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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My future is ????

I had a long talk with Dr. Carlson yesterday about my future. With the tumors essentially undetectable to the human touch, I finally asked him about my likely future.

Of course he had explained my potential prognosis in our first meeting: 10 percent survival rate after 5 years with radiation alone, up to 80 percent with the course we chose – this kick-my-ass trial I was lucky to qualify for.

But I want to live longer than 5 years! And I have wondered what the 20 percent have in common who don’t make it that long.

Since the very beginning my intuition has told me I will beat this completely and up the statistical survival rates. Or, as my friend Nants often reminds me, I’m writing my own reality. But in the depths of chemo hell, depression and doubt set in. What if it doesn’t work, what if it comes back – could I do this again? Sometimes when I’m really down I feel like I’d just like to go to sleep and not wake up. That’s how my dad passed from prostate cancer.

I talked to my medical team about the depression yesterday. I have all of you to pull me through it, but what about the patients who don’t? I wanted the researchers involved in the trial to know that this is an extremely serious issue. Dr. Carlson, the compassionate man that he is, kindly explained that my sad states are very real, and most likely a combination of chemo and my overwhelming reality of being suddenly stricken with the Big C. Nothing like going from fat and sassy to frail and dependent overnight.

So as I enter Round 4, the last of the double-doses, I needed a hopeful thought to get me through it. (did I tell you we read the calendar wrong and this is my LAST double dose!!!!! Then it gets slightly easier for the second half. We are at the hump. A great birthweek present!)

In my search for hope I asked Dr. Carlson about the C word – the other C word. Not Cancer. CURE. I offered him an out.

“I know oncologists don’t like to use the word ‘cure,”’ I began.

“Yes we do,” he said.

“Well, then, can I be cured?”

“That’s the plan!”

“So there’s a chance that at the end of all of this my cancer will NEVER come back again?”

“Yes there is.”

That chance of never recurring is all I needed to hear as I enter this final round of the worst half of my treatment.

As a precaution my medical team wrote a prescription for anti-depressants.

I honestly don’t think I’ll need to fill it. When I’m at my worst I will focus on Dr. Carlson’s optimistic words, I’ll tune out with my meditation CDs and I’ll read your encouraging notes of support.

I will write my own happy ending.

PS: Dr. Carlson and my team read the blog. They commented about the ion foot baths and were a tad grossed at the photos of what detoxed out of my feet!
And just in time, my mom arrives today at noon. Too bad she’ll see me so sick, but maybe with mom love in da house it won’t be so bad!!

6 Responses to “My future is ????”

  • Abi's BF:

    How exciting is all this news????? This roller coaster ride will end up as a nice, placid, boat ride on Lake Tahoe……and we’ll be on board too!!! See you tonite…remember “IF ITS WEDNESDAY…..IT MUST BE T’s”

  • Elaine:

    “I will write my own happy ending.”
    Yes, you will, my friend.

  • Judi:


  • Sue:

    We’re counting on celebrating many, many, many more birthday’s with you, Tracie! Count. On. It. And love to your mom! Xoxox s and m.

  • Larry:

    I made it and so will you! You have what it takes.
    Sending you love and my healing light.

  • Brenda:

    Tracie, I’m going thru some crap right now–things I haven’t even shared with Michelle, but when I think I just want to quit trying and give up, I think about what you are going thru and how small my problems suddenly seem. It gives me the strength to keep on keeping on. You need to know that you inspire us to keep going. Giving up isn’t an option. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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