Feeling lost waking up in a new place scared of the unknown. I was laying on a crisp, bright, white bed. The room felt empty, with only the sun shining through the big crystal clear windows, to fill it. Hearing whispers outside the door, I recognized two of the voices my parents were out there I suddenly felt safe. The door knob twists. The door cracks open slowly, they walk in with a lady and a man, and a younger lady that seemed out of place compared to the other two. She wasn't dressed as professional as them, and she was carrying a lot of containers with her, filled with what seemed like, candy. “Chemotherapy is starting today” she said to me. I had no idea what that big scary word meant, I was only a ten year old girl with her whole life ahead of her, witht he only knowledge of cancer having the power to end my life. With a knot in my throat, as she organized the containers, I asked her, “What is that?. Avoiding my question she told me that I had leukemia, further explaining she said that leukemia is cancer in my blood. She used the containers full of candy to explain different cells, red blood cells, white blood cells, and the cancer cells, and how the cancer cells were taking over my white blood cells. After her explanation she gave me a short answer to my question, saying, “this is going to kill the cancer cells and help you be healthy again, but you will feel pain and weak throughout your treatment. She was finally done and all I could think of was how intimidated I was by this disease attacking and killing me from the inside. Seeing the fear in my face she pulled out a stuffed animal.
A dog, stuffed animal. Made of various shades of brown, from the sensitive, smooth, light brown, to the deep, yet delicate, dark brown, of its color palette. And to make it specially unique to me, it has a hospital bracelet with my name and my medical record number, connecting it to me. The day I got my dog was the day I believed in having true strength without having to physically show it.
Every hard moment in the hospital my dog carried me through it, surgerys, heart echoes, MRI’s, spinal taps,etc. My dog to me is a reminder that everyone has the power to be strong it all has to come from the heart. I believe in the representation of having this object to psychologically have the power to help me get through hard moments. It gave me inspiration and helped me discover that I have the strength to overcome many obstacles, just like I defeated and crushed this intimidating disease.
Beyond the hospital, I have built many other grater memories with my stuffed animal. As a cancer patient, there are camps for patients and their siblings. You have an opportunity to connect with others that understand your story. I always take my bear as a reminder of the strength my family inflicted on me and the reminder of the object that in my heart helped me defeat and conquer this battle.I believe in my stuffed dog because I found personal strength in myself after having to struggle through the pain and fragileness of tough moments in my life.
Over time my dog came to have a tear down the seam of its back. This tear has built on from how much I use it and move it around. From when I go to camp, to when I visit the hospital for blood work, even when I feel alone and sad at night. My dog helps me stay strong, and I believe that with my strength I will give the opportunity to those in my shoes, of having an object to carry their strength, when they have forgotten it existed within them. I believe in having something remind you of the strength you believe to have lost, and uniting you with the strength that you never lost, but forgot you had.