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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Sex + chemo = uh oh

Gawd, I hope my mother doesn’t read this one, but I vow to be open and to present all of this as honestly as I can. In all of the many conversations I’ve had with members of my medical team, it occurred to me too late that we never talked about sex. As in “can a chemo patient escape into normalcy when feeling up to it, and if so what precautions must be taken.”

So today, eight hours later, I am suffering the ravages of a raging urinary tract infection for something so basic it’s boring. Ah, yes, I don’t have white blood cells!! The slightest invasion of my body means the possibility that infection will occur. So now we know by Googling what we should have done … too late. I hope these antibiotics and pain meds kick in and cure me before Tuesday, when I’m scheduled to have my next round of chemo. I don’t want to set back my treatment!

(The visit today to my general practitioner had its’ upside: I got to visit with the best doctor in Fresno, Tegest Hailu, who found my lumps and set all of this in motion. She is kind and compassionate and actually spends TIME with her patients – when she’s not seeing inmates at the Women’s Prison in Chowchilla. If my Fresno friends are looking for a GP, I guarantee you would LOVE this charming woman.)

Lately my biggest wish has been to live my life normally on the days I feel like it. In facing a disease that kills so many, however, we are falling into a trap that is also a blessing. We constantly feel we must make up for wasted time and lost opportunities to feel the love we share.

In life and love, one wants desperately to believe that one’s life partner will be there forever, that we will grow old together and somehow miraculously die in our sleep at precisely the same time. And while I vow that this will not be the end of me, the frightening reality of our own mortality is with us always now. And that’s not something antibiotics can cure.

One Response to “Sex + chemo = uh oh”

  • carol:

    Hi Tracie,

    I wanted to be the first to comment on this post.

    Thanks for the honesty and realness of your journey!

    I continue daily to offer positive energy and intentions your way.


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