Saturday, July 19 2014
Where did that month go? Can you believe it's been that long since the 'dream of all dreams' night that was the Gala dinner? It's fair to say that we've been basking in the afterglow. Uplifted by the incredible support that came together in one room for Tracy that night. To have had so many wonderful people surround Tracy and all of our family, literally wrapping their arms around us, was something truly special. People who are not only astoundingly generous and warm hearted, but who know how to have FUN and make the most of all situations. I feel like all of that love, energy and positivity infused into us in a way that simply can't be explained....
The original idea behing 4Tracy4Life was about fundraising, to allow Tracy freedom to make choices that are right for her health but, it is so clear to me, that it really has become about so much more than that. Yes, the fundraising success has allowed Tracy that freedom, for which we are incredibly grateful, but I have started to believe that just as importantly, Tracy has started to see how amazing she is. That if all of these people think so highly of her, and are prepared to do so much for her, she might actually be pretty special. Of course, we have all always known that she is one of the most special people ever, but... she has never ever seen it, perhaps until now... or at least she is starting to. And I'm starting to understand more and more, how important that mind, body, spirit connection is in travelling the road she is on. Not only to have a chance to fight the disease in the best way possible, but also to endure what it takes to do so. To keep fronting up week after week to fight the fight, ups, downs, curve balls and hot flushes included. Tracy constantly amazes all of those around her in her ability to do just that. We never seem to know what is around the corner and have come to realise that really, that's expected. Treatment gets paused, changed, updated depending on so many different factors that it's hard/impossible to wrap your head around. So Tracy instead focusses on doing what needs to be done and does so with the strength, bravery and grace that have become her trademark along with her smile.
Speaking of changes, Tracy's chemo was changed straight after the Gala dinner. The bloating was her body's way of saying it had had enough of the one she was on. Pacliataxel has a fairly strong allergic type reaction in some people, including Tracy, and to compensate she was on pretty heavy steroids. Unfortunately steroids have their own side effects, bloating being one of them. When it gets too much it's time for a change of treatment. Hello, Abraxane! The good news is that Abraxane is only administered once every 3 weeks. The bad news has been that it hits her pretty hard for that first week or so with gradual improvement thereafter until she feels pretty good the week just before her next treatment is due (good to know for scheduling fun things to do and for those wanting to take advantage of this her next treatment is on Wed 30th July:-). The other slightly unexpected impact of Abraxane was the extreme, sudden hair loss. I guess we always knew the day would come but nothing prepared us for it happening so quickly. I'd always envisaged we'd have time to make a real occasion out of it and prepare some awesome accessories etc. It was so sudden we didn't have any time to prepare but we made an occasion out of it all the same:-) The wonderful Christine at Reesey Original in Mona Vale (fantastic person and amazing hairdresser!) made time in her busy day and welcomed us (and 4 children given it was school hoidays!!!) with open arms. We snapped photos, popped champers and had some fun while Christine carefully tried different lengths of buzz cut:-) followed by some scissor shaping. This is one designer buzz cut!!! Tracy didn't skip a beat, taking what can I can only imagine is a pretty confronting experience totally in her stride, just as we have become accustomed to her doing. We discovered Tracy had a birthmark she never knew about and also has one of the best shaped heads ever seen! The things you discover:-) So, with a little pep in our steps we went straight from Reesey Original to buy some bling to make the most of her new look. Scarves, earrings, funky hats... a whole new world to explore. A few photos were posted on FB with everyone agreeing that Tracy can rock any hairstyle/look. She always was the one in the family who had the model looks:-)
Since then Tracy has had another round of chemo which was preceeded by an appointment with her oncologist. Her usual oncologist was sick (yep, even doctors have to have the day off every now and then:-) and so we had a young, good looking male oncologist in training. Oh ok, if we must :-) Both Shaz and I had planned on attending the oncologist appointment as we had a few questions and we also had Taya with us, so the poor young oncologist had 4 of us to deal with!!! Let's just say I think his training was kicked up a notch that day:-) If he can deal with us and our questions I'm pretty sure he can deal with anything. There were a few hysterically funny moments during the appointment. How do you make an appointment with an oncologist entertaining? Apparently, just ask a Williams sister:-) Unfortunately, I don't think they translate to text, or at least I'm not enough of a comedienne to acheive doing so, but if you see any of us anytime soon you should ask us about it. Mind you, I could barely tell a friend from work about it I was laughing so hard. We had some good laughter mileage over it for days:-) :-) :-) Still living by the motto... laugh when we can...cry when we need to. It always feels so good to laugh with my sisters especially when there is so much else going on...
Another important piece of news to share with all of you is that all of your support has meant that Tracy is getting a whiz bang new bed! Their existing bed is more than a little 'tired' and definitely not suited to someone who has had major spinal surgery and needs as much support as possible. It's been one of Tracy's biggest struggles since coming home from the comfort of an adjustable, supportive hospital bed and so, taking advantage of the financial year end sales (and my negotation skills:-), we took the plunge to get Tracy a bed that will support her body, relieve pressure and adjust to different positions to allow her to get comfortable whenever she can. It took a little convincing to get Tracy to accept that she should spend some of the funds raised on this but, once she lay down, on one.... it suddenly took a lot less. I truly believe that the more quality rest she can get, the stronger her mind and body will be and that that will absolutely translate to fighting a better fight against her cancer. Anything that helps her do that is a critical investment to make now! Not wait to do, not hold off for other things that might happen in the future. We will deal with those as and when/if they arise, to the contrary, anything we know that will help now, is priority now! This includes things like keeping up her water rehab/exercise, getting enough quality rest whichever way/whenecer she can get it, good nutrition, time with people she cares about and who care about her, fun, laughter etc... all of these things and more, along with all of the medical treatment of course, are high on the list. The new bed is at the foundation of some of these things and without everyone's support it wouldn't be happening. So I wanted to share this news with you so you are all aware of the difference you have all madeand continue to make. Tracy patiently (or some days impatently:-) awaits the bed's arrival, which should be soon we hope. I suspect she will be inspired to blog about it herself once it has. so look out for an update from Tracy soon.
And now I will leave you with something to look forward to, especially for all those that have been left wanting a little more fun in their lives since the Gala dinner (yep, you can count me in that group I won't hesitate to admit!). An incredibly generous and close friend of the family, Tracey Hourde, is opening up her home to host a wonderful High Tea, Tea 4 Tracy. It's on the 14th September at 2pm and you can find all of the details on the Tea 4 Tracy event that has been set up on the 4Tracy4Life FB group. If you are not on Facebook please just email Ingrid on firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for further details and/or your RSVP and she will send the information to you. Details will also be up on the website Events page this week. We would love for you to join us and, as you all know, where the Williams sisters are, there is sure to be good food, laughter and bubbles. I'm looking forward to it already:-)
Until next time xxx