This was 4 years ago.
I rang this bell on my last day of 7 1/2 weeks of radiation treatment that burned my skin raw and caused my skin to peel and ooze. This was going to be the last day of the surgery scars and the chemo misery and the radiation "tan" that was supposed to fade. This was supposed to be my last day of treatment.
It was on this day that I started the next phase of figuring out who I am. This was the first day that I had to look at my new self in the mirror every morning. This day forced me to press my internal restart button so that I could begin, somehow, to function in the post cancer part of my life.
When I rang that celebration bell all those around me said,
I should be so happy.
This was the day it was all supposed to be over.
Except for the checkups and the watching and the worrying about recurrence.
Except for the twitches and aches and pains and the drama and misguided expectations.
Except for the scar tissue and the left behind fluid pockets and the mystery floaters they contained.
Except for the size of the lymph nodes and wondering if they were bigger on this or that day.
As if I'd even know if they were.
I've probably been a little PTSD paranoid.
It will probably continue.
But if you had told me on the day I rang that bell that I'd be alive 4 years later, I would have, literally, been the happiest person on the planet. The last 4 years of worrying and drama and checkups and scar tissue now seem to be a minor cost to the joy of life that I've experienced since then. So, 4 years after ringing that bell, maybe I will acknowledge, maybe I will remember....
...maybe for a brief moment, I will again, be the happiest person on the planet.