Sunday, June 2, 2013

RING MY BELL


Final Treatment for Puffy Bald Ole Me - February 2007
 On February 1st, 2007 I had my final chemotherapy treatment!  Mike was with me as he was for each and every treatment.  I was so happy to finally be done with it.  It really was a rough time with each treatment getting worse than the one before.  The last treatment really threw me off for quite a number of days.  I was extremely fatigued with plenty of aches and pains in my arms, legs and back.  Not to mention a number of other wacky side effects.  I spent most days sleeping and missed out on so many every day things that might not seem important but when you miss a number of them it becomes very important.  Just day to day family life but I often felt like I wasn't a part of my own family anymore because I was not present and not participating in anything.  Again I had to remind myself, “It’s not forever, it’s just for now.” 
Ringing the Victory Bell!
 - February 2007

After that last chemo treatment I finally got to ring the "Victory Bell".  There is a large bell in the chemo room that is reserved for those that complete their treatments.  Each person would go to the bell and ring it loud and proud.  Everyone cheers and claps and it really is a very emotional moment.  I heard that bell ring a number of times and kept waiting for my turn.  When I finally did get to ring it WOW was it ever loud when you are standing directly underneath it!  I can’t explain how great that felt!

My dear friend Roxanne and her family actually bought me my very own beautiful victory bell to put up at home.  It is reserved for all the special victories that we will share as a family and with friends over the years.  This was such a touching and meaningful gift and I am ever so grateful for it!

I was now finished with chemo but the chemo wasn’t finished with me.  By that I mean that people assumed that after my last treatment on February 1 that I was done.  That all of a sudden I was going to be back to normal.  That is not how it works.  I still had the usual weeks of recovery compounded by all of the side effects that I had that I didn’t even know would ever go away.  So I think people just assumed that I was done but did not realize the after affects or how long they would last.  So now I was done with chemo but I wasn’t really done.  Not yet.

My Very Own Victory Bell
I also had side effects from the many medications I had to take.  I had to take tons of different drugs since this all started.  They prescribe a medication to help but then that drug might have side effects so then I would get another prescription for something to combat that one and before you know it you could get completely screwed up in what you were taking, how often and how much of it.  I could give you a list of them all and how much they cost because it’s pretty outrageous when you add it all up.  Up to this point I had a stack of over 20 prescriptions totalling over $1200.  That doesn’t include the Neulasta™ shots that I had to get for the last four treatments that cost $2500 each time.  I was pretty lucky that I had health insurance.  It must be so hard to deal with all of the cancer crap and then to add financial stress on top of that is just sickening.

Now I was in recovery mode and getting ready to find out about the next part of the journey.
Ring My Bell - Anita Ward

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