Stories of Hope

Spoiler Alert: She Lives

Spoiler Alert: She Lives

An Update From Tracy, a 20-Year Metastatic Breast Cancer Survivor

Last year, Tracy touched many hearts and lives when she shared her first “true confessions” with us, offering encouragement and advice after living and parenting with metastatic breast cancer for over 18 years. From being diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer in 2001 to Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in 2003, Tracy will mark 20 years with metastatic breast cancer on November 4, 2023.

This year, Tracy has kindly agreed to share more of the wit and wisdom gained from her breast cancer journey as she prepares for her 20-year “breast cancer thriver” milestone. She shares advice to survivors and thrivers who are moving cities, adapting to a new routine, or preparing for a future filled with hope and new possibilities.

Watch Tracy’s full video update above.

Connect with your community

Community is critical, particularly for those facing cancer. Tracy encourages everyone with breast cancer, even those who are reluctant or who want to take some time for themselves initially, to join a support group.

To foster community in her own life and journey, Tracy joined a support group early in her breast cancer journey and continues to share her experience and support with others. She says she shares her story as a way to give others hope, because “hope can extend your life.” “You just need to [join a support group]. It’s for your health, for your well-being,” she says. “I have realized what a blessing it is to be around other survivors. Now that I’ve been a long-time survivor, it’s still what I need.”

After a recent move from Dallas to Houston, Tracy dedicated herself to re-establishing a community, joining a meet-up group for empty nesters, meeting friends for Mahjong, and, after getting her new puppy—Lucille Ball, named for her red mane—Tracy now enjoys connecting with her neighbors who also have dogs.

Though Tracy is a new resident of Houston, she’s not a stranger to the Houston Metroplex. Tracy was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she lived in The Woodlands, about 40 miles north of Houston, almost 20 years ago. When she moved back to the Houston area, she even reconnected with her former hairstylist, who saw her through cancer treatments and hair loss. “He cut my hair and showed me how to spike it out so it would be fun and helped prepare the kids for no hair, so I immediately went back to him. I didn’t care if I had to drive an hour [to The Woodlands],” she said, noting that she has also had to find a new team of doctors.

While her kids, Trent and Taylor, are off to college, Tracy remains close with both of them. Tracy is also looking forward to a river cruise with her mom and sister as a “catalyst” for more family travel and adventure in the future.

“It doesn’t matter where you live; it’s the people you surround yourself with,” Tracy adds. “I could live in Alaska, and I’m sure it’s beautiful, but it’s all about the people you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who support you and lift you up. I think my biggest advice is to have a community around you.”

Find and follow your purpose

“I need a purpose,” Tracy shared. “My kids are gone, and I avoid laundry at all costs—I’d really rather be training my dog and taking her somewhere than doing laundry.” Tracy’s daughter, Taylor, recently even told her that she was sending too many selfies from the couch and that she needed to get out more.

To that end, Tracy loves volunteering with NBCF and other organizations where she can share her time, experience, and compassion. She encourages others to get involved in their community as well: “Give back! I get so much reward out of giving back and from being open and sharing,” noted Tracy, who also regularly volunteers at CanCare in Houston, a one-on-one cancer support community.

Tracy even hopes that Lucille Ball (aka, Lucy) can eventually serve as a therapy or support dog, bringing joy to those in hospitals, schools, or foster care centers. To reach this goal, her star pupil recently graduated from the local “Believe in Dog” intermediate training.

Tracy is also continuing to find herself: “The whole time I lived in Houston, I was ‘Tracy with cancer.’ Everyone knew that I had cancer. So, when I moved to Dallas, nobody knew, and I could just be Tracy again.”

And always have a sense of humor

Hope, faith, connection, and a sense of humor helped Tracy navigate breast cancer treatment when her kids were young, and she still returns to those pillars today.

Presently, Tracy is working on a memoir of her story, and she initially considered calling it, “What the…?” in honor of her son’s former favorite catchphrase and her overall feelings about being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

But now she’s thinking of calling it, “Spoiler Alert: She Lives.”

Just like other breast cancer types and stages, experience and overall prognosis with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are unique to each individual. To learn more about Stage 4 breast cancer, click here.

National Breast Cancer Foundation is here for you and your loved ones. Whether you need support, education, or help during treatment, we have a team dedicated to getting you the help you deserve.

Publish Date: September 7, 2023


  1. My mother recently was diagnosed with MBC, she’s in Texas and I’m looking for a second opinion for treatment. Would you recommend and provide your Doctor’s information in Houston.

  2. I was diagnosed with denovo stage 4 ER pos breast cancer with bone mets September 27 2019. It since has also metastasized to my omentum but for at least the past year I’ve been stable on Kisqali etc. I’m very fortunate to still be alive and I find her story very encouraging!

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