Family copes with mother’s cancer, father’s death
By Holly Neumann
For Tracie Carrick and her family, life has not been easy.
In fact as time goes on, their troubles seem to multiply.
In January 2015, Carrick was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I went in for a routine mammogram,” she said. “The radiologist immediately wanted to do an ultrasound as he did not like what he saw. He performed a biopsy that same day. On January 5th, I got the news I feared most – it was cancer.”
Later that month Carrick had a double mastectomy.
“After my surgery, we met with the Oncology Department and received more bad news,” she said. “The cancer had also spread to my lymph nodes. My doctor proclaimed we needed to start chemotherapy as soon as possible.”
Chemotherapy took its toll on Carrick, causing her to lose her hair and suffer from depression.
To further complicate her health, Carrick suffers from limited scleroderma, a disease that causes calcification of tissue within the body, ruling out radiation as a treatment.
According to Carrrick, countless people told her that cancer makes you stronger.
“I thought to myself, how can losing your breasts, vomiting 24/7 and losing your hair make you stronger?” she said. “I thought they were crazy. I now know it is true. You find strength you thought you never had.”
In early July Carrick finished her last chemotherapy treatment.
“I cannot tell you how great that day felt. However, I simply was not out of the woods yet,” she said.
She found herself back in the hospital on July 13, following a rollover car accident.
“I was on the way to the hospital for a CT scan at St. Elizabeth Hospital,” she said. “My vehicle was totaled and I was transported to the hospital by ambulance. I luckily walked away with no injuries.”
It was there, that she learned that there were no signs on cancer.
Reconstructive surgery took place in August and again in October.
Due to the fact that her cancer is 100 percent estrogen fed, she will also faces complete hysterectomy in December.
“I hope and pray that this will end my year of doctor visits and I can begin 2016 with a clean bill of health,” she said.
More than anything Carrick wants to bring awareness to others.
“Women, get out there and get your mammograms. I know the process is not always pleasant, but it is life saving,” she said. “The advancement in our screening and medicines has made it possible for people to beat our cancers. I hope and pray that I am able to help someone else the way I have been helped.”
Carrick credits her family and friends for being by her side.
“My family, friends, faith and even strangers have gotten me through the tough days,” she said. “Words really cannot say enough for all the support that was shown to me.”
Sadly Carrick’s story does not end here.
Her husband Randy passed away from a massive brain aneurysm on Oct. 7.
The teary-eyed widow recalls the day he passed away.
“I came home and Randy was already in bed. He told me he had a bad headache and that he took some Tylenol,” she said. “I was holding him and putting a cool wash cloth on his head. All of a sudden he started having a seizure, he couldn’t talk anymore and he started violently throwing up.”
According to Carrick, Randy was first taken by ambulance to the hospital in Waupaca, and then to Theda Clark, where she was told by a neurosurgeon there was nothing they could do.
“He died on our 20th wedding anniversary. I don’t know how much more I can take,” she said. “My plate is full beyond full and now Randy is taken away also. I don’t know how I can move forward without him. He did everything. I haven’t a clue how to do any of it. I don’t even know where to begin.”
Carrick has four children; Adam, 28 is married and living on his own, while Hunter, 18, Noah, 16, and Kasandra, 14, are still living at home.
“My kids have watched all I have gone through with my cancer treatments and now they lost their father too, it’s just not fair,” she said.
With no life insurance Carrick is afraid for what their future holds.
“I have a mortgage and a car payment,” she said. “I don’t even know how I am going to be able to give my kids Christmas. Essentially, we have hit rock bottom and I don’t know where the money is going to come from.”
She noted that a recent benefit was held for her, but that the funds raised had to be used to pay for Randy’s funeral.
“My medical debt is adding up,” she said. “I could not even afford a headstone for Randy.”
She went on to say that the family lived from paycheck to paycheck.
“We have worked hard for everything we have and I would hate to lose it all,” she said. “I am drowning and I don’t know how I am going to get out. My kids are depending on me.”
Carrick is scrambling to find help.
“I keep thinking I can do this, but now I am not sure I have that strength anymore,” she said. “All I have left is to pray to God, I cannot do this on my own.”
A gofundme account has been set up to assist the family. Anyone wishing to help can do so by visiting gofundme.com/6w6eu954. Donations can also be mailed to Tracie Carrick, E2554 Silver Lake Road, Scandinavia, WI 54977 or by calling 715-445-4459, 715-572-3609 or 715-321-3610.
“I will be forever grateful for any help I get,” she said.