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.
Contact Tracie

Home To A New Life

I’m trying to type this with sausage-like fingers. Apparently swelling is a byproduct of a bilateral mastectomy. My arms and hands are fat, but not with lymphodemia. Just routine fluid retention.

We got home last night at about 8:30. When the folks at Stanford said I had progressed enough by 3 p.m. to be discharged, we were ready to go.

It’s weird how hospitals aren’t quite set up to deal with what ails me. From last time when I was in the throes of chemo and sensitive to smell yet housed with people with colon problems, to this time when moving caused excruciating pain and they couldn’t figure out how to turn off the bed that constantly adjusts its air mattress to prevent bed sores. I’m sure I was not a bed sore candidate in a 23-hour hospital stay. And yet, the damned bed kept inflating and deflating, forcing me to reach for the diladid button. The worst was the air cushion behind my back that, when it filled, caused my chest to thrust out. I demanded a different bed after that one inflated.

Last night I slept sitting up in my own bed, which was great, and was able to get by with just half a tablet of percocet. I haven’t taken anything since. I slept propped up with pillows and with one of those neck pillows one uses on airplanes supporting my head. I actually slept well.

My chest is bound with a mauve-colored corset holding my chest bandages in place. It also immobilizes the four drainage tubes that help reduce swelling.

I thought the bandages would make it more difficult to tell that something is missing. But I can tell. I’m definitely flat-chested where my breasts once were. I cry occasionally, but I think it’s in frustration. I’m frustrated that breast cancer somehow escaped me until it got to the point where I had to go through all of this. And I’m not done yet.

But for now I will wait for the physical pain to subside and the draining to stop. I go back on the 28th to find out the result of the tests on the six lymph nodes Dr. Dirbas took from my armpit and upper arm. Was the cancer there, too? How far had it traveled? What does it mean?

Until then I will focus on the positive. My cancerous breast is gone. The lymph nodes, too. Perhaps those are the only places the cancer had traveled.

So maybe, after all of this, today I am cancer free!

5 Responses to “Home To A New Life”

  • Bryan:

    Be strong Warrior Tracie. Wednesday and Thursday promised to be the scariest of it and now it’s Friday… You are already healthier and soon you will be without pain. The details will sort themselves out in due time but until then you deserve some time to kick back, smug smile on your face, and enjoy the knowledge that you’ve survived the worst that will be thrown at you. My biggest hope is that when you return to Stanford next week they can replace that corset with something orange and black.

    Big love “sis”,

  • Alejandro:

    An orange-and-black corset is what *I* would order… I believe that your positive energy and attitude did not allow those rough cells to thrive. IOW, I believe you are now cancer free.


  • Lynn Arthur:

    I am sending love and light to you and I am so proud of you for the positive attitude.. See yourself surrounded with white healing light all around you. Imagine that white light is entering your body and clearing all of the swelling and pain. Call me as soon as you feel like having a treatment. I will be there. Love you. Lynn

  • Kimberly Fields:

    Forget the orange and black…I can totally see in the entire Dominatrix set-up…black leather corsett and some assless chaps baby!

  • I like this information and it has given me some inspiration to have success, so thank you. =)

Leave a Reply

Meet Tracie
Copyright 2010 by Tracie Cone. All rights reserved.