Thursday was a very emotional day for my family. My wife, Beth, who is undergoing  treatment for cancer, finished her 6th and final chemotherapy session at MD Anderson Cancer Center/Cooper Hospital in Voorhees and rang the ceremonial bell signifying the end of her chemo treatments.

Here's a little background on Beth's cancer journey so far from a post she wrote when  going public with her diagnosis back in May.

It’s my 50th Birthday and I find myself appreciating things more than ever this year. I was diagnosed with endometrial adenocarcinoma (uterine cancer) just before Thanksgiving, which had spread to the cervix, left perimetrium and left ovary.

 

Everything was removed during a total hysterectomy surgery on 1/6, but unfortunately there were malignant cells still present in my abdomen, requiring further treatment. So...I am now undergoing chemo treatments.  Radiation treatments will follow once the chemo is done.

Unfortunately, because of Covid-19 restrictions still in effect in hospitals, I wasn't allowed in to witness Beth ringing the bell in person. So, we did the next best, Covid-inspired thing. I zoomed the bell ringing from my car in the hospital parking lot.

It was a beautiful and touching moment and one that I will never forget.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Beth's fight with cancer is over. She will begin radiation treatments shortly and then we will hope for the best.

But the exhausting experience and all the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy are behind her now and we are moving forward, feeling positive and lucky to have one another and our daughters, Eileen and Bridget.

By the way, I did a little research on the history of ringing a bell at the end of chemotherapy and found that it's a tradition that started at MD Anderson in Houston.

"Nowadays it seems nearly every cancer facility has bells that patients can ring to mark the end of treatment. But it’s thought that the tradition began at MD Anderson in 1996.

A rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, Irve Le Moyne, was undergoing radiation therapy for head and neck cancer and told his doctor, Kian Ang, M.D., Ph.D., that he planned to follow a Navy tradition of ringing a bell to signify “when the job was done.”

He brought a brass bell to his last treatment, rang it several times and left it as a donation. It was mounted on a wall plaque with this inscription:

Ringing Out

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"

Watch a short video of Beth's ring the bell ceremony...

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