Ring the Bell!

 

Clang! cried the bell, as noisemakers rattled and whoops and cheers rang out
Clang! pealed the bell, as noisemakers chattered with yells and applause
Clang! sang the bell, as noisemakers roared and voices whooped and hollered.
And I stood there, covered my face, and cried.

*     *     *

As the final ritual for ending chemotherapy at Advent Hospital, patients are invited to say the poem below and “ring the bell” three times. I didn’t plan on ringing it, since I thought I would be the only one there to do the deed. As it turns out, all the infusion nurses, including several who had taken care of me, excitedly spread the word that the bell was going to be rung. This act is a milestone in so many ways, to mark the end of a treacherous road and to celebrate life. My husband, fortunately, encouraged me to do it and stood nearby. So, when I walked over to the bell that was hanging on the wall, imagine my surprise when all the nurses, grinning and rattling their noisemakers, stood nearby. This is the poem I declared, followed by a fist pump!

Ring this bell
Three times well
Its toll to clearly say,

My treatment’s done
This course is run
And I am on my way!

— Irve Le Moyne

My journey has not been nearly as difficult as some patients; some people have many more treatments with devastating side effects. Although I have had my share of pain and discomfort and now have peripheral neuropathy, I am satisfied that I took the steps I needed to take to pursue a rich and worthy life.

Now a new path unfolds in front of me. I will have to contemplate how the road ahead appears. As our @mim526 said to me early on, cancer does not define a person; it refines them.

How that transformation, if any, manifests, time will tell.

Ring that bell!

Published in Healthcare
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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Outstanding!  Congratulations!  I’m so glad to hear that everything went well!

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I feel compelled to mention that some people have not found the bell-ringing to be gratifying, for any number of reasons. I invite those of you who found it to be a negative event to share your experience.

    • #2
  3. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Finally – three ding-a-lings I want to hear!  Gratz!

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    God bless you, Susan. You have our prayers.

    • #4
  5. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    One thousand likes. If I were standing OOD and you departed my quarterdeck, you’d get a sharp salute and eight bells. 

    Quinn, departing.

    • #5
  6. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Congratulations, Susan.

    I recall reading of a doctor quoted as saying something like this, “We physicians are privileged to observe as God heals our patients.”

    • #6
  7. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Huh. No bell ringing ceremony where I had my treatments. But I still had surgery and radiation to look forward to. There were a lot of hugs though. All in all bells would have been too much for me but I can see it suits you.

    Congratulations!

    • #7
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I thought the saying went,”Every time a bell rings, a fairy gets irradiated.” 

    Congrats!

    • #8
  9. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    This is great news! It’s only 12:30 CST, but I’m calling it: today’s a good day.

    • #9
  10. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Yay!

    • #10
  11. CACrabtree Coolidge
    CACrabtree
    @CACrabtree

    Muchas Felicitaciones!!!

    • #11
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

     

    And the bells rang loud and clear through all the halls of Ricochet! The greatest day indeed! 

    Congratulations! 

     

    • #12
  13. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    • #13
  14. Dave L Member
    Dave L
    @DaveL

    Congratulations!

    • #14
  15. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Susan Quinn: now have peripheral neuropathy

    Dang! I was hoping you could avoid that. However, I understand that the nerves do heal in many people. Maybe you will be one of them. Mine started at about #16 of 20 treatments so it’s pretty well entrenched. I’ve been told it can take up to a year for the nerves to heal so don’t give up.

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Thanks for the good news update!

    • #16
  17. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    Looking good!  Great news! Congratulations!!!

    • #17
  18. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge
    Marjorie Reynolds
    @MarjorieReynolds

    What good news. So happy for you Susan!

    • #18
  19. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Well done!

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Well done!

    Thanks, @rodin! I felt so supported by the people on Ricochet as I weighed the various decisions I had to make regarding my treatment. I received such thoughtful, practical and heartfelt remarks from so many people, that when the time came for me to decide, the choices were clear.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MarciN (View Comment):
    And the bells rang loud and clear through all the halls of Ricochet! The greatest day indeed!

    Such beauty fills my heart, @marcin. Your flowers always lift me up.

    • #21
  22. Jim Chase Member
    Jim Chase
    @JimChase

    Wonderful, and amen, Susan!

    • #22
  23. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    You have a brilliant smile, Quinn.

    • #23
  24. lowtech redneck Coolidge
    lowtech redneck
    @lowtech redneck

    Congratulations, Susan!  And I like your smile.

    • #24
  25. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Can’t see me nodding my head in approval, nor the smile on my face, but it’s still there:  Makes me happy!

    • #25
  26. Weeping Member
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    Susan Quinn: As the final ritual for ending chemotherapy at Advent Hospital, patients are invited to say the poem below and “ring the bell” three times. I didn’t plan on ringing it, since I thought I would be the only one there to do the deed. As it turns out, all the infusion nurses, including several who had taken care of me, excitedly spread the word that the bell was going to be rung.

    I hadn’t thought about it before, but I imagine the sound of that bell is as much an encouragement and a sign of victory for those nurses as it is for the patients who ring it. They’ve poured so much of themselves into the patient, I don’t see how it can’t be. I’m glad you decided to ring the bell.

    And I’m glad you’ve completed your treatment. Congratulations!!!! May your life continue to get better and better.  {{{Hugs}}}

    • #26
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Weeping (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: As the final ritual for ending chemotherapy at Advent Hospital, patients are invited to say the poem below and “ring the bell” three times. I didn’t plan on ringing it, since I thought I would be the only one there to do the deed. As it turns out, all the infusion nurses, including several who had taken care of me, excitedly spread the word that the bell was going to be rung.

    I hadn’t thought about it before, but I imagine the sound of that bell is as much an encouragement and a sign of victory for those nurses as it is for the patients who ring it. They’ve poured so much of themselves into the patient, I don’t see how it can’t be. I’m glad you decided to ring the bell.

    And I’m glad you’ve completed your treatment. Congratulations!!!! May your life continue to get better and better. {{{Hugs}}}

    I’m sure your observation is true. It must be so hard for them on those days we are suffering– like Friday. But we were all lifted at the sound of the bell.

    • #27
  28. Foghorn Coolidge
    Foghorn
    @Dave Rogers

     

    My sister rang it also about 2 weeks ago. She was the last one at the treatment center that day. Thinking the staff were all in the back preparing to go home she shouted a thank you to the break room and headed for the corridor to leave. When she rounded the corner all the staff was lined up & started shouting and cheering. Scared the stuffing out of her. She rang the bell with a gusto and her after care program has kept her hydrated and doing well. 

    Wishing you as much success – hang in there. 

    • #28
  29. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Crossing my fingers and toes that it will be smooth sailing ahead dear Susan. We’re all cheering you on.

    • #29
  30. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    What everyone else has said.  Tripled.

    You may enjoy this.    I learned about “change ringing” from a Peter Wimsey mystery, by Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors.

    • #30