Trinket in the Jewelry Box

Last night our son was going through my jewelry box. He’s a precocious, I think adorable, 9 year-old.  He says to me, “Mom, if we need money we could always sell your jewelry.”   It unnerved me his concern over money and then I realized he had been overhearing the conversations my husband and I had been having lately about health insurance and growing medical costs and our concerns about medical debt.

As my son sorted through my jewelry he came upon a coin that grabbed his interest.  It was an inspirational piece you might find in a gift shop or stationery store.  He paused to read the inscription.  Looking at me he said, “Mom, where did you get this?”  I couldn’t recall – something that seems to be happening more and more frequently as of late.  “Will you read what it says and maybe I’ll remember?”

In his sweet, angelic voice he read one side of the coin, “Cancer”, then he turned it over and continued, “Cannot defeat the soul, cannot shatter hope, cannot depress faith, cannot destroy homes, cannot limit humanity, cannot kill friendships, cannot silence courage, cannot ruin the soul, cannot reduce the spirit, can be overcome …”

I took a deep breath and looked at him.  His eyes were wide, bright and he had a smile on his face that cut straight through to my heart.  I could tell he was pleased with himself.  He had touched his mom and he knew it.  This is a child who has only known his father to have cancer.  He has never experienced a day, in his short life, without his dad either being extremely fatigued or physically ill from cancer or its treatments.   At his tender young age he knows the fragility of life and yet his smile comes from a place of pure joy and happiness.

I wrapped my arms around him, buried my face in his thick hair, and mindfully held onto the feeling of calmness that came over me.  It’s these simple moments that bring everything full circle.  It is true.  Cancer can be overcome.


Copyright © 2011 Jeannie Moloo. All Rights Reserved.


Jeannie Gazzaniga Moloo PhD, MS, RDN cared for her late physician husband through 12 years of blood cancer treatments, including a stem cell transplant, while raising their three young children. She is an award winning registered dietitian nutritionist and former owner of a clinical nutrition practice where she advised clients on healthy eating to manage heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and gastrointestinal conditions. She is a Ph.D. in epidemiology, with an emphasis in preventive medicine and environmental health. For nine years, she was a national media spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics providing sound, science-based nutrition advice to media, consumers, industry, and researchers. She has been quoted in several publications including the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and Parents Magazine, and appeared on ABCNews, CBSNews, NBCNews, NPR, and KYGO-FM.

Reader Interactions


  1. Chris says

    Jeannie, You and yours have a gift for inspiration. Thanks for sharing this. He’s a special one. I’ve asked Daniel to read the Blog to Marie. They seem to get a lot out of it. Please keep the thoughts flowing. I learn so much about this process each time someone else is willing to share. I appreciate your openess. Be Well and Happy.

    • Jeannie says

      Thank you Chris for your comment and for sharing the blog. As you know all too well we are just one family among many who are living with cancer. I hope in some small way sharing our experience can help others.

    • Jeannie says

      Thank you Mary Heather! The children keep me going every day – their smiles, questions, and pure joy they carry in their hearts keeps life focused and sane for me.

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