Ringing the bell

I’m happy that I made so many of you happy with my last post. Tomorrow is chemo #6, so since I will probably start depressing the hell out of you by this time next week, I figured I would check in again while the going is mostly good.

I am currently chomping on some crackers to take with my pre-chemo dose of steroids. I will be on a lower dose this round, which hopefully will minimize some psychotic feelings and fat face and other issues, while still doing its job of mitigating serious reactions to the chemotherapy. I have learned that most of cancer treatment is trying to find a middle ground between making sure your treatment is doing its job and making sure you aren’t completely miserable and in constant agony. That sweet spot is a very difficult one to find, indeed.

I am still feeling pretty decent, all things considered. I have developed some uncomfortable muscle pain the past couple days, which I imagine is a delayed reaction to the cumulative chemo sessions. I also have constant runny eyes which can make it difficult to see, and a constant drippy nose, which can make it difficult not to be gross. Some side effects can show up after completing chemo (something fun to look forward to!) and last for quite awhile. It is difficult to deal with the toll all of this has taken on my body. A lot of people don’t realize the severe effects cancer treatment has on your physical well-being, long after the treatment is over. I worry sometimes about long-term muscle pain, joint pain, exhaustion, fogginess. I worry that people won’t understand and will expect me just to be like any other normal young gal. But I will never be normal. Nothing about this is normal. I guess I will just have to deal with it, same as I have been with everything else. And hope that I will find nice people to carry me up a flight of stairs when my legs start to ache as they do now.

So tomorrow is my final chemo. I made it through to the end of this grueling part of my aggressive treatment plan. At my hospital, when one finishes their chemo treatments, there is a bell you’re supposed to ring and people clap and whatnot. I’ve been a bit torn about ringing the bell. In three weeks, I will be right back in the chemo chair, because I need to continue to receive targeted antibody drugs for an entire year, due to my badass type of cancer. There are still side effects, but they should not be nearly as severe. I have already started on those drugs, but since they’re currently mixed in with my chemo cocktail, it’s difficult to know which side effect is a result of which drug. Hopefully, it will be a breeze compared to what I’ve been dealing with. But the fact that I will still be hooked up to bags of drugs every three weeks for a year makes me feel a bit reluctant to ring the bell.

However, after some deliberation, I have decided I am going to ring that goddamn bell. I have had to sit in that chair many times, with cytotoxic liquid dripping into my veins, hearing the bell ring and feeling envious of the person ringing it. That lucky bastard. So, now it’s my turn. I’ve earned it. And around this time next year, I will ring it again. Harder. In all likelihood, I will probably break it. Poor bell. You have no idea what’s coming your way.

Needing this pep talk to get me through tomorrow. Thanks, Coach Taylor. I can always count on you.

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15 thoughts on “Ringing the bell

  1. RING THE BELL,WE ALL WILL HERE IT AND IF THE TIME EVER COMES TO RING IT AGAIN DO SO AND KEEP RINGING IT AND SOON IT WILL BE JUST THE DOOR BELL OF YOUR SWEET HOME WITH JACOB . ANSWER THE DOOR YOUR MOM AND DAD CAN COME IN.AND WHO KNOWS MABY YOUR GRAMPA AND UNCLES AND AUNTS. PUT THE COFFEE ON. I WILL BRING THE TIMIES.AND YOU CAN MAKE THE CUP CAKES. love you as always Unc Jack Aunt Fran.

  2. you ring that bell as hard as you can. You won,t believe it I called Pope Francis in Rome and he said for for steph he will ring many bells. We love you and will be thinking of you today. Sher an Rho from RI

  3. I’m glad you’re feeling better Steph! Re-decorating and organizing is one of my favourite things to do! Your new bed is super-cute and you look very pretty in the most recent picture you posted πŸ™‚

  4. RING the BELL! you DESERVE to ring it! I want to hear it ALL the way to Rhode Island! I’m praying for you, Steph! So glad it’s the last treatment! only positive thoughts to you! Love you and will be thinking of you! Helene

  5. Thank you for sharing your horrific experiences with cells run amuck. Your writings are fabulous. Big hugs for the days ahead and ring that bell long and hard.
    From another Stephanie in Los Angeles.

  6. The sound of your bell ringing will definetly be better than the bells on the Peace Tower! Love from all of us in Ottawa!!

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