Meet Teri Trotter
I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 6, 2009. I was 37 with 2 children, ages 11 and 9. My treatment plan included a double mastectomy and 4 rounds of chemo. I decided to cut off my long hair before it started falling out and shaved my head the day it did. I was never comfortable in proper wigs. I felt that it looked like I was trying to be “normal.” In April of that year, my sister-in-law planned a girls’ night out for my birthday and I wore a pink wig. I felt free. No one pitied me. I was just having fun. I was not defined by my cancer. It was then that I realized that every breast cancer survivor should have a pink wig.
The Pink Wig stands for power – the power to LIVE YOUR LIFE and not let cancer rule.
My cancer journey continues. I received my 2nd breast cancer diagnosis on May 7, 2014. It all started at my regular 6 month check up with my oncologist. I always get nervous before these check-ups and this time was no different in that respect. I had felt a bump on the right side of my throat just above my collar bone a couple of weeks prior to this appointment but thought I felt the same bump on the left side so didn’t think much of it. On the day of my appointment I was scheduled to see the nurse practitioner and mentioned this bump to her so that she would check it out during my exam. I was shocked when she said it’s probably nothing but let’s have the doctor take a look. This is when the panic set in. My doctor came in and after just a few seconds of feeling around my neck he said we should have it biopsied. I was in complete shock but was trying to stay calm. We set the biopsy for the next week and I got the results on May 7. My lymph nodes tested positive for cancer. I received the call while I was in the car with Brad and had a complete melt down as soon as I hung up. I don’t think I had ever cried that hard before. This just couldn’t be happening. I had just had my 5 year cancer-free anniversary. I was supposed to be in the clear. It made no sense. I collected myself and went on a walk. I didn’t know what else to do. The weeks passed and I started chemo. We were going to be aggressive. I finished 10 treatments and we did some more testing. The cancer had spread to my bones but the chemo was working. My lymph nodes had shrunk to normal size and the cancer activity in my bones had decreased significantly. Great news! The doctor prescribed more chemo, coupled with 2 immunotherapy drugs, for my next step. I am in the middle of this round of treatments now and feeling good. I look forward to hearing that the chemo has knocked this crap out – again!
I have been rocking The Pink Wig throughout my treatment. I especially like wearing to the treatment center and giving them out to other patients. I really like to see the smile I put on people’s faces just by wearing it. And The Pink Wig always makes me feel happy and a little feisty every time I put it on.
After I was diagnosed the first time, I tested positive for the BRCA 2 gene mutation. This knowledge led to my more individualized treatment. My family and I can use this knowledge to be proactive with our and our children’s healthcare. Needless to say, genetic testing is a crucial part to the treatment and eventual cure for cancer. The Pink Wig also raises awareness about the importance of genetic testing. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to receive this knowledge so that may receive the most effective treatment possible for their specific cancer.
The newest mission of The Pink Wig is to make treatment centers more patient centric. That is, to make the patient feel as dignified and comfortable as possible while receiving his or her treatment. I am working with The West Clinic in Memphis in this endeavor. The clinic is moving to a new facility next year where the treatment center will include patient suites instead of the open rows of chairs they provide now. That is great news! The patient will have the opportunity to have privacy which, I believe, is crucial to a good treatment experience. That said, I believe the clinic should also provide a group treatment area for those patients who enjoy visiting with others. The Pink Wig is working to raise money to “upgrade” the treatment experience by providing pillows, ear plugs, eye masks and individual media stations for each patient suite. Wouldn’t that be fantastic? Also, a The Pink Wig Oasis is an idea where the patient could receive a massage, pedicure or manicure, free of charge, after his or or appointment. Contact me with your ideas or if you would like to be involved with this movement.
The Pink Wig provides wigs to cancer survivors at no charge. Please contact me using the information below. If you are a care-giver, loved one or friend of a survivor and would like to show your support, please donate $30 per wig. If you don’t need a wig but would like to donate, click the donate button.