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Mother/Daughter; by Meredith Laskow

My mother just left, after two weeks of staying at my house. For the first time in memory, we did not scream, we did not fight, we did not call each other names. We maintained a respectful distance from each other's emotions, careful not to trample fields where only bitterness had grown before. She came to care for me, a daughter only several days out of her fourth breast cancer surgery, a daughter who had never liked being nurtured even as a small child. She came to be a mother to a daughter who had moved 3,000 miles away to escape an overprotective, nagging, and unaccepting family; I tried to be a daughter to the woman who never quite understood her oldest child.
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Party; by Meredith Laskow
January 1, 1999 I had a party, the first party I have held in 22 years. It was my husband's idea; he thought it would cheer me up. He had been suggesting it for several weeks until I finally said yes, a whopping ten days before the prospective event. That gave us ten days to clean the house (which, after eight months of cancer treatment, could qualify for a Disaster Relief Fund), cook, and invite enough people to ensure an assemblage of revelers. I started recruiting guests that day. "Hi, we're having a Thank-Goodness-1998-Is-Over Party, and you're invited!" I asked craftspeople at the Hollywood Farmers' Market, customers, friends. I got home and spent four hours of the next two days calling people, and about an hour a day for the next week. I invited all my cohorts at the gym, three of my health care workers, and everyone who had in any way helped me get through this past horrible year.
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My Journey; by Jessica Mundt
I'm not anyone famous. I'm a 31-year-old wife and mother of three. I'm also a cancer survivor. I've been battling Hodgkin's disease for the past two years and am almost done. It's been a rough road and hard to explain to people who haven't gone through it. I don't know about other cancer survivors, but I can honestly say that it's changed my life for the better. It has made me a much stronger person than I ever thought I could be and it helped me to realize that life is too short to worry it away. There's so much more out there and it's easy to take advantage of the things you have. When I was diagnosed, I was numb at first. Then I started getting angry. I never denied that it had happened; I was ticked off that it happened. That's when I found out exactly who my friends were and how important my family was.
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