I have been a jewelry designer and world traveller for most of my adult life, but in 2007 I found myself really struggling. I was seriously exhausted, spending more and more time in bed. I thought it was burnout. It never crossed my mind I had cancer.
Rest didn't help, and my doctor advised some tests, including a surgical biopsy on some old scar tissue near my bikini line. Turns out I had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I was in total shock. The specialist who examined me said that the cancer was most likely stage 4 and incurable. Basically, I thought I was going to die.
I'm incredibly lucky; my cancer turned out to be far less life-threatening than my doctors initially thought. The thing that impressed me most, as I made my way through treatment, was the generosity and strength of the people who cared for me. Without them, and without the research that had made my disease treatable in the first place, I wouldn't be here. As I recovered, I knew I needed to show my support and appreciation.
Visiting my friend Ameen one day, I noticed a beautiful metal cuff covered in Arabic script sitting on a shelf. He told me that it was a special bracelet from a mosque in India and that the writing, from the Koran, was meant to protect the wearer. I loved this idea and decided I would make my own charmed bracelet. Believe it or not, "Fuck Cancer" was the first protective phrase that came to mind. The strong language worked for me. Not because it was shocking or obscene, but because it was honest, sassy – and funny.
Once I had made the sterling silver bracelet and showed it around, all my friends wanted one, including one of my doctor's pals. Everyone loved the subtlety and elegance of the cuff design, combined with the raw emotion of the statement. People who'd lived with cancer "got it" immediately. It was what we all felt, but what no one wanted to say.
More than 15 years later, not a day goes by when someone doesn't ask for one. The phrase "Fuck Cancer" is no less effective in conveying exactly how we feel.
Nothing against pink ribbons, but this bracelet tells it like it is!