Triggers, Struggles and Real Strength – For My Sister Tracey

lisa tracy ball gameI struggled with something a couple of years ago that was, for me, extremely difficult.  It was kind of like a broken bone.  Something broke and I didn’t have time to fix it, I just had to come up with a makeshift sling and keep going.  Life wasn’t going to wait for me to heal properly, it kept going.

Triggers are a funny thing – you never know what they could be or when they might be pulled.  Recently I had a trigger and *BOOM* I heard that bone break again.  But this time I realized that I never properly set it and it was time to face it, accept it and let it go.

Needless to say this put me in a bit of a foul mood, and a bit of a woe-is-me funk.  But with one Facebook post comprised of six little words one of my dearest friends, Tracey, kicked me in the head:

“9 years cancer free and counting!!”

And in response the little voice in my head told me “Suck it up cupcake – that my friend is real strength.  This should have been your only post on your blog today – get to writing!”

Let me tell you about my friend Tracey.  First – I consider her to be like a sister and the sarcasm is hereditary.  She’s the quiet one, we both think it, we both say it – but I say it a bit louder.

She is intelligent, beautiful, funny, quirky, sassy, a lead foot, kind, compassionate, empathetic, mouthy, a hidden pool shark and a cancer survivor.

But what makes her story remarkable is not just the surviving, the absolute kick-ass fighting that she did to beat it.  If you think your life is hard or things are tough think of her circumstances and let it be an inspiration to you, as it is to me, that the human spirit is always stronger.

She didn’t just battle cancer.  She didn’t have the support system, she didn’t have the time to rest and recuperate and she didn’t have time to feel sorry for herself.

She was going through diagnostics and treatment while going through a divorce, working full time and raising three young kids on her own; emotionally, financially and physically a single mother.

She would take a half day Thursdays to prepare for treatment and have her chemo on Fridays then back to work on Monday she went.  Not before making sure her kids were taken care of and taking them to schools and sitters Monday morning.

She didn’t stop, she didn’t whine, she didn’t ask “why me.” She just did.  She didn’t settle, she didn’t back down and she didn’t compromise anything in taking care of herself and her family.

That was nine years ago.

Today she is still a single mom with three great kids who adore and respect her as a woman and a mother.  She is loved and cherished by her friends for her gift of friendship, positive outlook and terrific humor.

She is very modest and it we have to take about 15 pictures together to get one that she is just okay with for me to post to Facebook.  I was looking for a picture to use and I could hear her in my head saying, “I don’t like that one, eww I look horrible in that one, no you can’t use that one…”

She’s kind of a pain in the butt that way.  That is why I tell her often that she is beautiful.  Her beauty is on the inside and outside and reaches out to those around her to make them feel brighter when they are around her.

This is also my sister that you do not want to tick off.  She learned through the entire process her value, her worth, her strength and an appreciation for life.  Treat her disrespectfully and she is done.  She knows what she is worth and what she deserves and she is not going to settle for anything less.

That to me is one of her most admirable qualities.  Too often we make excuses for others and allow for things that we really don’t want to because we are actually being disrespectful of ourselves.  We are afraid of standing up for ourselves, afraid of saying out loud, “I deserve better.”

Here’s the catch with that – if you want better and deserve better than you darn well better act like you deserve it.  Don’t go into work and give it a half-effort then expect full credibility.  Don’t allow someone to treat you as a second thought and expect to be an important part of their life.

It doesn’t work that way.

Work hard, go after what you want, cut loose those that don’t make the time for you, value those that are an active, supporting part of your life and for goodness sakes be grateful for what you have right now.

In one doctor visit you could hear those words that change your world forever.  Would you be strong enough to go through that battle alone, as the sole emotional, financial and physical support for three small children, going to work every day and giving it 100% and still be thankful at the end of the day?

I hope you never have to answer that question.

So I was being a whiney this morning but my friend in six words helped get my head out of my butt, stop and give thanks right there and then for not only my life but more importantly the gift of those that chose to be a part of my life.

I often write blogs and get responses from people about how they feel I spoke directly to them and thanking me for giving them a reality check.  Today my dear friend and sister gave me the reality check.

Thank you, Tracey, for being my friend.  Thank you for your inspiration, love, support, kindness, humor, schooling in pool, a shoulder to cry on, letting me be an ear to listen and most importantly reminding me that how you live your life is your choice.  You are an angle on this earth – until you get behind the wheel, then you are a little speed devil.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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