No one ever expects a family member to be diagnosed with cancer, but it does happen. When cancer crippled my family the doctors told us that treatment was a "process" and we had to follow the "process" for the best chance of survival. Each time we drove across the State of Florida to Tampa for treatment, our journey was part of our prescribed "process". We would arrive at the hospital valet parking driveway and I would hand my keys to the attendant. The person would rip the ticket and hand me half. As we walked across the driveway and through the revolving door, I would always look back and see my vehicle pull away into the garage. Leaving my vehicle was always the beginning of that day's "process" and the attendants always followed the same procedure. It was like clockwork. That would be the last I saw of my keys until we finished with the doctors. When our day was complete we always exited back through the revolving doors and I would give my valet stub to the attendant, who would then open a cabinet door, grab my keys, and sprint to the garage for my vehicle. Within a few minutes we would be on our way back across the State to our home.
While waiting for my vehicle during one of our trips I noticed the attendant had left the key cabinet door open. When I looked inside I noticed an incredible number of keys. "Cancer Keys" immediately came to mind. All I could think of was that there were so many families being represented in this box, so much sadness. On this day I felt like I had to shoot images, just because there were so many and as some keys went home, others would take their place. The box remained full. As I observed the cabinet contents I realized that these were not just keys, they represented personalities waiting for a "process" to be completed. There was a Power Puff Girl, gym membership passes, a Miami Dolphin football tag, and many straps and hooks to latch onto more objects. To me these were all symbols of strength. Strength needed to fight the cancer, either as a patient or as a caregiver.
At first seeing all these keys gave me a sense of sadness, just because of the sheer volume. But after the attendant brought my vehicle and we started to leave I realized that all of these keys represented the end of a daily fight and going home. Heading to where we belong, where we are comfortable and loved. They represented hope for a lot of families.
My family was fortunate, our overall "process" has ended on a positive note. We still have to visit Tampa for check-ups but I know my "Cancer Keys" will be waiting to take us home. I'm glad I had my camera on that day and captured these images. They are a reminder of how fortunate we are and that there is great work being accomplished to help people get back home.
Have you had a similar experience, I'd like to hear about it.
Enjoy and remember,
"Moments in time are lived once. Images of those moments live forever."