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Mom's Lucky Pearl

by Jasan Zimmerman

It's my Mom's lucky pearl. More accurately, I dubbed it her lucky pearl. A couple of weeks before the thyroidectomy, I went on a school trip to San Francisco.

I found the pearl at Pier 39. I've been fascinated since I was a little kid with those aquariums full of oysters that you buy for the pearl inside. It was sort of a lottery that was legal for me to participate in as a little kid. Would the pearl be big, or white, or grey, or blemished, or flawless? This particular one was medium sized, but the best part about it was that it was a beautiful iridescent dark grey. I decided to get it put into a setting so that Mom could wear it on a necklace. The guy tried to sell me the more expensive Humphrey the Humpback Whale commemorative setting, but I opted for the plain (read: cheaper!) setting.

When I got home, I gave it to her and made sue she wore it to the hospital when I had the surgery. After I pulled through and mostly recovered, I started calling it her lucky pearl. She didn't seem to wear it much, but on important occasions, or hospital stays, or surgeries, it always made an appearance. I was a little bit upset when I thought she lost it at one point, but she told me she knew where it was the whole time.

Before my latest surgery, I asked if she had brought it with her. Her reply stunned me: "No." She said that this surgery wasn't really a big deal and that I would be fine. I was, of course, eventually. But the take home message was that it wasn't about the pearl at all. It was about my Mom being there to take care of me. Pearl or no pearl, that's the one constant in my life.

Jasan is a 32-year-old three time cancer survivor currently living in Palo Alto, California. He was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 1976, thyroid cancer in 1991, and a recurrence of the thyroid cancer in 1997. He has recently discovered the joy of writing as a creative outlet with the help of Sharon Bray and her "Writing Through Cancer" workshop.