Today was a big day. I had my 28th and final dose of radiation. And just like that - 300 days after my breast cancer diagnosis - I am essentially done with treatment.*
They have a lovely tradition in the Proton Lab, whereby "graduates" get to ring a bell to signal completion of their regimen:
"No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Donne was of course referring to the old village custom of ringing a bell to inform the community when someone dies, his point being that humanity is interconnected and a loss of one is a loss to all.
This bell is designed to inform the community that one has survived, and they did it with the help of the community. At no time does the phrase "no man is an island" ring truer than when you are faced with a difficult situation, as I was for the better part of this year. I couldn't have made it this far without the support of tons of people along the way, and for that, I am very thankful.
*with the exception of a daily dose of Tamoxifen for the next 5 years