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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Getting Ready for Another Round

Tomorrow is my next round of Taxatere, and I’ll start back with the Lapatinib pills, the trial portion of my treatment that I haven’t taken since landing in the hospital two weeks ago today.

Sigh, I’m already dreading it. Michelle always works so hard to trick/ease me into my next round. Usually on the weekend before, when I’m feeling kind of ok, we take a little trip so we don’t spend the time in dwelling on it. This weekend we were in San Francisco to visit with Judi, John and Bryan and to stop in and see my work buds. (One distressing aside: when I get tired I wait in the car. As I was waiting outside a store in the Marina District a guy was having an animated telephone call next to Michelle’s BMW with the crack dealer darkened windows, perhaps not knowing a bald woman was sitting inside. He kept saying “Whatever you do, don’t let them give you chemo and radiation. That stuff will kill you.” And I mean he said it about 10 times before Judi showed up and I sent her to tell him to go have his distressing conversation somewhere else. Are these signs from the universe, or just horrible coincidences, and how can one discern the difference?)

On Sunday, Kim’s last day here, we picked up my friend Elaine at the Fresno airport and went to Yosemite for the day.

If you have never seen the view from Glacier Point, you don’t know what you’re missing. Half Dome larger than life, with a gushing Nevada and Vernal falls below. It was so incredibly beautiful, especially with thunderstorms in the distance. Michelle made a wonderful picnic lunch and we ate, mostly in silence, mesmerized by the beautiful view. It doesn’t get any better than that.

It’s nice to get out because I feel housebound constantly. But it’s hard. I’m weak all of the time. A colleague’s wife, who is at the end of her chemo, wrote to me yesterday saying she felt like an old lady during chemo, and still does, but is now working to regain her strength. Her doctor told her it takes six months for chemo to leave the body, then one starts to feel a little stronger, so that means that even on my so-called “good” days I’ll feel extremely weak.

I have to find a way to accept this fact that my mind is willing to do things that my body is unable to perform. I place a hand on a friend’s shoulder to stay balanced to walk, and even then I can’t go far. I got weepy and felt sorry for myself Saturday while sitting on a bench at the Embarcadero in SF when I realized that was all I could do.

So today I have a new challenge: Instead of being sorry for what I can’t do at this moment in my life, I have to find a way to be happy that at least I can still enjoy the beautiful views that California offers us. All is not lost.

And I have to be confident that one day instead of simply gazing at Half Dome, I’ll be able to walk to the top if I want.

One day I'll be able to walk to the top of Half Dome if I want (not that I would ever want to)

CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Today Kim went back to Florida, reluctantly, after three weeks attending to my every need. We had no idea when she planned her trip back in June that I would need her so badly. Neither Michelle nor I would have made it through my collapse, hospitalization and recovery without her. She extended her stay an extra week to get me through the bad time. Yesterday Elaine, my friend from high school, arrived. She planned her trip when she realized last week how poorly I was faring. Now she’s here for my next round, and we’re all hoping it goes better than the last.

I love my friends!

4 Responses to “Getting Ready for Another Round”

  • Jeff:

    I’ve always loved Yosemite too. Why don’t we plan a hike up half dome anyway (2 bald hikers)? Check it out & lets book it!

  • alejandro:

    This disease will test you time and again. If I were in your situation, I would have given up… you have such a strong spirit; you are a SURVIVOR; don’t you forget that.

    After you defeat this disease, I volunteer to escort you to the top of half dome… one of my favorite places… AND we will share a few pours of CN-Gold.

  • maria:

    it is easy to feel discouraged, incapable and depressed but you have figured it out! you can overpower those negative feelings and turn them into a positive attitude, a renewed outlook :) Keep it up Tracie, you’ll soon be able to climb those higher peaks and I know you will do it!!!YOu’ve gone through some valley’s through this whole ordeal but you’ve managed to climb and conquer some difficult peaks already. Along the way, you have friends to help you through these peaks and valley’s…we are all here to cheer you on and motivate you! You can beat this!!!!

  • brenda:

    There is a saying in AA that “we will love you till you can love yourself”. Well we will be your strength till you can find your own.

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