Sucker Punch

May 8, 2009

It was a sucker punch. I never saw it coming. I was not paying attention. I looked the other way to survey the land that is my perfect life. I got distracted by my awesome new job and my smart beautiful children, my supportive and creative partners. I was spending time tending to the garden and admiring the yard that had blossomed for Spring. The dogwoods are magnificent this time of year. I was making new friends and reconnecting with others I hadn’t seen in ages. I was cooking great food and sharing fine wine with those I care for the most. I was busy attending the little church I’ve come to love. I had learned to pray to say “thank you” more often than I prayed to say “help me”.

I never saw it coming, because I was caught up in those beautiful moments. It was then that she hit me. Fate unleashed a blow that knocked me right to my knees. It was the kind of impact that leaves you unable to catch your breath for a few panicked moments, the kind that renders you dizzy and disoriented, left to wonder what just happened. The sucker punch rendered quite a bruise, a bruise called breast cancer. That wound is going to take some time and considerable effort to heal. Cancer is the new unwelcome guest in my otherwise perfect life.

Fate, you underestimate me. I’ve been knocked down before. I’ve had to catch my breath after hard falls. I have had to contemplate what I might do next to survive. I have been frightened and scared, both of the things I know and the things I don’t understand. Fear and desperation are old friends of mine. I am well trained in figuring out how to make it through dark times. Fate, there is one thing you should understand about me. I always come up fighting. I am a fighter.

I once jumped over three bus seats to take on the town bully after she threatened my little sister. I was suspended from the school bus for the remainder of the academic year. My mother had to have one of those conversations with the principle. But I won. I once stood firmly in the middle of the NICU and made it abundantly clear that those tiny premature babies, the ones hooked to all those tubes and monitors, those were my babies. I will be the one to hold them. I will be the one to love them. I will be the one to care for them. Those babies belonged to me and like a mother dog protecting her pups, the growl came from deep within my soul. Everyone understood. I won.

So come on, Cancer! Come on, Fate! Do you want a piece of this? I am fighting for those babies again. They still need me. I am still their mother. The bully on the bus is part of our history but I am still protecting my little sister. She will worry too much, cry alone, and try to be stronger than she should, all for me. You won’t win because I am not going to let my mother ever feel the pain of losing another child. My lover, my friends, my God, my beautiful teenager, I will fight for all of them. You think you can take me? Think again.

This is a fight I plan to win.


6 Responses to “Sucker Punch”

  1. Kate Says:

    All I can say is that you are an amazing women and every word you speak is true. Cancer is no match for you my dear.

  2. Mama Says:

    Well now I got around to your blog believe it or not. The first thing I must say is my rebellious daughter is back and I LOVE that. With this attitude and your faith there won’t be a fight. Instead it will be one round and cancer your history. In other words what goes around comes around and now here comes your sucker punch cancer.The only thing different this time is she won’t be fighting alone. There will be an army of angels surrounding and protecting her. Let me say to my first born, the mother of my grandchildren and my best friend WELCOME BACK TO LIFE.

  3. Nancy Says:

    Hey, Cancer? You picked the wrong woman to mess with. Too bad for you.

    I got yer OUTFIELD Ronnie!!!

  4. Heather Backs Says:

    LOVE IT! This is the best blog entry yet! You WILL fight this – keep that fighting attitude all the way through!

    Oh and I too had to fight a bully on the bus who was messing with my little sister! It’s the big sister duty!

  5. Chris Says:

    I was stunned to say the least when Tracy told me of this news. But once I got over that shock, frankly I dont worry about you and this situation. You have, without a doubt, always turned on your mind and focused to achieve what you wanted.

    I’ve seen it…yes you are a fighter. Got that. But what separates you is not your tenacity, its your mind. Focus it and achieve what you want…again.

    I also want to revisit our talk in New York. My experience is that I cannot comprehend the plan that God has laid out for me. I struggle with it, understanding it, giving myself over to it, etc. It’s only after time and contemplation that I begin to see what that plan really is.

    I didnt understand my own trials and tribulations and fought back against God. ANGRY…I mean really f’n angry at God. But in retrospect, he gave me things to deal with that would benefit me (or perhaps others) in the end. Had I maintained my faith during those times, I might not feel guilty today about my anger then.

    Trust in the plan that He has, trust in your strength, lean on your faith, love those that are precious, ask them for their help…they want to give.

    You are amazing (like your sister) to me. Now go kick its ASS!!

  6. Bev Says:

    Prepare yourself. Save your energy, anger, best and favorite curses… Store your memories for playback at any fragile moment, and know this: this is a solitary disease, but I am with you. I will look into the eyes of this illness with all who love you. I wish I could help in this fight… It feels so frustrating to not have one productive thing to do. I do however promise this, I WILL NOT let you go. I will hold on. I was on that ferry leaving Ithaka, you watched until Vethi was a speck on the horizon and still you tried to see. I was right behind you. I still am. I will not let go.

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