It came with a book to explain what each bead represented. A black one for a poke. A long one for his broviac line. Red ones, yellow ones, big fancy ones for major hurdles and glow-in-the-dark ones for radiation treatments.
Every week Trish meticulously counts every bead-worthy thing that's happened and hands a sheet to a nurse, who dutifully finds them for her.
As you can imagine, the beads number in the hundreds, if not the thousands. The hospital actually switched companies they do their bead program through this spring; the old set of beads measured 16 feet long and now he's on a new one which is coming up on 10 feet.
On Tuesday he got nine more beads, getting another MRI, lumbar puncture, more bone marrow biopsies and samples drawn. The results were discouraging - the leukemia is up to 30 per cent of his bone marrow. Without treatment he'd be dead in a few months.
The "last chance" chemotherapy began Thursday. He'll get a last dose of T cells on Tuesday. Whether he gets more glow-in-the-dark beads for the still-uncertain chance of leukemia in his brain will be decided sometime next week as well.
They'll also decide whether he gets to come home to Medicine Hat for possibly the last time. We of course would love that, but the danger of GVHD symptoms could be too great to allow it. We will go along with whatever the doctors recommend.
Today, there was a special bead handed out. One for courage, perseverance, love, bravery and so much more. One that represents sacrifice and strength beyond anyone's imagination. One that means so much more than the rest.
It's a little metal acorn. Dominic already has one.
This one was given to Trish.
With no string to lace it on to, she put it on her bracelet. The bracelet with the word hope inscribed on it.
There is no person more deserving.