I met Tracy when I was 10. She was 12. We’ve been friends for over 30 years. Best friends. The kind of friend you have the unspoken thing with.. you know – when they say ‘Oh I saw thingy the other day..’ And you know exactly who ‘thingy’ is?
|She’s sitting on my knee. Midget.|
We know things about each other that no-one else knows. Or needs to know. When I got my first period. My first kiss. First boyfriends. Who we lost our virginity to – and where and when.
We went to our first gig together – Adam & the Ants, Deeside Leisure Centre, January 1981. Spent every Thursday night watching TOTP and Fame and then recreating every song in the street outside my Mum’s house in our ra-ra skirts and legwarmers.
She was a stubborn cow as a teenager. She once fell out with me because I went to the chip shop without her. She still defends herself with ‘You were gone AGES!!’.
She was outwardly much tougher than me. She’d offer anyone ‘out’ if they dissed her, her family or her mates – which is great until you’re standing next to her while she faces off a group of 10 girls outside the Co-op saying ‘We’ll take all of you!’ – only to turn around and see me legging it down the street. ‘Caz you’re such a wimp!’
We met our husbands 6 months apart. We both knew the other had found ‘the one’ just by the way we spoke about them. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. She was a witness at my wedding. We’re Godmothers to each others kids. 6 between us – not bad going.
Tracy changed when she had her boys. Her hard side fell away and she turned into an Earth Mother. A breastfeeding machine, making their food from scratch and leaving them wanting for nothing. Her boys are everything to her.
When I called her earlier this year and she said ‘I’ve got some news.’ – I could tell by her voice it wasn’t something good.
‘I’ve got breast cancer.‘
There really is nothing to prepare you to hear those words from someone you love. Someone who is so integral to the fabric of your life that everything stops. Everything.
I promptly burst into tears to the point that she comforted me. And when that didn’t work she put her husband on the phone with ‘will you tell her I’m fine!’
The details are her story to tell but suffice to say she had found a lump, it was confirmed malignant and she needed chemotherapy, an operation and then radiotherapy.
She didn’t want anyone to know.
She didn’t want people coming up to her when she was with her boys and talking to her as if she was about to drop dead.
She didn’t want to be treated differently.
She didn’t want me calling all the time and saying ‘How are you?’.
She was adamant that this was just something she was going to work through. A process. It was not going to define her or change her or more importantly – her family’s life anymore than it had to.
She bought a wig that matched her own hair as closely as possible.
She went about her life.
She had the operation without taking one painkiller afterwards.
She has been given the all-clear.
Her hair is growing back – albeit fine, baby-like hair. She tried to dye it back to her usual blonde – it went orange. We laughed. We both know she doesn’t care about her hair.
She’s still here.
That’s what matters.
She kicked the cancer’s arse.
My best mate is hardcore.
She’s always been a stubborn cow.
On 12th May next year, Tracy and I are doing the Moonwalk in London. Our team name is Little and Large. It’s what we’ve been called for over 30 years. I hope to have at least another 30 by her side.
Our supporters page is here. If you would consider sponsoring us it would be much appreciated. We promise pictures of the event afterwards – complete with inappropriate boobage.
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