Friday, November 15, 2013

When the bell rings...

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

I hardly know where to begin- my grateful heart is bursting right now.  

This past week has been filled with surprises. 

In a way- it seems the bells have been going off all week.

First came all the cool stuff in the mail.  (See above.)

We also enjoyed more delicious meals prepared so generously by our friends.  We are well fed and grateful for the energy it has helped me conserve this week.

Rick's birthday was yesterday and we had a great dinner out.

I got a haircut and color from Amanda who gifts me with her time and talent so often.

I was so surprised to run into the secretary from my former Riverside Elementary School- Mrs. Jones.  She is 91 years old and as spunky as ever.  She said to me "I don't remember seeing you very often in my office- you must have behaved yourself!"  

Then I mentioned my mother to her, and she instantly remembered her.  "She gave me that coffee mug, and I still drink from it today!"  

I was also lucky enough to meet her daughter, who acknowledges that she reads my blog, and I was so touched by her kind and gracious words to me.  I know I will see her again soon.  

And today I completed my 15th and final day of radiation! 

My friend Heather, the charge nurse in radiation oncology, and one of the sweetest souls I have ever known, gave me the beautiful pink roses (above) after completing my last treatment session this morning.

Then she asked if I'd like to ring the bell.

Without even a hesitation, I embraced the chance.

I've been practicing my "word" so much, "embracing"seems like second nature.

Today, what I noticed, was how much- I was being embraced right back. 

Its true, for some, the ringing of the bell signifies a completion of treatment, in a way in which they may never have to do treatment again.

For me, I remain ever-hopeful, that while this latest chapter on radiation has closed, that re-visiting this form of treatment, is still a future option.  

My appointment with Dr. Panwalkar on Wednesday went well.   He had just read Dr. Foster's report and was encouraged by my radiation treatment.

He quickly went over my lab report acknowledging my counts have taken a hit, as would be expected with the radiation I've had.  But they aren't dangerously low, and should begin to improve again.  

I asked him what the plan was for treatment, and he said he'd like me to start back on Tykerb again on Monday.  

And then at some point in our chat, he casually mentioned he had read my blog.

I gulped.

Looked down.


Then said… "Welllll?"

He laughed and said…"Its good! You write well. And it was so nice, what you said about me."

And I laughed.   

Because he sounds so incredulous that someone would say kind things about him… and he has no idea …but I only know kind things about him.  What else could I possibly write?  

He concludes our visit by also mentioning he has run into someone who knows me.

He mentions being at the store owned by my cousin Rob and his wife Jana.

I smile even bigger.  

I imagine Jana somehow recognized Dr. P's name - maybe through the blog- and she mentioned me?

All I really know- is- its a small world.

The "bells" have been ringing all week long, reminding me of just this, and how lucky I am to still play a part.  


  1. Hallelujah...
    I'm overjoyed as I read this.
    Love you, sweet friend.

  2. Nice, bright, encouraging post! Here's to more of those!

    1. Think of you often and pray things are well- here's to more for both of us!

  3. Celebrating with you! More good days ahead.

    1. Thank you Susan- yes for both of us- more good days ahead :)

  4. Feeling so much joy right now, Vicky, you look amazing and you are so strong. Sending you the biggest embracing hug I can muster, filled with love and tears of joy. Happy belated Birthday to Superman. You rock girl xo

    1. The joy is shining through your words Anyes- I feel it! You rock too friend- you truly do!

  5. Dearest Vicky--As I was reading your sweet words, I swear I could hear bells playing! YOU GO GIRL keep embracing!!

    1. Love hearing that Kim! Thanks for embracing along with me!

  6. What a WONDERFUL and HOPE-FILLED post, Vicky! What a way to end my week! The END! You crossed the finish line with a bell ringer! Celebrating goodness and kindness and a committed doctor. Celebrating God's faithfulness and reasons for joy. Staying in the moment and processing the now, the today. Embracing, as you say so beautifully and do so well. Love you!

    1. Thank you dear friend- the only thing that tops it is having YOU come and celebrate along with me :) Love YOU!

  7. I could hear that bell happy for you Vicky.

    1. Thanks Lisa- I was thinking of all of you as I rang it- knowing you all are with me in spirit always :)

  8. What a wonderful milestone to celebrate! I never had a chance to ring the bell - maybe they didn't have it 4 years ago. It must be an amazing feeling! And even if you know your treatment will probably go on, what a wonderful way to recognize each very important step in the road.

    It's sweet to hear how so many people love and bless you every day. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. Love you, sista!

    1. I didn't know they had it or what it was about until a sista talked about it at one of the meetings :) I've never "ended" infusion, so if it weren't for radiation, I may never have rung one either :) You are never far from my thoughts and prayers as well- Love you too sista!

  9. I'm smiling over here, blessed to read how others are blessing you in tangible ways and it just makes me so dang happy. Also chuckling and I imagine what it must have felt like for a second to know that your wonderful Doctor has read your blog. I'm glad he has read it, to know how he's a ripple in the water - part of your experience and in turn, a part of the story that you share with all of us.

    Your experience with Dr. P. has encouraged me, it blesses me to know that such doctors are out there, making a difference and doing good work. Sometimes we only hear about the gruff, no-bedside-manner folks.

    I have several cow bells of all sizes here in Zurich - I love them, especially when they are still being worn by the cows :-) When it's not 7:45 a.m. I am going to ring one for you, and pray out loud once again for you and your healing. Amen.

    1. Susan- I smile at the "over here" part right away- it instantly fills my heart with peace. I've been so blessed with the very best in doctors- all of the Oncologists- and I pray its that way other places too. Love hearing about the cow bells, Susan!! I can totally see it in my head- the rolling, green hills- dotted with cows :) Love knowing you'll ring for me!

  10. Yay! Ring that bell. So happy for you!

    1. Thanks Barbie- for you, for me, for all of us it seemed :)

  11. YAY!!! So thankful and full of joy for you - that this round of your treatment is done. I love all the wonderful gifts you've been given.... including the gift of meeting Mrs. Jones and her daughter. Sweetness all around. {HUG}

    1. Hugs to you sweet one- thank you so much!

  12. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!.... and yes, amazing, this world, and it's greatness and "smallness".. the connections that are made, the graces...

    Embrace this wonderful good news filled weekend - you deserve it.

    1. Yayyyy- you're back! Thanks Karen- am soaking it all in :)

  13. Dearest Vicky,
    I am SO grateful to see how you, dear friend, have been embraced. Just as you have poured love, joy, hope and caring to those around you, they are pouring meals, joy, flowers, prayers, hope, and cards to you. You are not alone on this journey. Not for one minute are you alone.

    We are having a CELEBRATION of HOPE and GRACE that this leg of the journey is over.
    It's a party in your honor, put on for you by everyone who knows you, loves you and has prayed their hearts out for you.

    The words from a song in my Mom's generation come to mind:
    "the bells are ringing for me and my gal
    the birds are singing for me and my gal"

    You, dear Vicky are "our gal" and we are ringing bells like a children's Christmas choir.

    Love always wins. No matter what. Every time. Love always saves us. In the darkest moments. In the middle of radiation. When our child has been hit by a car and her life torn asunder.
    When we don't think we can take one more step. Love always wins.

    The love of God, the love of family, the love of dear friends. Love marinating us in its power so we can take the next step. Do the next thing.

    You, dear Vicky, are marinating in grace and love and I just can't stop grinning and crying as I read this post. You can do this! You DID do this!

    I won't stop praying and ringing bells for you here in Spokane. Not now. Not ever.
    Love always!

  14. Oh friend- something compelled me to click on your name and I was so pleasantly surprised to find your blog! I fell right into reading and now I am all teary-eyed. You bless me so! Both here, and there, and I am so honored to call you friend! Love always to you!

  15. I am elated for you Vicky!!!

    Big smiles all over this end. :)

  16. Dear Vicky, I missed this beautiful post before taking off for Carmel, but as you know, the bells ring there, too. They are bells that beckon us toward nourishment and life, and I am so grateful you've experienced those bells with me and will again soon. Hearing many bells in my head this week, too, as I trudge into the future. Looking forward to getting together soon to discuss exciting things. Blessings and hugs, Roxane

  17. Congrats, Vicky!! You are still in my prayers.

  18. May you continue to ring those bells.


  19. I think I can hear your bells from here!! And Dr P says you can write!!!! WOWOW!!!! My mother doesn't "do" computer but she's a writer. So often, I call her and share your words with her.

    And I love when God ties bows and loops people together.



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