The Climb


So I have this friend, such a kind, sweet, loving, friend. She and I met during chemo last summer and we totally kicked it off. I refer to her as my friend even today because she hasn’t left my side, she is still here. Her name is Tracie. She has a husband named David, he has a love for her that is so tremendous that you feel it from afar… She has children that are not only smart, but loving as well, always come together never stray from their parents. Very close nit family. Some families never have this bond. But Tracie has this. Debra, Jacob, Nikki. And lots of sisters. Whom ALL treasure her the same. So here is where the story changes, as I mentioned we met in chemo last summer…. bright eyed Tracie walks in, scared to death of having her port accessed so my favorite nurse Heidi says “Sit next to Leanna, she can cheer you up, and you will do just fine, I promise.”  So I started poking her arm, making monkey faces, singing “you are my sunshine” and by that time they were done and she was looking at her port like  OMG! “It’s in?! “I didn’t feel anything!”  Well, duh, I thought to myself… but we sat near each other each time we would have to have chemo, I loved her so much, she just cracked me up! We would share pics of our kids, show each other our scars, talk about life, and what we thought about our futures, what we wanted incase things were to “happen”… and we just clicked. 

I finished treatment in the end of June or the beginning of July, I can’t remember. But I do know she still had a heck of a climb to go, she had more chemo, radiation, and a mastectomy all of which we had discussed due to the fact I had already had a bilateral mastectomy in 2012. She was ill in October and I went and saw her in the hospital, then again in Feb of 2016… this was pneumonia, then again in March… Tracie begged me never to leave her as to only having so many that truly understood her, didn’t tease her, and really just loved and valued her friendship. I told her I would NEVER turn my back on her, I had no reason to. She was so undeniably amazing.  The type of friend who you could literally share anything with. Her mother called me and told me she was sick again, so I contacted Tracie and sure enough April this year 2016 she was placed in the hospital because her lungs had filled with fluid, and she was told she was now stage 4. In and out of the hospital in the same month, she was back, and she was ready to go home. Right after a night of celebration, of her kicking cancer right in the ass, she was wiped out. 

David listened to his wife scream in pain as he drove her right back to the hospital and she was placed on a vent, and some medication to keep her comfortable. And then I got the call that I wasn’t ready to hear, but completely understood. Tena, her sister said it was time to come. I drove to the hospital, walked in and held my heart, I was not prepared to see what I was seeing. It couldn’t be. But at the same time I knew she was tired. Our Dr. was explaining everything to the family which was incredibly hard, but it had to be said to prepare them. I couldn’t breathe, David was throwing chairs, he was broken. Her children were on their knees praying and asking God to please let her transition peacefully.  And I stayed with them all for about two hours. And had to leave, my daughter had to go to work. But at 4:17am May 2,2016 my phone rang and my heartbeat was very fast, I knew what it was… Nikki called and said that her mother had passed and to come be with them for prayer and she would only be there until 7am. I got up right away, drove to the hospital and held her hand, sang “You are my Sunshine” to her and prayed, and then I left after I kissed her cheek and forehead. Tracie Lynn Applegate, you are forever with me, in my heart, in memories, and in the sky. All I have to do is look up and I see you. I feel your presence when I am afraid of my own cancer. You make me feel better, you give me strength, and hope. And I will forever love you, and value YOU. But your climb is now done. You are home, with the Lord, who you knew you were ready to be with. Watch over us, as we know you will. 

You did climb, and you battled and you are FREE.

      ” There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb”                                                                                       


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