I don't talk too much about Mom's cancer, because even at this distance, it seems too frightening. I know it could have been much, much worse - a lump was found in a routine mammogram, which she had almost cancelled, and when the doctors biopsied the lump, they actually removed the entire lump, as it was that small and it was just easier that way. Mom, being the wonderful woman but terrible judge of my reactions that she is, told me that they had found "something" but she wouldn't give me the results of the tests for malignancy until after I finished my midterms that year (which was about a week after she dropped this news on me). She didn't want to distract me from my work, so she only gave me half the information and left the important part in the dark, giving me loads of uncertainty to worry about. Thanks, Ma.
As I was printing out my final midterm, I called her and demanded to know the news. It was malignant, had not spread, but would still require radiation and chemo. I cried all the way to Eliot Hall where I was turning in my midterm. I was grateful at this point that my planned study-abroad to London had fallen through - I'd been put on the wait list, and it was unlikely I would get a spot.
A week later, I got a spot. Not many people know this, but it was the second of three times that I seriously considered not continuing at Reed (or going to Reed at all). I was planning to take at least a semester off to help take care of Mom. She talked me out of that idea (and by "talked" I mean "smacked me upside the back of the head and cried at me" - it's a winning argument every time), and I went. I was terrified that I would come back to a mother who'd almost wasted away, or that the cancer would come back while I was gone.
I know that there's no thing as being completely "cured" of cancer - it can always come back, always strike in another way. But after the five-year mark, the doctors call you as close to cured as it gets. And Mom's made it.
It's a good day.