When I'm Gone

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I cried again today. Last month when the results to a few routine exams came back-I cried for the first time in thirty-something odd years. I had scheduled my usual six-month checkup with Dr. Conway for the thirteenth of May. And seeing as though I was never one to fall ill I went in that day expecting nothing, but a routine examination.

"Traci," Dr. Conway said when he re-entered the examining room. "I have some news."

"News?" I said shocked that there could be any significant development concerning my unusually good health.

"Yes, Traci news. As you know, today I ordered for you to have some blood work taken."

"Yes. Is there something wrong doctor?"

"Well Traci, I'm afraid that your test results showed that there are a number of your cells that are multiplying uncontrollably, which are destroying your healthy tissue."

"I'm not sure I quite understand what you're getting at doctor."

"Traci, you have a malignant tumor."

"A tumor? But how?"

"We're not sure just yet, but we're going to…"

"Wait," I said, interrupting him. "What exactly does 'malignant' mean?"

"Well, Traci…"

"What does it mean?"

"It means that more than likely the tumor that is invading the tissue around it may spread to other parts of the body."

"Which would mean?"

"It's liable to cause death or serious disablement unless effectively treated."

"So then it's treatable?"

"Yes, but I'll need to run some more tests to rule out the different forms."

"Such as?"

"Such as sarcomas, carcinomas, leukemia's, or lymphomas. So just try and relax until we have a better idea of what exactly we're dealing with."

That was four months ago. Today, I received a call notifying me that my cancer had reached the level of stage four. This phone call had informed me that all of the treatments I had undergone, all of the medications had been completely useless.

And now my only other option was to seek out a hospice care program that would focus on my well-being rather than a cure. An option that included home visits by professionals such as nurses and clergy who would further provide me with drugs for pain management and spiritual counseling. My only other option-to die.

I can remember when I had everything: fortune, fame, love. All within just inches of my grasp. God, how I reveled in knowing that my opinion was the deciding factor. At how my face was the only face that mattered, and how my heart was the only heart worth trying for. But that was back when I was known as Traci Carroll-world famous supermodel; those days had all but come and gone. But out of all of the moments in my heyday, most of all I remembered Adam.

As I looked in the large, dark blue footlocker I kept in the bottom of my walk-in closet I picked up an old photograph of a particularly handsome young man who was holding a camera. Adam Reid, a well-liked photographer who had at one point in time been my long-term, live-in boyfriend; my partner. The great love of my life. As I looked at the picture, I could suddenly remember it all as if it were merely yesterday.

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