, too. I think what most people don’t realize is that what he think controls how we feel. So the choice to “tell our story” in a way that is hopeful – allows us to live with peacefulness and joy. It is very hard and not always possible, especially when physical pain is involved.
        I’m very touched that I’m meaningful. I had a blogging friend that supported me and when she died this year, I guess I’ve carried her in my heart and become the person she was to me. It’s beautiful for me to know that and thank you for sharing with me. 🙂

      • inmycorner says:

        What we think controls how we feel. That is so very true. How important are those few words to remember. We can change our thinking and therefore, can control how we feel. So simple yet so profound. Cool. It must be so difficult to have lost a blogging friend. I’m going to do my best to make sure you don’t lose another one! How proud she would be that you have continued her legacy, Judy. Bravo – and thank you.

      • Judy says:

        I can’t take credit for that statement about thoughts and feelings because it is the major tenant of hypnotherapy. I have a wonderful woman I’ve worked with for 6 years. When I am with her, I share my worries etc. and always find another way to think about things that feels better. So when I feel discouraged, I know I can change my thoughts around things! Ah, my friend would be proud of me – thank you for saying that. She did not have cancer (heart failure) and I was able to actually meet her when she was in California on a trip. I’m so glad I did.
        Maybe one day we’ll get to meet, Stacey! That would be amazing. 🙂

      • inmycorner says:

        Indeed. And, by the way, LOVED the cow. Geez – is there anything you can’t do?

  3. Yes, ring it for those others as well. And may it be the last time you need to ring it…

  4. YOU RING THAT DAMN BELL FOR YOU STACEY MAY!!!!

    (I’m a middle name user and don’t know yours so I just gave you one. 🙂 ) RING IT!!!!!

  5. Laurie McCarthy says:

    There is a cure out there Stacey!
    Today, tomorrow, next week…..there is always hope!
    You ring that bell with everything you have in you!
    You have a whole community behind you😘😘😘

    • inmycorner says:

      (Hope your daughter is there to hear it, Laurie) Imagine – she being on holidays when I was working in the chemo suites… grin. There is a cure. I know it. And if not for me – there will be for future generations. I am confident. And the bell will ring – think I ‘ve had enough response to be clear on that one! girn

  6. karen markovic says:

    I find it so interesting why they use a bell in the chemo suite…what is the symbolism or meaning behind it. There are so many bells in life and I understand there purpose….. wedding bells, church bells, doorbells, cowbells, servants bells, dinner bells, hells bells and so on. My favourite is “everytime a bell rings an angel gets it’s wings” let’s hope the chemo bell’s significance means you have received your wings to fly out of that hospital, never to return, no more poison cocktails, only healthy happy remission. May love, light and a strong immune system be your’s from now on.

    • inmycorner says:

      I’d love that, Karen. I’m afraid that won’t likely happen as I’ll need more chemo in the future as is the nature of my disease. But – I am hopeful my body will continue to respond to it… and that every time leads us all closer to the cure. This bell, for me, will signify another chance. Another chapter in my life to enjoy. Another day. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts.

  7. rhysmcc says:

    I have had treatment at a major hospital, and they have no bell to ring! Still, I understand your conflict. I don’t think we ever really have a “finish” line, not at first, anyway. I prefer to stay positive as I go along, and remember the people I know who are living great lives, long after cancer treatment.
    Celebrate, and ring that bell for you, and the nurses who were with you every step of the way, and the doctors who have worked hard at finding the right solution for you. YAY!

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