35 Bracelets

 This article was originally written on 7/27/20 for  Cervivor's Blog


 "35 Bracelets"?-  No, I am not referring to beautiful gold bracelets that one wears to symbolize something special, or gifts that people give to one another as a symbol of their relationship.

I am referring to 35 hospital bracelets. Yes - I was given one every time I had an external radiation treatment.  That's right, it has been 11 years and 2 months since I was declared cancer FREE, and I still have them. 

Why? As a reminder of where I've been, and every step I have taken since then.  As a reminder of every single treatment that I had to go through to fight cervical cancer.  As a reminder that at one time I was identified by a bar code with numbers.  As a reminder of coming face to face with my own mortality. As a reminder of the person I've become today.  As a reminder to share my story to prevent another women going through what I did. 

Many cancer patients document their journeys either by writing on their journals, blogs or by taking pictures while going through treatments. Well, I have to say, I didn't do none of those things. 
I didn't write about it, talk about it,  nor did I take pictures of myself while in treatment. Yet, I know it did happen. I have the memories and the scars.

I guess these 35 hospital bracelets tell part of the story, but the memories of my journey are embedded in my mind. I remember what it took for me to get out bed every single day to go for treatment, I remember every machine used on me, I remember every needle that went through my skin.

I don't put away these hospital bracelets in a closet where I don't see them.  I have them in plain sight.  They hang on the side of my refrigerator in a simple Rite Aid® plastic bag. 

Perhaps I can be more sensitive and put them in a nicer bag, but I wont.  That Rite Aid® bag is what I chose back then when I started collecting them one by one.  They have been there all 11+ years, and will remain there as a reminder of the work I need to do as an advocate of this disease.  

I sometimes regret that I did not take any pictures, but at that time, it wasn't even a thought.  Pictures, journals, blogs even these 35 hospital bracelets can be destroyed or lost, but my memories will live with me for a lifetime. 🙏

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