My Mother

I am an only child.  I wish I had a sister.  I could pretend her name is Johanna.  I have always loved that name.  Johanna and I could get together for a cup of coffee twice a month – just the two of us.  We could share DNA stories and laugh.  I got Mom’s fucked up feet.  You got Mom’s premature white hair.  I got Dad’s space between the teeth.  You got Dad’s flat feet.  I got Mom’s arthritis.  Hopefully you don’t get Mom’s cancer.  We could laugh and cry remembering. 

At 65, my mother had gone in for a routine hysterectomy  and called me to tell me that she “had had a touch of cancer.”  She didn’t know what kind. It turned out to be mesenchymal sarcoma.  A very rare and unusually aggressive kind of cancer.  Sloan Kettering gave her a 25% chance of making it. 

She did survive.  She survived the surgery and the chemo and she went on to live another 26 years.  She survived breast cancer at the age of 72.  She survived a rare form of noncontagious TB at 82.  She took megadoses of two very potent antibiotics for 18 months.  She developed a yeast infection and lost twenty five pounds. She managed to cure it by eating Activia yogurt.  At 87, she fell and broke her back.  She got shingles.  And only then did she retire from her part time job.!


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