Traci is a writer and performer. As she speaks about her sudden breast cancer diagnosis, her eyes glow, and her arms move about expressively. I ask her what life was like before she received her diagnosis on June 20, 2016.
“I was feeling a sense of guilt. I wasn’t giving enough to my writing. I wasn’t giving enough to my commitments. I was never giving enough time to any of these things, much less to seeing my friends. The day of my diagnosis, the guilt sort of vanished. It was like, OK. If I don’t make it to another meeting, OK. If I throw away a whole section of my manuscript, OK.”
“I sort of relate this to the time 11 years ago when my father passed away. The whole year after felt so lucid. I was so present in that moment. What mattered was myself, and time with my mom, and time with my friends and people I loved. And then somewhere along the way, I went back to the business of life.”
“What is life like now?” I ask.
“I feel a lot of relief now. I can look ahead. That was something about a month ago I could not do. I could not make commitments for the fall. There is a lot of waiting that is sometimes a drag more than anything else. Right now, I’m just trying to gather more information.”
“What’s been the biggest change?”
“I feel a lot of transformation in terms of time. Time is everything. So is my energy. That’s the tug of war that I wonder about. As I go into treatments and hormone therapy. I do wonder and worry a little bit about how it will affect my energy because my energy is everything to me.”
Traci’s original fundraising goal was $6,624. So far, she has raised over $23,000. And while she greatly appreciates the financial relief that these funds provide, what she describes as her “silver lining” through this experience, is the gift of time that she has received. Time to work less, time to be with people she loves, and time to reconnect with herself.
Traci shows me a part of her home that is under construction. As we look at this structure being erected, an image of a caterpillar flashes in my mind. The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly happens in a “chrysalis” stage, where most of its old parts breakdown, and its new being forms.
With this image in mind, I share, “It appears that you’re in the chrysalis stage of your life. Everything, both internal and external is being rebuilt.” Tracy takes a deep breath in and out, nods, and smiles in agreement.
To learn more about Traci, and make a donation, please visit her fundraiser.