Tracy Nelson, Ricky Nelson’s Daughter, Dreamt Of Her Father Before Getting Cancer Diagnosis

Tracy Nelson, Ricky Nelson’s Daughter, Dreamt Of Her Father Before Getting Cancer Diagnosis

The dream prompted her to go see a doctor, following which she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Tracy Nelson was born in Santa Monica, California, in 1963 into a famous family. The eldest of four girls, she is the daughter of the well-known singer-songwriter Ricky Nelson and his wife, Kristin Harmon. 

Tracy was talented from an early age, appearing in the famous movie Yours, Mine, and Ours with luminaries like Lucille Ball before she was even five years old. She pursued a career in film after completing high school and a short period of college, securing a position in the industry, thanks to her successful performance in Square Pegs, reports Amomama.




The actress' life was tragically and dramatically altered when her father passed away at the age of only 45. He lost his life when an aircraft heater malfunctioned, causing the flight to catch fire and killing all of its occupants. The only survivors of the sad incident were the pilots. As the world conjectured that Tracy's father's freebase cocaine was the cause of the disaster, its effects were felt throughout Tracy's life. Adding to her distress, Tracy's uncle, actor Mark Harmon and his wife, the actress Pam Dawber, filed a petition to get custody of Tracy's brother, Sam, who was 13 at the time.

Harmon claimed that Sam's mother, Kristin, couldn't care for the teenager because she was too emotionally unstable due to her drug use. Even though the custody dispute frequently made the news, Harmon finally dropped the petition and things eventually went back to a semblance of how they used to be. Tracy said, "I would like Mark to teach Remi how to swim. Just as he taught me," per PEOPLE.




Tracy's struggles did not end there. In July 1987, around the time of her wedding with William R. Moses—her boyfriend of four years—Tracy began to sense something was wrong. She was constantly feeling sick and exhausted. Once the bags under her eyes started to form, not even the makeup artists on her Father Dowling Mysteries show could hide them. Then, in December 1987, a dream prompted Tracy to see a doctor. She recalled the dream, "My father called me on the phone and said, I know you miss me, but it's not time for you to die. You have to go see a doctor."

She was examined by medical professionals, and a tumor was found in her chest. The biopsy sample revealed stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma. Her spleen, a chunk of her liver, and some samples of her lymph nodes were removed during a seven-hour procedure the next week at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. 

The surgery left her with a 15-inch scar running from her pelvic region to her ribs. Tracy underwent two months of harsh chemotherapy treatments, which reduced her weight to 87 lbs., making her bald, weary, and hopeless. "I was like a human biology project," she said. "Chemotherapy takes five hours to administer through a catheter. It's the longest five hours of your life. It feels like you're being poisoned."




The couple feared that they wouldn't be able to have children but held out hope during chemotherapy and several radiation treatments. Despite some experts' assertions that being alive was already a privilege, the couple maintained that they had a good possibility of having children. Tracy didn't return to her full strength for over a year, and it took them over two years to learn they were pregnant.

A week after giving birth on August 11, 1992, Tracy began bleeding from her uterus unexpectedly. “I was sobbing. This is it. It has all been too good to be true. I’m going to die, and I’m never going to see my baby again,” she recalled.

Fortunately, medical professionals managed to stop the bleeding in time, and after another four days of therapy, she was able to return home permanently. Having put her ordeals behind her, Tracy now devotes her time and attention to her family. “I never thought I would love anyone as much as I love this baby,” said Tracy. “When I was sick for such a long time, I had one foot on the other side. When you get that close to dying, you think, 'Maybe I won’t be around very long.’ But I look at Remi and I think, ‘I’m here now. This is it. I’m dedicated to being here.’”




Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Charley Gallay