Throughout the experience, Bob appreciated how his doctors collaborated with him and Karen and included them in the treatment plan. Bob was also supported by the radiation oncology team as he underwent radiation treatments, which use high-energy X-rays to kill cancer cells with minimal pain. Treatments can be daily for up to eight weeks at a time, which means patients and staff get to know each other well.
“All of the staff were phenomenal,” said Bob. “From the very first day when they came and got me out of the waiting room, I could tell they cared. They asked how I was doing and what I had planned later in the day. They took the time to talk with me.”
During his treatment, Bob knew he wanted to do something to celebrate his care team and help other cancer patients. He heard about a retired Navy Admiral who started a tradition of ringing a bell after completing his cancer treatment. In the Navy, eight bells rung signify the end of a watch. The Admiral took that tradition and changed it to three bells for cancer treatment.
Bob assembled and donated a bell and plaque written by the Admiral so patients receiving radiation therapy at Lakeland Medical Center could also have the opportunity to celebrate.
“There’s joy in completing treatment or even a stage of it. It’s a celebration that you finished and a credit to the staff,” said Bob.
Keeping with tradition, Bob had the honor of ringing the bell on his last day of treatment. Ultimately the bell is a tribute to others who have been affected by cancer and the care team that helped to see Bob through his treatment.
Read Bob's full story at spectrumhealthlakeland.org/bob