2015/10/29: Day 38 (Wed revisited) - Last External Radiation

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Sitting in the external radiation area, thankful that it is my last one. My skin has started to break down. My bowels are really unhappy. My body is feeling the impact of radiation...that bully that just keeps on hitting you...blow after daily blow.

Technologist comes by who works in 20E and 20F and says “woot, ring the bell day”. I grin.

I was late and the patient in the treatment room was on a stretcher so would be a while. No biggie, it’s my last. I can wait an hour if need be. I got this one. I know how to relieve my bladder of ½ of the volume should it be needed. I can entertain myself.

A woman there smiled and asked about the bell. She was in her first week of treatment and hadn’t been aware of the bell, so we talked about it. They loved the idea and of course were getting the idea of what 25 daily visits meant when combined with the travel. We talked about travelling companions.

The team signaled it was time and I went in for my last external radiation. Lots of smiles about it being the last one. They are great but everyone is happy for anyone who is done.

It seemed to be the week for staff moments though.

For setup, I didn’t have my normal team. This time it was a staff member and student. The staff member advised she had met me before, I’m thinking maybe with a student before as well.. What was unusual was that normally when anyone is doing anything, they tell you what they are doing and have general chatter going. This team did not. At one point, I couldn’t figure out if anyone was in the room still, as they were out of sight. Anyhow, I think she may have been evaluating the student on his work. Would have been nice to have said the setup would be a bit longer as by the time you are at #25 you kinda know the drill.

Finally got radiation going, and the actual didn’t take much longer, because honestly, it is pretty scripted.

As we are done, this supervisor comes back in and says “Last external radiation, I see you have two brachytherapy’s left”. J: “yes”. Staff: with surprise, “oh, you are going to ring the bell?”

At that point, she is lucky that I wasn’t a complete b****, as I would have told her to “f*** off”.

I am lucky that I wasn’t some meek person, devastated by her suggestion that I shouldn’t ring in celebration.

As it was, I am me. I said “HELL YA”. I said: “I have come here for 25 daily radiation treatments, traveled an hour each way and am not doing it any more. That is a celebration”.

I thought, “who the f*** are you to suggest that this is not a celebration”. I thought “clearly, you need some of what the rest of these folks have in understanding”.

The radiation team, the ones that had been there each and every day walked down to the bell with me. I think they liked my response to her. They were smiling. Note: One also said they would wait if I needed the washroom -- they know the drill of full-bladder and how long I had been in treatment.

The student walked down and had a huge smile.

I rang that bell. They said “ring it again”.

I rang it harder

The woman next to me smiled and applauded.

We, who go, get it.

The bell is hope.

The bell is a sound that signals we have done it.

Don’t ever let anyone take that celebration away.