Tracie Cone has always been a trailblazer. This award-winning journalist is the former California Newspaper Executive of the Year. She shares a Pulitzer Prize with fellow staff members at the Miami Herald for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and has twice been nominated individually. She has focused her writing on helping the underdog and empowering those without a strong voice of their own. Now she takes us on the fight of her life.
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I’ve had a few days to ponder my current state of breastlessness. It’s not nearly long enough.

I know it’s not the worst thing that ever happened to someone, but it is the worst thing that has happened to me.

I have stared at my wounds only once – the day I got home from having my tubes and corset removed. I stood in front of the full-length mirror in our bedroom and pondered the road that has led me to this having this gnarly, concaved chest. Not even breastless, but less than breastless.

I couldn’t sleep that night.

Now I try to catch only glimpses as I change clothes so that I can adjust to the new me more slowly.

Sometimes I feel a stab of pain and grab the place where I felt it coming from. The placed where my right breast had been. Phantom pain is real – and it hurts.

The bilateral mastectomy awakened me to the reality that until now, I have stumbled along in my chemo stupor thinking that I might wake up one day and my nightmare would be over. It was all a bad dream – all of the nausea and worry, the ER visits and hospital stays, and especially the breast cancer diagnosis.

The gaping wounds on my chest held together with steri-strips are now my harsh reality.

It wasn’t a dream. There is no going back.

3 Responses to “Breastless”

  • Lee Q:


    Another way of looking at it is that this is the BEST thing that has happened to you. It has removed the thing that was killing your body and it has removed the natural environment where that same killer could have flourished — at your peril. There’s no way that I can clearly understand how the loss of a woman’s breasts can affect her; but I do know that parts of our bodies that harbor murderous cells can and should be removed if possible.

    Love from southern California
    Lee and Chris Q

  • Beth:

    I know it is hard to accept. What you are seeing now is not the final outcome. Remember you still have reconstruction. I have never seen reconstructed breasts, but it may help if you ask your Doctor to see some pictures of before reconstruction and after. I know it may be no consolation to you but I really praise The Lord for his mercies and for your life. I am in no way in your shoes but I am so thankful that he chose to make a way so that your life could be saved. When we get together hopefully at Christmas, I will be so joyful to see you and love you, and the fact that you had to lose your breasts will in no way compare to seeing you, hugging you, and having you close to me. I pray that with time and prayer that The Lord will help you to deal with your loss. I am sorry for your loss, but glad I am not grieving your life. You are a wonderful person and I want you in my life for a long time. Stay strong! I am praying for you.

  • Steve Poston:


    I don’t know what to say! You are such a fighter and an inspiration to all!! I wish you the absolute best!
    Best wishes from Mom and me. Tell your Mom to call Lil and say Hi!!

    Love Ya

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