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The Fight After the Bell

While comforting the tiredness and aches I had become accustomed to, I made my way to my final cancer treatment.  With eyes filled with tears I reflected on overcoming the most difficult year of my entire life. Today I celebrate God’s grace and mercy by ringing the renowned “Victory Bell.” To you the bellowing sound may seem obnoxious, but to the cancer survivor… it is sweet melodious music and a testament to my anthem, “I Win!”  

As I grasped the rope in one hand, I shook my fist with the other and with all my heart I declared, “It is finished! Or so I thought! Little did I understand part two of the battle was lurking in the wings waiting patiently for me – “Life After Cancer.” 

See, from the minute you are diagnosed, the end goal – the dream – is to get it all behind you. But many times, when you finally reach that part of the journey, the reality is different than what you expected. I have learned that ringing the bell not only screams celebration, but it also marks the beginning of a “new normal” and a “new level” in the fight. 

Of course, every experience is unique, but survivors still share a common bond. Despite how well we look on the outside, the fact remains, our lives have changed and will never be the same again – sometimes making life harder to face than the treatment itself. The scars, mental challenges, aches, and other haunting side effects echo loudly as attempts are made to move forward in life.  Nevertheless, we hush the background noise and accept the thorn in the flesh as a medal of honor instead of defeat. Overcomer, winner, survivor, champion – that is who you are!  

So, when you find yourself in the battle or on the other side of the victory bell – don’t give up! God has great plans for you. You have been chosen for such a time as this, carefully selected to be a beacon of light, sharing God’s love and power in testimony to help others get through.  

So, keep fighting my friend and welcome the new normal, because this… is working on our behalf to make us stronger, wiser, and better than ever before! To God be all the glory!