The world could use more hope these days. For Tracy Simpson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer just under three months ago, her hope comes from knowing there will be a day she gets to hold her one-year-old granddaughter once again.
“To get my body to heal, I can’t pick her up,” she said through tear-filled eyes, “and it’s killing me to not be able to hold her and play with her. She’s definitely the driving force.”
She said she hopes her story of battling breast cancer speaks to several others.
“A strong second hope is for other women to get their mammograms,” she said. “If you’re diagnosed, know it’s not the end.”
When she found out it was cancer on Thursday, July 23, 2020, she said time stood still.
“It was an out-of-body experience,” she said. “It was like I’m talking about it and telling you I have cancer, but it doesn’t feel like I’m talking about myself. I mean, ‘There’s cancer inside me?’”
Through tears, Simpson said telling her family it’s cancer was the hardest part.
“What’s amazed me the most is, first of all, their faith and their strength in supporting me,” she said, wiping tears away. “They were strong and I was so very proud of that. It’s made it a little easier; if you can even say that.”
Seth Spangler, one of Simpson’s sons, said he will not forget the day she told him.
“My heart felt like it went on pause,” Seth said. “It was definitely something you never thought would happen to someone you love. I never blamed God, because he had a reason for her, but I did pray and wished it was me that had it. She has handled the situation very, very well.
“There were days and nights that were rough but nothing she couldn’t handle. If there is something that she needs to know is that she will never fight alone, and her battle is my battle; and I love her, and she is the strongest woman I know.”
Zachary Spangler, Simpson’s other son, said, “it sucked,” when he found out about her battle.
“But I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that she couldn’t beat it,” Zachary said. “She has her moments, just like anyone would, going through this situation; but she’s still as feisty as ever. We love you and are so proud of the strength you’ve shown throughout all this.”
“We know you’ve got it!”
Simpson said knowing others who have experienced and overcame what she’s going through has also helped her through this battle.
“Just, ‘hey you might wanna watch for this’ or ‘that’ helps tremendously,” she said. “Every little thing helps tremendously. There’s nothing insignificant that anyone could say.”
Simpson said it is difficult to describe the support she has received from her church family.
“That helps a lot,” she said, “to have a strong church family that helps you and supports you. It’s the prayers that mean the most to us, but they have been more than incredible.”
As the Prairiland ISD computer science/career investigation teacher, Simpson said her colleagues are supportive during her battle.
“Thoughts and prayers are what means most to us,” Simpson said. “I’ve had a great outpouring of support from my school colleagues. That includes teachers, students, administration, all the above.”
Simpson found out after having a routine mammogram check-up, which she advocates for.
“That’s the whole point,” she said. “I know it sounds cliche because everyone says it, but it’s true – you have to get your mammogram. You have to get it every year like the doctor says because you never know.”
Since the diagnosis, Simpson said women have told her they had their mammogram.
“‘I called it off, but because of you, I had my mammogram,’” she said quoting the other women. “Even when you’re scared, you can’t put it off. Early detection is absolutely the key.”
Simpson will go through chemotherapy soon.
“Hopefully within the coming weeks,” she said, “but I’ll only have to take chemo once every three weeks for four treatments. So that’s not bad.”
Simpson is fighting this battle optimistically, saying, “but you know, it’s ok. We’re good. Everything is good.”
The day she’s told “cancer-free” Simpson said she will be thankful.
“Thank you Jesus,” Simpson said. “He’s number one, and there have been times where it’s like clinging to him for dear life when you have those days. But there haven’t been very many of those days. But thank you, Jesus.”
Photo: (Trent Reed/MyParisTexas.com) Tracy Simpson, left, stands with her husband, Michael Simpson, at their home.
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