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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Signs from the Universe

There are no coincidences in life, I believe. Things happen because they are supposed to and the world is more orderly than one might think.

Consider Wednesday, when I connected with two old friends, and those connections ended up overwhelming me with hope.

First in the wee hours I read an article in the NY Times written by an old friend I hadn’t talked to in years. Someone whose company I used to enjoy very much. The article was awesome (I am loath to name him or the article out of fear of violating medical privacy laws), so I sent him an email congratulating him for the scoop. I closed by briefly mentioning my cancer.

He quickly wrote back. His charming wife, a doctor (who was a medical student when I knew and liked her very much), had breast cancer three and a half years ago. Like me, hers had progressed before being caught. I instantly felt like less of a chump. If a doctor can miss breast cancer, then I could too. As I will, she went through it all – the Grand Slam, he called it, of chemo, double mastectomy and radiation.

And she’s fine today. Life has returned to a new normal, but there is life and normalcy.

Then I spent the same day with an old friend from my Hollister days who has just gotten through chemo for Stage IV colon cancer. Talk about a life-changer.

It was the first time I’ve really talked with someone who is doing what I’m doing: enduring the treatment, then dramatically changing everything about life in order to remain cancer-free.

We talked about losing nails, skin cracking and all of the horrible side effects. Then diet and exercise, organics, vitamins, following our hearts and living life as stress free as possible.

We talked about truly believing that our bodies can heal themselves, if we supply them with the right nutrients and support for our immune systems. And we talked about our efforts seeking out and avoiding hidden carcinogens in health, food and beauty products.

It was like being reunited with a long-lost twin.

I’m happy to report she is tumor-free. I am hoping to achieve the same state Oct. 20 when I have my double mastectomy.

So two old friends materializing on the same day, the first day I started feeling good after chemo. Both on the other side of treatment with nothing but good news to report.

I will take that as a sign from the universe.

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