To commemorate the exhilarating accomplishment that is finishing cancer treatment, many hospitals and medical centers adopt the practice of having patients ring a bell after their last treatment. It’s the moment you wait for when you have cancer, and when you’re finally invited to “ring the bell,” it’s pretty exciting. If you’ve finished cancer treatment yourself, you may relate to one woman who was so excited to ring the bell she ended up breaking it.
Darla Jaye had just finished her last round of radiation for breast cancer at Harris Health System in Houston, Texas, when she headed over to the reception area to ring the bell, according to a video Harris Health posted on Facebook Monday.
But as you can see in the video below, Jaye rang it so hard she pulled the ringer right off.
“I broke the bell!” Jaye said.
Congratulations to Darla Jaye! She completed her last round of radiation treatment for breast cancer. She was so excited, she broke the bell!“I’ve looked forward to this day since February. You guys have been wonderful. I was scared to death, but you guys saved my life!”
Posted by Harris Health System on Monday, July 15, 2019
As originally reported by Fox11, Jaye was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and began radiation at the end of May. She told the outlet her first thoughts after hearing she had cancer were “Am I going to die?” and “What am I going to go through?”
“I remember going to my first radiation treatment and I was so scared that I was laying on the table before I had the first radiation, and tears were rolling down my face and I thought, ‘How am I ever going to get through this?’” she said. “I never imagined that I would make it through those 30 treatments and be able to ring that bell, so yesterday, when I rang that bell, I was celebrating that I was alive and that I was essentially done for now.”
As she told CNN, she couldn’t even fathom being done and was overwhelmed after her last treatment.
“Guess I didn’t know how strong I was!” she said.
When the celebrations are over, life after cancer can be a confusing and challenging time for many survivors. Lauren Selfridge, an associate marriage and family therapist who supports people living with health challenges, told The Mighty you don’t need to be living with active disease progression in order to still be feeling the effects of its impact on your life — for example, shifts in relationships with loved ones and at work, the physical aftermath of treatments, changes in how you see yourself and your life path, and the anxiety of not knowing when or if cancer will return.
Selfridge said it’s important to offer yourself validation and understanding for any feelings that arise and give yourself permission to be messy, imperfect and step back from all the feelings sometimes.
“That can mean watching TV, hanging out with friends, or just simply not thinking about (or discussing) cancer for a while,” she recommended.
Related: Life So Far With Metastatic Cancer
For more insight into the cancer experience, check out these stories from our Mighty cancer community:
- 13 Memes That Nail the Emotional Roller Coaster of Cancer
- The Problem I’ve Noticed With Some Online Cancer Support Groups
- Dear Doctor: Behind Your Patient’s Anger Might Be Grief