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.
Contact Tracie

OK, Let’s Go!

We’re heading to Stanford Tuesday morning and for once I’m excited. If all goes well, and if the cancer really is responding as well as it seems, this will be my LAST ROUND of chemotherapy.

Of course I learned long ago not to taunt cancer or chemo, and not to ever let it think I have the upper hand. Chemo is an evil devil that will take any and every opportunity to show you who’s boss, hence the qualifiers.

But I go with a great attitude, despite a malfunctioning port that means I have to take it through a vein in my arm. This attitude is because of all of you who loved me up this week to send me into Round 8 feeling strong and confident.

Michelle and I returned home Sunday after four days with two friends for a soul-satisfying getaway to San Diego. Despite my weak condition, I wanted to see friends Michelle and I had made on our tour of tequila country last April, our last carefree outing before my stunning diagnosis. Michelle thought a fun weekend would be just the thing to get me in the right frame of mind.

I have a special place in my heart for the friends I made on our weeklong bus trip through Jalisco, mostly because they are great people and a lot of fun, but also because they were the folks with whom I experienced my last hurrah bonding over Mexico’s national beverage (my fave) before my life’s new reality: moderation (after this period of abstinence ends).

They came for the Spirits of Mexico, the U.S.’s largest tequila tasting. I went for the hugs from friends who traveled in from Chicago, North Carolina, Portland, Texas, Mexico and California. (I admit I did taste a few new tequilas, but consumed just the tiniest of sips. My liver is busy processing other things these days.)

I even got hugs at the event from people I’ve never met, including people who guessed from discussions on their tequila forums that the only bald woman among hundreds of tasters was the friend with cancer. Two strangers said they’ve been reading my blog, and that my struggles put their own into perspective. How great that I could perform that service! Another man told me about his daughter’s success over liver cancer, and it was only toward the end of the conversation I learned she was only 14! Talk about not fair.

I’m glad the light at the end of my dark tunnel is bright after four long months because I’m not sure how much more poison my poor battered body can take. Besides the usual sickness and weakness I now have another symptom associated with my trial drug: bloating and a horrible rash over my face, arms and legs. It’s red and itchy, maybe like hives, which I’ve never had. It looks horrible, so I wear long pants and long sleeves, even when it’s really hot so people don’t think I have something contagious. Nothing has given me even temporary relief until I took a bath last night in apple cider vinegar.

The bloating is something else entirely. I now have what some people call “cankles,” calves and ankles that are seemingly one. If you know me, you know that even at my heaviest my legs are ridiculously skinny, so it’s a strange development indeed. Lynn Arthur says my kidneys are struggling. I did a detox and reflexology with her this morning and I seem to be eliminating fluids pretty rapidly, so maybe this, too, shall pass.

I’m late posting this today, so perhaps when you read this it will be Tuesday and I’ll already be at Stanford conferring with my doctors, or hooked to the IV bag that will be delivering the last batch of poison to attack whatever cancer cells might be left inside of me by this point.

So what can you do? I go back to when this started four months ago and the first thing I asked you all to do for me. Whether you pray, meditate or chant to get in touch with your higher power, my request is always the same, always in the affirmative, and never mention’s the C-word.

Please ask for the “return of Tracie’s healthy body.” Then visualize the chemo, like little Pac Men, gobbling up any cancer cells that might have traveled beyond my breast and nearby lymph nodes. Send those cancer gobblers through my blood stream to the deepest, furthest parts of my body on their seek-and-destroy mission.

With your love and support my response so far has been miraculous. I want others who are suffering to realize what’s possible. Failure has never been an option.

We can do this, my friends, one more time!

5 Responses to “OK, Let’s Go!”

  • Susan Doty Bowen:

    Tracie, I just got through saying my prayer for the return of your healthy body. I know that you will come back stronger than ever when all of this is over.

  • Elaine Hoover:

    You’ve got it…return of Tracie’s healthy body…Go, Pac Man, Go!!!
    We love you, Tracie. You, We, You…Can Do It!!!!!
    Praying for you without stopping.

  • Bryan:

    I can’t wait to see you two tomorrow on what promises to be a huge party (or at least, a hell of a lot of quiet, respectful, cancer ward appropriate fun!). Big hugs all around as soon as the Caltrain rolls into Palo Alto!

  • maria:

    YEs!!! I will be channeling everything so that all your c-cells are obliterated!! You know you have my support and all my positive vibes that I can send will be going your way.

    It was so great to see you and spend time with you and Michelle. You looked great despite what you say. You are such a strong person and I am just in awe of you.

    I will be thinking of you tomorrow.

    Hugs and Kisses!

  • Kathleen:

    Tracie,
    Sending you positive thoughts and prayers.

Leave a Reply

Meet Tracie
Copyright 2010 by Tracie Cone. All rights reserved.