Inspiration – Part 4

Well, it’s been awhile since my last inspiration post. No time like the present!

On the eve of my final chemo, I wanted to share with you a note that was, and is particularly near and dear to my heart. It comes from Tracey S. Yes, the same Tracey who buzzed her hair off when I started chemo. As you will see, she gave me some amazing advice early on.

Whenever I feel exhausted from smiling, reassuring and comforting other people about my illness (yes, this actually happens WAY more often than I care to admit and, yes, it’s F’ing exhausting — just as an aside, if this blog teaches you nothing else, please learn that it is not cool to cry in front of your friend who has cancer b/c you feel so sad for her. I promise you, that is not helpful in the least. It’s happened to me a number of times and it does annoy me to have to comfort you. I have only so much energy and it’s got to be spent fighting this cancer, not holding your hand! OK the aside is done now!), beat down by insurance or stressed about the minutia — I hear Tracey in my head, telling me (with her southern drawl that I adore!) to live my life like nobody’s lookin’! So that’s what I try to do.

October 19, 2012:

Wow. Read your blog today and unexpectedly started sobbing like a baby when I got to the part about Sya. I think that is her name. Like body shaking sobs. Completely shocked myself as I tend to stand outside my body and be practical observer of all things. Including myself. I think we may be much the same in that way. I feel you all the way down here in TX and you are always on my mind. I almost died once when I was about your same age and I will tell you the story some day. Mine was different than yours as I was told immediately that I could die at any moment by every doctor and nurse I came across and this went on for a while. I even had an ICU nurse yell at me once because she didn’t think I was taking my impending death seriously enough and I thought fuck you, I can do whatever I want because I am about to die:) Everyone else around me (except my husband) fell apart and I spent my time trying to make everyone else feel better. It was a bit exhausting. So I think I feel a bit what you may be feeling. The shitty thing is that this is happening to you but also a good thing can come of it. I do what I want now without worrying about how “they” will feel about it. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just mean in things that won’t hurt other people, I get to decide what my life looks like. The other thing is I have no real fear of death anymore which allows me to really live. Like feeling complete and utter joy when simple things happen like the weather is great, the food is awesome, silly jokes that make you belly laugh and the gratefulness that I have my husband as my partner on this journey. It makes me happy that you will most likely feel the same way when it is all over:)


PS. I just cracked open a bottle of good red right now and am drinking with you!

Tracey, I thank you so very much for reaching out to me so many months ago, and for continuing to check in on me regularly. I hope that you know that this email helped define me during the past 8 months, and it will continue to for the rest of my life! I no longer fear dying, and that, alone has changed me (I hope in a good way!). I also feel alive in a different way than I ever have before. You helped me to see that life is worth living and that going through the motions isn’t good enough when you’ve gone through something like breast cancer.  Thank you for opening the door to allow me to work through all of this heavy stuff without being scared. I love you! xoxox


7 thoughts on “Inspiration – Part 4

  1. Tracey S is one of the finest human beings I have ever met! I am so glad she has helped you along your journey!!!! xoxo Julie

  2. Tracey has the heart of a golden angel and a fighting spirit. I love that she has been an inspiration and a rock for you. xo xo

  3. When I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks, after years of IVF, I couldn’t see my family or friends. I just couldn’t. I was barely surviving and the thought of seeing their pain and feeling it was more than I could bear. I knew they truly loved me and mourned with me but I knew I couldn’t reassure them I was okay. You are right – it is an energy drain even with those who love you most. Thinking of you still!

  4. Wow! So proud of you for speaking your truth and getting it out. My best friend and breast cancer survivor has had to remind me to be selfish. This is the time you are allowed and if it pisses anyone off, then they’re trying to play the victim. I don’t deal well with victims. Cancer has a beautiful way of teaching us what really freaking matters. I want you and your conversation, not things that go into my cancer box that will be stored away when this year passes. I used to be an avoider of conversations and cancer has taught me that that’s what life is really all about. The connections. I’m thankful for our connection. I’ve learned so much from you and I didn’t send you a hat, shawl, magazine, book, gift card….things that are so thoughtful but fill my soul with life experiences and conversations and we are good. I’m so proud of you Andrea! You have fought this battle with strength, dignity, empowerment, humor and kindness. Thank you. Happy last chemo! Your journey is going to change a bit after tomorrow but you will adjust just as well as you adjusted to your current journey. Xoxoxo Michele

    • xoxo!
      Agree that the journey has not ended, it’s simply changed. There is still much work and healing to be done.
      PS – you will be at this point sooner than you realize. You are kicking Taxol’s hiney!

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