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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Marking Time

Heading out (with wig) for an early birthday dinner.

I love my feel-good weekends! I’ve logged 14.5 miles walking since last Wednesday, when I started feeling human again. I started out walking just yards, but worked up to 3 miles on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday despite the heat.

I’m not as fast as I used to be, but my goal is simple: get my heart pumping on my good days as quickly as can after I recover from my chemo bouts. One of the drugs can cause permanent heart damage, so I’m doing what I think I should so that it won’t happen to me. I’ll know for sure on July 16 when I get an echocardiogram to see how I’m holding up (if my heart function drops I get booted from the trial). Mark that date: I’ll also get an MRI and a mammogram to measure my tumor shrinkage. Fingers crossed!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we go back to Stanford for Round 4 of my double-chemo infusion, so I’m eight weeks into this ordeal! After this round only one more of these double-dose infusions that are designed to track down cancer cells wherever they might have migrated in my body. Then we switch to the one that’s directed at my brain uhhhggggghhh. Those evil bastards don’t realize my doctors know their favorite hiding places!

I’m trying to ignore what’s in store tomorrow and for the rest of the week, but I’m armed now with guided meditation CDs to help me escape my chemo hell days, if only in my head. (Thanks friends, and thanks Michelle Arthur for the stash). It’s another of the many things I’m trying as I navigate this strange process the best I can.

Tonight my Michelle and I are going to Max’s, one of our favorite restaurants in Fresno, to celebrate my birthday early. I’ll be in chemo-hell on the actual day, which doesn’t seem fair, but what has been lately? So we will ignore that day and celebrate a little tonight, and a little more after I feel better.

I’m hoping that birthdays are like house payments these days: if you skip one that great mortgage broker in the sky adds it to the end.

That’s why I’m going through this — so that I won’t cash in that year for a very long time.

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