Tracy Battaglia

First post: Jun 5, 2018 Latest post: May 13, 2019
Dear Cancer,

It’s been almost 28 years to the day since we met. Your first disguise was Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was 20 years old, healthy, unsuspecting – and naïve to the world of medicine. You gave me much more than you took. Yes, a year of my life was consumed with uncertainty, mostly chemotherapy, a bald head and endless days in the hospital with neutropenic fever. But in return I got an exuberant appreciation for life, health and family that gave me purpose. You were responsible for lighting the fire in my soul to make every day count, set goals beyond my reach and have the courage to actually achieve them. And thanks to you the next 28 years were a remarkable gift. I had my health and the courage to build my beautiful family and a career in medicine ensuring others have the same opportunity as I for a good outcome. But, Cancer you have humbled me once again. Despite all my medical degrees and professional status in the field of cancer prevention, you chose me again. This time in the form of Stage 1 Breast Cancer, ERneg, PRneg, Her2pos. Seriously, of all the things…. I had forgotten the fear you bring with you. Fear of the unknown (or in this case the known), fear of failure, fear of not reaching the goals I still have set for today, tomorrow and forever. But I also forgot how that fear is the very fuel that gave me the gifts that now define me. You, Cancer don’t define me. The choices I make in how I face you and the fear you bring, that defines me. And I choose courage over fear. In closing, Cancer, I want to be sure it’s clear, I despise you and everything your represent – I resent you for what you are doing to me, my family and millions of other beautiful human beings. However, I also want to thank you Cancer – thank you for giving me pause in life to appreciate what matters, thank you for giving me courage to be the best person I can be, and thank you for the opportunity to kick your ass, again!

With deep respect and gratitude,