My wife finished her chemotherapy treatments yesterday. There was no opportunity to ring a bell. There was no applause. There were no celebratory hugs and cheers. We quietly exited the building just as we had done after every other chemo treatment. I guess I should not have watched so many videos of others celebrating the end of this chapter. Why doesn't the hospital cancer center have a bell?
I did some research about the bell ringing tradition. Apparently, not everyone is in favor of this particular practice. We may have unknowingly saved ourselves from some long-term trauma according to this article.
Ringing a bell was not a thing when I finished chemotherapy back in 1986, or at least I was unaware of it if it was being done. Furthermore, I was so sick when I finished the treatments that I could not have celebrated too much anyway. I ended up back in the hospital just a few days after finishing treatments due to an infection. Thankfully, chemo has made some progress since I went through it 35 years ago.
Margaret has completed two steps in this journey, with one step still staring her in the face. Surgery--done! Chemotherapy--done! Radiation--do we really need to do that too????
There will be some time for Margaret to recuperate from this last chemo treatment before moving to the next step. If she goes through six weeks of radiation treatments, I still think I will have to find a bell that she can ring. I want to have a video of the celebration so we can be popular on social media like the cool kids. Actually, I view it as a helpful tool in celebrating a small victory in a challenging battle. These days, I think we can all use a boost to our mental and emotional health.
Check out these positive stories about the bell: