Tracie Cone has always been a trailblazer. This award-winning journalist is the former California Newspaper Executive of the Year. She shares a Pulitzer Prize with fellow staff members at the Miami Herald for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and has twice been nominated individually. She has focused her writing on helping the underdog and empowering those without a strong voice of their own. Now she takes us on the fight of her life.
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Every Day A Little Bit Better

I am officially out the other side of my long chemo hell! I will remember Sept. 29, 2010, as vividly as I remember May 3, my diagnosis day.

Today was the day I woke up, Michelle asked me how I felt, and I said, “OK, actually.”

For four months I have tempered everything I said about how I felt. Even on the days I felt OK, I knew it meant the next chemo was looming and I’d be knocked back to the curb again, so it was hard to enjoy a day when simply bending over to put on socks was a milestone I celebrated.

This eighth and (hopefully) final round of chemo was not kind. While Taxatere – aka Toxic-tere – is supposed to get easier with each passing round, the four I received made me progressively sicker. Well, that’s not entirely true since the first round sent me to the hospital on my chemo overdose. But the part where it was supposed to be easier, the side effects easily manageable, never materialized.

So this past weekend again I whimpered in bed, unable to walk on my own, feeling that overwhelming combination of near-death lethargy, ache and the resulting and temporary state of hopeless that makes the seconds drag.

It’s the last one, I kept telling myself. It’s the last one, my friends would encourage. Easier said than felt.

Monday I still was prone, Tuesday I had to summon my energy for a day of tests at Stanford. So today, after some hours of sleep actually put together in a block, I woke up and felt like getting dressed. I had my tea and newspaper on the patio – sitting up. Just like old times!

So this is the day, I have deduced, when each one will be better than the previous. Every day I will feel stronger as chemo attacks cancer cells and my body processes the chemo out of my system.

Today is the day I will count as the one about which they are talking when they say “six months after chemo your hair will start growing back.”

Despite the surgery and radiation ahead, the fact that I feel good today is my sign that my body is healing itself.

The body is a remarkable engine – if we treat it right.

Mine has gotten me to this point, despite the many obstacles encountered. Treating it right from this point on is the least I can do to return this favor, for which I am eternally grateful.

2 Responses to “Every Day A Little Bit Better”

  • Elaine Hoover:

    September 29…YEA FOR TRACIE DAY!!!!
    Your attitude and mindset are so much a part of what has helped you on this journey. So glad you are feeling better today and able to get back to some of the things you enjoy.
    I am so proud to call you friend.

  • Abby:

    Glad you are getting back to the swing of things! You are such a strong person you set a great example for those around you. Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us!

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