Here’s the conversation I had with my gastroenterologist five years ago:
Doc: “Tracy, the mass that was on your pancreas two and a half years ago is still there.”
Me: “What mass?”
Yep. Five years ago almost to the day I learned that my doctors royally screwed up and left a tumor to grow on my pancreas. A few weeks later the mass was biopsied, and a couple weeks after that I learned that the tumor had metastasized to my liver and chest and that modern science had no way to put my brand of cancer into remission.
Back then I was a music student finishing up my last year of an undergraduate degree so that I could go on to earn a doctorate and teach music theory. I was overweight and weak with nausea and pain on most days.
Today, I’m 103 lbs. of pure muscle gearing up to ride a 100-mile bike ride over thousands of feet of elevation on Sunday, and I’m a professional writer.
Back then I cried when I heard a piece of music I loved because I thought in five years I wouldn’t be alive to teach that same piece to students of my own. Well, I was partially right. I’ve switched careers, so I will not be teaching that piece to students, but not only am I still alive, I am in the best shape of my life — a true athlete — with cancer.
On Sunday Tommie and I officially celebrate five years of health when we ride the Philadelphia Livestrong Challenge century. With the help of our friends and family, we’ve raised more than $6,000 to help pick a fight with cancer, and we’re ready to ride.
Thank you to everyone for your tremendous support, your love, and your friendship.
I cannot wait to cross the finish line on Sunday.
Eff you, cancer.