Cancer turned me into a massive liar. There was the developing public narrative of great good luck and the commonness of kidney removal, and there was my secret knowledge that the kidney was the least of my problems.
Americans are reluctant to call or write, because they don't want to be a bother. Iranians call constantly, because they don't want you to feel alone. As one friend said, they're both right. But in this case, when people called it was all, "Yes yes, of course you're right, this kidney business will be just fine. Yes, I'm feeling great. Quite lucky. Oh, your aunt has just one kidney? Terrific!"
And I could see my mother slowly reconciling herself to the kidney problem, sleeping a bit more, eating a bit more, and I kept thinking about having to break news to her all over again.