Today Facebook told me that it was a year ago that I was declared cancer free. Ahhh, those 9 months of cautious freedom. This news is hopefully the apex of a crappy week so here goes a somewhat lighter post to help all of our moods.
Left Arm Bling!
I wear 5 pieces of jewelry on my left hand/wrist and each is something dear and matters in my cancer world. Wanna know why?
Wedding Band: This one is reasonably obvious because I married the nicest boy in the world, but in a smaller way it represents our wedding day. That day was full of extreme joy! I was diagnosed with cancer 7 weeks before the wedding. We had both already lost a parent to the disease. This could have been a day of tears. Instead it was a non-stop lovefest with high-fives and dancing! If I could bottle an smidge of that happiness I could save the world from all its ills. It is pretty cool to carry that with me every day, wrapped up in a simple gold band.
Engagement Ring: There's more than the obvious at play here, too. I cherish this ring. Mike's dad gave it to his mom first. I wish I had known her but Mike and I met after his mom and my dad were already gone. I know little things about her - she had a beautiful singing voice, gave voice to all of her dogs, burped like a champ (the important things) - but it would have been really something to be able to tell Mike when I saw her in his actions or mannerisms. Here's something real that I do know: she bravely took on advanced lung cancer for more than four years and gave her all to her family. I'm proud to have her memory as an example of how to do this cancer thing.
Gold Bracelet: It's two days before Christmas 2006 and my parents and sisters have flown in from Florida and stopped in Boston before we were to all head for the Berkshires for our traditional holiday. My parents drop my sisters off at my apartment's holiday party but before they leave my dad says "I want to see you and your sisters in your bedroom." I figure we're in for a don't get drunk talk but instead he takes three boxes out of his pockets, shoves them in our hands, and says "here." We open them to find three identical gold bracelets that he had made from a chain he used to wear. My mom had told him that he was too old to wear a necklace so he took it off, took it to our jeweler to see what they could do, and kept it secret from even my mom! My sisters and I have worn our bracelets every day since then. We lost Dad less than two years later to kidney cancer. He did everything he could to stick around for us. I completely believe that his love for my mom and us girls kept him here longer than science imagined. Right now, when many days are rougher than others, this physical memory of my great dad is a great comfort. It is a reminder that I can do this and that I have a tall, brusque, bearded cheerleader firmly on my side.
Pearl Bracelet: Christmas 2015 my mom gave me this pearl bracelet with a seemingly random pattern of white and pink pearls. Turns out the pattern represents "fighter" in Morse code. I know she got it because she thinks I'm an awesome fighter but I think it works for both of us. My mom will not give up, she will not give in, she will keep on keeping on. She is my rock and I wouldn't be doing nearly as well without her fighting so hard alongside me.
Bravelet: So many emblems but there's room for one more. I purchased a bravelet for myself after my most recent diagnosis. I like what it says, I like what it means, and dammit, I'm doing my best to abide by it. I recommend it as a gift, check out their list of causes.
So there you have it, my left arm bling!