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I got an email from my mother today, saying that she'd just had her last oncologist appointment EVER. It's officially been 5 years since her last round of chemo.

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.



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Sep. 12th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear she's doing well! I can understand a certain reluctance on your part to talk too loudly about good fortune -- but that is good new! Pretty much the best news you can get when cancer has been identified.
Sep. 12th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on her getting to that mark; even the year point with my mother was amazing this year.

I considered not continuing at Reed in order to move home when my mother was having her trouble last year. It turned out that by the time I would have been coming home, she was basically okay--but I thought really hard about it. She would have been angry at me if I'd done it, no matter how sick she was (and she was fine, so I didn't), but I would have done it anyway.

It's the reason I didn't apply for any of the fellowships that would have taken me out of the country this year. Being even farther away during that? No, thank you.

*hugs* It's a good day, indeed.
Sep. 12th, 2006 09:47 pm (UTC)
Yay!!! Your mom is such a cool person, I'm glad you shared this! :hugs:
Sep. 13th, 2006 04:52 am (UTC)
That's so wonderful! Go your mom!
I hope her health continues.
Sep. 13th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)
My best wishes to her, and warmest of fuzzies!
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