After my cancer came back, I spent many hours in the lobby of the cancer center. On one of the first days back, I heard someone ring the bell. And all I could think is how long my path would be before I would ring it. It would be two months of surgeries, four months of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of daily radiation. All in all, it will be almost one year when I consider this over from when I found the lump.
And there is no guarantees it’s over. After a double mastectomy I felt falsely invincible from cancer. Although there was no bell for me to ring. In my mind I rang it loud and clear - never having to deal with breast cancer again. Never say never.
I’m not ringing it because too many people don’t get the chance to ring the bell.
● People like my uncle Mike who had Glioblastoma (brain cancer) and who forgot the name of my grandfather while leading his burial service. Mike’s funeral was less than a year later. He had just retired from the ministry and simply wanted to ride bikes with my Aunt Myrna in their days ahead.
● People like my own mom. How I wish I had a mom right now. I hope I can be a mom for a long time. That’s why I’m doing all of this treatment.
● People who are just now at the beginning of their cancer journey.
I wait in a little area each day before my radiation treatment. A few days ago I met Connie there. She also had Glioblastoma. I complimented her on her hair and then I pulled my wig out of my purse and showed it off. She said I looked so healthy and had such a great wig. I asked her about her treatment plan, and she said, “First I had su, sur, S, U, R …” and I said, “Surgery?” and she said yes. She also said not being able to find words was a symptom of her brain cancer. I said chemo can have a similar effect. I said, “I think it’s called aphasia?” She agreed and we laughed at two women trying to find the medical word for not being able to find the word. At the end, she stood up and said, “It was great marrying you today… –I can’t believe I said marrying! I meant meeting!” And I laughed with her and said, “It was great marrying you today too!” and off I went to have radiation.
While I’m not ringing the bell, I respect others right to do so. Like cancer treatment, everyone’s path is different. Everyone processes information differently, and everyone chooses their treatment based on what’s most important to them.
God speed to all of you.