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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Thinking Ahead To My Double Take

Less than a week from now I will be without my breasts – the one that tried to kill me, and the one that is guilty only by association.

How does that make me feel, people ask? More importantly, I ask myself, how will I feel when the time actually arrives next Wednesday morning? Because I don’t know for sure, Michelle and I want to be alone at the hospital to sort out our feelings.

So far I feel pretty matter-of-fact about the pending double. I’ve thought about it a lot and know it’s one more thing I need to do to live. I don’t want to minimize it or whatever feelings I might have, but neither do I want to make it a bigger ordeal than it needs to be.

One has to go. The other is my choice. I fear breast cancer, for sure. But there is also something comforting in symmetry and in not having a single breast left to worry about and subject to annual mammograms.

The operation will be painful. In addition to the breasts I’ll loose some lymph nodes in my right arm. They’ll go through the incision in my chest to reach them. My surgeon tells me that wound will hurt the most.

For two weeks I can’t do much, but in six I should be healed. Somewhere in between I’ll start radiation.

When I start to worry about my pending loss, something arises to grant me perspective.

This week when I was in pre-op waiting to have my port fixed, I was in a bed near a man who had only half a face. I was reminded again that cancer is hideous and indiscriminate.

Losing breasts seems easier by comparison. It’s a decision I can LIVE with.

4 Responses to “Thinking Ahead To My Double Take”

  • Marian:

    Dear Tracie, Pat called and said I must read this news and just did and am elated. I can imagine how it must feel to hear the doctor tell you something positive.

    You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t see your face and send you all the love I can.


  • Kim Williams:

    Love you.

  • Michelle Johnson:

    Every time I read one of your posts, I am just overwhelmed by how brave you are. Good luck next week. I will be thinking about you.

  • Claire Jinksa:

    Hi Tracie.. We met a long time ago. Today I had an e-mail from a mutual friend, Mary Voboral, who told me about your blog and your upcoming operation. I wanted to wish you well and give you a little bit of non-medical advice. Wear something that buttons or zippers up the front so, when you are leaving the hospital, you don’t have to hold up your arms to pull something over your head. It doesn’t feel good. I had a double mastectomy 15 years ago and, so far, so good. Larry joins me in wishing the very best for you and a swift recovery….claire

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