Daily Archives: December 13, 2013

The source of my determination and strength is my team

Well, Wednesday we wrapped up the chemotherapy at Kirklin. Final treatments are celebrated by ringing a bell, accompanied by a round of applause. The corkscrew at bottom right was a gift to mark the occasion and to help me look forward to the day when I can again enjoy a glass of vino.

Wednesday we wrapped up the chemotherapy at Kirklin. Final treatment visits are marked by the patient ringing a bell on the way out. The corkscrew at bottom right was a gift to mark the occasion and to help me look forward to the day when I can again enjoy a glass of good vino. (Photos: Belynda Adams)

I have to tell you about the big chapter that closed out Wednesday, as my final chemotherapy treatment went down as planned.  Join me in a virtual high five! Hurray!

It was a day of mixed feelings. Of course I was looking forward to wrapping up this phase of my care. But with two weeks between treatments, I was almost back to feeling normal. Even knowing it was the last time, it was hard to get back in that chair.

Here’s how it goes: I get in the chair and receive my pre-meds that help me fight nausea. Then my nurse rolls over and begins with the Adriamycin, pushing the red fluid in with a big, round syringe very slowly over 15 minutes.

To be honest, it always freaked me out a little. I never looked down to watch. So I’d ask her, “How are we doing now?”  Afterward came the Cytoxan, which by comparison was a breeze.

This week, going up the escalator in Kirklin for my pre-treatment labs, I had a moment of realization, “This is the last time! Wonderful!”

Because it was my last treatment, on Wednesday I was allowed to ring a brass bell by the door. A plaque alongside it says this:

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

This treatment’s done, My course is run, And I am on my way. – Irve Le Moyne.”

A footnote on plaque says “Soli deo gloria,” Latin for “Glory to God alone.”
Perfect.

People say to me, “How’re you doing this?” or “You seem so strong.”
To that I would say, it’s really a team that makes it work.

It has always been hard for me to receive. And early on in this journey, somebody told me “you need to allow that because people want to do it and it is a blessing to them.”

So I have done just that.  In doing so, I’ve opened myself up to a love so selfless, it takes my breath away. Thank you!

If you’ve kept up with my posts here, you know my sister, Deb, hosted Thanksgiving and I’ll be at her home again on Christmas afternoon. Another family member is hosting Christmas Eve.

Also in the category of those who I hope are receiving blessings of their own in return: My priest, who helped me begin this journey with the sacrament of healing, and other clergy friends Charles and Christine;  my therapist, Vicki Addaway; my trainer, Susan, who I’ve mentioned here before; at work, my Bridgeworth Financial family; and so very many dear friends.

So when I’m asked those questions, I think to myself, “That’s how I do it. All that.”
You give me courage. I am determined.