• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 262 (Radiation Treatment 18 of 30: Witnessing a ‘Ringing Out’ Ceremony)


    Monday, March 30, 2015

    Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today: 3.45 miles;  Running Total: 222.04 miles)

    Day 262 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    Today I started Week 4 of the Couch to 5K app. Today was a five minute warmup, run for three minutes, walk 90 seconds, run 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes, repeat. I did this two and a half times.  I intended to do this three full times, but I know when I’ve had enough. Two and a half was enough. By the end of the week I’m sure I’ll be able to do it three times.

    I didn’t sleep well last night. I woke up from a bad dream at 3 am and couldn’t get back to sleep for a long time. I don’t think I’ve done that since chemo. Anyway, it made for an emotional morning. Being tired always makes my crazy come out.

    As I walked into my radiation appointment I witnessed a little ceremony that my doctor’s office has at the end of radiation treatment. Two men who’d been going through treatment at the same time got to ‘ring out’.

    Ringing out is something that MD Anderson does when a patient is done with radiation. Which, for a lot of people, marks the end of cancer treatment. Everyone gathers around a bell in the hallway and the patient rings the bell.

    The bell.

    The bell.

    The plaque.

    The plaque.

    I saw these men and their family members gather around the bell as I walked into the radiation room. As I lay back on the table and put my arm over my head I heard the ding of the bell.

    And I wanted to be done so bad my heart cramped.

    Radiation leaves you with plenty of time to think. I’m in a dark room by myself and I can’t move so my imagination goes into overdrive.

    I envisioned what it would feel like to be done with treatment. I pictured Justin and the kids standing there with me. I felt the rope in my hand and vibration through it when rang the bell three times just like the plaque says to do.

    Also, thinking of ringing out makes me think of my friend Patti.  I saw pictures of her ringing out ceremony when she finished breast cancer treatment. I remember her smile in those pictures. When the cancer came back and took her from us, tiny thimble-sized bells were distributed to everyone who attended her funeral. I will never forget the sound of all those bells ringing together to say goodbye to my friend.

    I think of Patti all the time. I wish she was still here.

    And, of course this all made me cry. Crying on the radiation table is a bad idea. Your tears have nowhere to go except down the sides of your face to pool in your ears. Then you have to lay that way for the next thirty minutes.

    Also, crying makes it damn near impossible to hold my breath.

    I tried to hide my feelings from the nurses, covering it up with jokes the best I could.  I don’t know if I succeeded in my hiding or if they were just tactful.  Either way, I wasn’t in the mood to be comforted or reassured. Sometimes comfort and reassurance and just general niceness make it harder to pull myself back together. And all I wanted was a chance to compose myself and get out.

    The body image therapist called me out on this sort of behavior. I don’t let others see the hard time I’m having. I cover it up with humor and a smile when I’m not feeling that way at all.

    I guess old habits die hard.

    Today’s silver lining: Today was #18. Another one down. 12 left.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.


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5 Responsesso far.

  1. Kyla says:

    I love you cuz, I hope you have a wonderful day.

  2. Mom says:

    My darling daughter, My crazies come out with no sleep too! I have been very emotional lately I think I get 2 days out of 7 that I sleep Lately I have been thinking a lot about you and it doesnot help you in the least! But it’s 5:00 o’clock somewhere tonight

    Love you,


  3. amy p says:

    When are you free?…name the day…I’m driving down for our run/coffee date.

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