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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Over the chemo hump!!!!!!

I can’t believe we’ve been on this chemo roller coaster for eight weeks now. With the last infusion we crossed the hump: halfway through with chemo! And I’m now officially all-the-way through with the double doses of the powerful Adriamycin and Cytoxan!

(On Tuesday Michelle heard my nurse mutter ‘boy, they really give you a lot. I’m glad I didn’t hear it)

Now we switch it up until October with Taxatere, which isn’t supposed to hit as hard. Then surgery. Then radiation. Then a year of Herceptin and reconstructive surgery. What are YOU doing for the next two years?

Just as we finish up with the big guns, I have found my rhythm with this most vicious portion of my chemotherapy.

This last go-round, which I expected to be my worst, wasn’t, and I’m eager to share that with you. I changed up my holistic treatment a bit and I think it contributed greatly, along with your prayers, visualizations and uplifting energy. As I balanced precariously on the chemo abyss, Lynn and I changed the timing of the detox and reflexology regimen. Instead of at the end of the cycle, she came to our house on nausea Friday (car travel would have sent me over the edge at that point) and worked for two hours to help me. The detox was like no other of the dozens I’ve had, producing a bath of dead, dull cells unlike what usually emerges. I didn’t know what to make of it until later that day when my NAUSEA BEGAN TO SUBSIDE!!! AND I HAD NONE THE NEXT DAY (or today) and was able to throw aside my constipation-inducing anti-nausea meds. If you were living in my world right now you would appreciate this for the miracle that it is. Usually I’m clutching my knees until Monday. So now I wonder if the overwhelming nausea cancer patients suffer is caused by the billions of cells being killed off by chemo, then left floating around in the body. Does getting at least some of them out ease the process? Will anyone but me believe this is real?

Oh, I had my side effects, but mostly related to extreme fatigue. I could hardly move off the sofa all day on Saturday, but I was able to eat, which normally I can’t manage until Monday. And I got up from bed too quickly this morning and passed out, hitting the floor with such a thud that all of the sleeping people (Michelle, Sue and Michael and my mom) thought in unison “I hope that wasn’t Tracie!” That scared me, and of course made me weepy that I’m so fragile, at least on these days. But I rallied a few hours later and shuffled around the shady spots on the front yard for a few minutes (for those of you keeping score, normally I can’t shuffle until Tuesday).

Now I’m actually able to sit here upright updating you on my encouraging progress.

This is an important week for us: on Friday I head back to Stanford for the MRI and echocardiogram that will officially diagnose my progress and measure whether the drugs are harming my heart. Then on Tuesday we start Taxatere and turn our attention to any rogue cells that might have slipped into my brain. This is the part of my treatment designed to prevent a recurrence.

At the time of my first round, it seemed like an impossibly long time that I would be sitting here, halfway done with chemo!

Then I focused on my path and started taking the days one at a time.

One day at a time! That’s all any of us can handle anyway.

6 Responses to “Over the chemo hump!!!!!!”

  • Sue:

    And your cheeks were rosy today! You’ll be kicking our butts on dog walks again soon! I look forward to that! Xoxox

  • Joni:

    Congratulations Trace! For being over the double-dose hump and managing to shave a couple of those worst days off of this week and turning them in to days where you were able to eat, walk, avoid some nausea and hopefully smile more! Who knows, some of your efforts here may be pioneering ways to help relieve the same from others who suffer and with what the detox means to you,…it IS real.
    And glad your mom is out there with you too,…that is a help like no other! Tell her hello for me.
    Love, Joni

  • Beth:

    Tracie, I am so happy for you. I am glad that the chemo wasn’t as bad as it has been. I look forward to hearing the report on your success thus far! I am here as always and you are in my prayers and thoughts always. Keep up the good fight!

  • Bryan:

    Glad to hear things are easing up. You’ve been in my thoughts all week, lots of positive energy and happy vibes being telepathed your way. Here’s to some “official” good news on Friday. Love to you, Michelle and mom too from your SF cheering section!

  • Elaine Hoover:

    So glad the change up in the holistic approach made a difference for you and that this was not like the last round. Love the way you are controlling the things you can control.
    What am I doing the next TWO years? I’LL BE PULLING AND PRAYING FOR YOU-ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!!!!!

  • Lynn Arthur:

    Happy you are feeling better. See you soon,

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