Profiles In Badass

(Picture taken just months before Tracy’s diagnosis)

Recently my sister Tracy had her 54th birthday. She was not here to celebrate. We lost Tracy to a rare form of bladder cancer at the age of 52. Urachal bladder cancer.  My workout like a beast, healthy eating, non-smoking younger sister had stage 4 bladder cancer.  It was hard to believe. What was not hard to believe is Tracy went immediately into battle mode.  She was determined to beat the odds and defy the prognosis.

Even as a child, Tracy was a fighter. One specific occasion, Tracy and I were lying on the floor watching Saturday TV. We had one TV.  A large floor model with the knobs you had to get up and change the channel. I come from a large family, 3 brothers and 3 sisters.  So TV battles were the norm. On this occasion my two older brothers came along and threatened to change the channel.  Now they didn’t care to watch any TV, they were just trying to a rise out of us. I had learned to ignore them because then they would go away. I whispered to Tracy “shhhhhh, pretend they don’t bother you and they’ll go away.”  But Tracy couldn’t do that.  She’d get outraged at the unfairness of it all and leap in to fight our bigger brothers.  This grit is how she approached her diagnosis.  Instead of asking ‘why me?’, she asked ‘okay, what can I do?’

(Picture taken for a good friend of Tracy’s who has since passed away from Ovarian Cancer)

Tracy was determined, kind, fair and enjoyed life.  We didn’t hear her rail on the unfairness of her diagnosis.  She went forward with badass bravery and grit.  We knew she was in incredible pain yet she never mentioned it.  Months after her diagnosis, she answered the door shocking her hospice nurse who, after reading her chart, expected to find her bedridden.

Tracy passed away 6 months after her diagnosis on Easter Monday.  My sisters, myself and my mom were given the gift of being with her that weekend.  We knew she was failing. I believe she knew she was failing. Yet she came downstairs everyday, sat outside with us to be a part of her family.

At one point I was sitting outside with her and she said “I was hoping for another miracle.” You see we had a couple of miracles in our family and we were all praying she would be the next miracle.  I asked her “who’s going to drink too much wine with me around the fire pit?” and we both started to cry-laugh because we had many a night around our fire pit.

Some of the strongest, badass women I know are with us in spirit and Tracy is one of them. It’s hard when we miss someone. But it means we had someone special in our lives, someone worth missing and that’s badass.

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