Update on Running for Tracy

As I catch up with blog posts, I thought it fitting to have my last post of 2012 be an update on the Running For Tracy story. Early this year I found out that an online friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. Something about her diagnosis and story really spoke to me. I discussed it with her, and decided to dedicate my year of running to her. Since she couldn’t be as physically active as she wanted to be, my running would be for her. The initial story is here.

The year has ended, and I am beyond excited to say that she is doing amazing!! I interviewed her for the update post:

1. What treatments/surgeries did you undergo?  I had 3 surgeries this year. 1st one was a lumpectomy on Feb. 3rd. The pathology came back with unclear margins so I decided at that point to have a mastectomy rather than re-excising the lump. The mastectomy and 1st stage of reconstruction happened Feb 28th. I had tissue expanders placed and they were filled twice a month through a port with a needle, this whole process was very painful. I had the 3rd surgery on September 21st. This was phase II of reconstruction. I had silicone implants placed. So much more comfortable than the hard rigid expanders! As for treatment, I had 4 rounds of AC (the red devil) bi-weekly followed by 12 weekly rounds (3 on 1 off) of taxol for a total of 16 treatments over about 5.5 months. I will also have to take tamoxifen for 5 years.
2. What helped you pull through on difficult days?  I think the thing that was the hardest and also the most helpful was having a toddler in the house. No matter how shitty I felt I HAD to get up and care for him and that kept me going.
3. What are your future plans?  My future plans are to go back to work (starting on the 31st!) and start an RN program in January. I have wasted enough time, I have to get this stuff done.
4. How did your children make a difference for you during everything?  My kids were my rock. I relied heavily on the older ones for help because they were my only feasible resource. They stepped into the role graciously and took care of me when I needed it and helped with the small ones every day. I couldn’t have done it without them.
5. How did this experience make you stronger?  Nothing gives you perspective quite like realizing you’re mortal. I now see exactly what I need to do and where I need to be. I’m not afraid like I used to be. If I made it through breast cancer with 5 kids, a shitty husband, and zero family support, I can do anything. And I will.
6. What is next for you?  Next I just plan on going back to “normal” life. This time unafraid. I am setting small goals and making things happen. I will also have at least 2 more surgeries next year, a hysterectomy and a revision of the last reconstructive surgery, but I’m not in a huge hurry.
7. What are you most proud of from this past year?  I’m just proud that I’m on the other side of this. I’ve always considered myself a weak person, a weak person couldn’t have made it through this ordeal. I am strong and that makes me proud.
8. Anything else you’d like to add?  On a personal note, I’ve decided to stay in Vegas. I am seeing a therapist who’s helping me disengage from the abusive cycle I’m in so I can peacefully coexist here while I finish school which should only take me a year.  As for the cancer, it was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through, but I wouldn’t change it. It has changed me in so many ways and mostly for the better. Sometimes you have to go through something horrible to realize what you need to do in life. Before cancer I was stagnant and lost, now I am motivated.  🙂

I would like to add that Tracy also took and passed her NCLEX exam while going through treatment. She motivated me throughout the year and always will! Writing this follow-up brings a smile to my face. You never want to see anyone suffer, but to know that she fought and became stronger throughout this ordeal amazes me. Tracy, I am proud of you. You are an inspiration and an amazing mother!!