Stage Four

I’ve always been blunt, and my humor has always been kind of dark. It’s just the way I am. It’s how I’ve coped with life since I was a kid. I am not about to change now. This is not a fun blog post for me to write and I don’t imagine it’s going to be a fun post for some to read. But here it is.

Last March I went to the hospital with abdominal pain I thought was my appendix about to rupture. Surprise, surprise, it was cancer. I was at peace with it from the first utterance of the word. This is God’s ballgame, not mine. If this is the path He wants me to walk, then it’s fine. If He wants me to be healed here, it will happen. If that’s not in His plan then I know there will be healing on the other side of this life. Isn’t that what’s important anyway?

I got my port surgically implanted in April and started chemo. They tried a couple of different kinds but the scan didn’t show any kind of shrinkage of the spots or masses. It’s not just in my colon, it’s on my liver and one ovary. They couldn’t even FIND the other ovary. I used to have two. I seem to have lost one along the way. I went through menopause very early. It may have ruptured and gotten absorbed or something, I don’t know. I wasn’t using them anyway.

I have a fantastic oncologist who helped my neighbor some time back with his cancer. He’s good. He’s sent my scans to other oncologists around the country. I met with one in Winston Salem at Baptist Hospital back in December. I haven’t talked much about that visit because I didn’t want to bum people out just before the holidays. That doc told us the same thing the others did – surgery is not an option. I’d be Swiss cheese if they started cutting on me and it’s likely that they’d start cutting and just find MORE, so… it’s back to chemo. Not because they think there will be remission, but because it may slow the progression of the disease and buy me some more time to enjoy life. Not that life is all that enjoyable when you’re doing chemo! It’s kind of a vicious circle, a Catch 22.

How much time? I’m sure that most people would have asked that question by now. I haven’t. And they haven’t offered me a timeline yet. Really, the statistics on death are staggering – one out of one. We’re all gonna buy the farm eventually unless we’re still alive when Jesus comes back.

I’m currently looking into disability. I tire out really easily and working is just getting to be too much. My doctors are all kind of shocked that I’ve been working at all up to this point. Some days I work from home. Other days I go the office. I love my job. I love the company I work for and I love the people I work with, who are all my friends AND neighbors. This is why I’ve kept it up as long as I have. But I’m running out of steam now and need to decide how I want to expend the energy that I do have. I want more than anything to just press into God’s word and listen to what He wants me to do. Cancer has given me a unique platform to spread the Gospel. I have joy in that. I have peace in that. I have never felt more spiritually ALIVE.

My husband is on the same page as I am. He’s in total support of whatever I want to do and contrary to what some might think, he will be FINE when this is over. Right now he works full time and takes care of all the stuff that I can’t manage anymore, a lot of which is housework and shopping and cooking. He’s been tremendous and I know at the end of the week he’s more ready for his Sabbath rest than most. His faith is stronger than ever and he’s right there in the trenches with me every step of the way.

I have amazing friends in the neighborhood who help me, too. One makes me dinners – homemade soups and other wonderful things that I can eat even with my diminishing appetite. Another is going to start helping me a few hours a week by taking some of the housework duties over. Another works at the pharmacy I use and delivers all my prescription on her way home from work and helps me navigate any insurance issues with meds. I have neighbors who have been through cancer and chemo and GET IT, and that’s priceless to me. Another neighbor who is retired comes over and walks my dogs on days when my husband isn’t working in the neighborhood. There are other friends who make the time to take me to appointments when I don’t feel like I can drive myself.

I AM SO BLESSED I don’t even have the words to explain it fully.

I have two books in the works that I hope to finish. One is a darkly humorous autobiography called Deconstructing Tracy. I feel almost guilty about finishing that one because it was supposed too be FUNNY – because LIFE IS FUNNY – but now the ending is gonna be a bummer. The other is the fourth book in the paranormal series I have called Cast Down. My brain fog gets in the way some days. It’s been a while since I’ve even written a blog post, so I don’t know if I will finish them or not but I will absolutely try.

I want to be cremated. I don’t want anyone looking at me when I can’t look back. Traditional “wakes” creep me out. I want a memorial service and I want to plan it myself. Yeah, I’m a little bit of a control freak. I am picking out the pictures I want to have for the slideshow. I’m picking out the music. Music will include songs like Amazing Grace, Abide with Me, It is Well with My Soul…. other selections include Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here. Heaven can Wait by Meatloaf. Comfortably Numb. Jesus Take the Wheel.

My plan is to do my own eulogy. I will call it a “Me-logy”. There will be party games, all of which I will be hosting via video. I don’t want anyone crying. I have already pre-assigned someone to slap anyone who cries. I have had THE MOST fulfilling life. I’ve had adventures and love and friends and blessings beyond measure. I want people to LAUGH and feel the joy that I feel even now. I want them to get even just a TASTE of the faith that completely envelopes me now. Even during the times when I’m feeling sick or have discomfort that I know will only get worse I can still feel the pure love of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is with me all the time. God has put me in the perfect place to endure this.

My days of traveling are probably about up. I tire out pretty easily. If it’s outside of the Carolinas I’m probably not going to be able to do it. We’re knocking down the wall between our living room and our guest room to make the living room HUGE. I’m getting a big, cushy sectional. I want friends and family to just be able to come hang out without the restrictions of a small single-wide living room. If they want to crash here, that’s cool too, it’s gonna be a great sectional, and we have an air mattress.

I’m blessed to have this time to plan, to get all my ducks in a row, to put the cars that are in my name in Marty’s name, to tie up loose ends, to make peace with people I need to make peace with. Some people just get hit by a bus and leave all kinds of unfinished business. I guess I feel worst for my dog who won’t understand why I’m not here anymore. At least my family and friends KNOW.

I’m thinking that the memorial service should include a big jar of ping pong balls with numbers on them. Each guest will pick up a ping pong ball which will have a number on it. The number will correspond to a list of assignments like…. Do an interpretive dance! Or SING something or a challenge to tell the funniest memory we have together. I want a CELEBRATION! And I want that Me-logy to go VIRAL!

3 thoughts on “Stage Four

  1. I adore you and the manner in which your Faith and Beliefs have made you who you are from who you once were. You truly are Blessed and have been a Blessing to so many others. You are a Blessing to me and I pray that the feeling is mutual. I’ll be back in NC soon and will come visit with Michelle and Betty. I’m always willing to help with the 📚. Please let me. Marty will be fine because you’ve shown him the path and God will keep it lit for him. What a wild ride you’ve held the ticket to! Sharpen your spurs and keep on kicking! Yeehaw!

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  2. Tracy, I’m reading this dying inside…. Not because you’re writing about the “end stage of your life” because the connection I feel to you is so deeply real yet we never have met in person, I truly love you from our first time meeting from “Facebook” I knew The Lord definitely was the reason…. I’ve always admired your “spunky personality” yet the biggest thing was your truthfulness about life, reality, I thought yes we share the same name, my first name “Tracey” yours “Tracy” and “Petry” both of us married one.. neither related, yet both of us from Connecticut…. I went to “Maine” you “Carolina” yet here The Lord still wanted us connected…. His ways are the most beautiful ways, once we really understand His purpose for our lives… You have encouraged myself and loved my Furbabies just as much as I have, thank you from every inch of my “Heart and soul” for every beautiful words and love that you have shown to myself.. My hat is off to you for your finally “Stage” as I always said I would do they same for myself…. I wouldn’t want you’re “final curtain call” any other way” my days will be filled with prayers for Marty and You and your Furbabies, I will be sad not seeing or reading your “Post” yet extremely happy knowing you’re be enjoying your new body in “Paradise” and more importantly knowing “We all with have a beautiful Angel looking over us all” thank you my beautiful friend for loving The Lord and knowing His will for your life.. “I love you my beautiful sister in Christ” until we meet at that beautiful table in His kingdom you’re sister and friend Tracey Petry🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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