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.
I founded The Pink Wig Project with this mission in mind and started giving Pink Wigs to any cancer warrior who wanted one.
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 my husband 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. And I will be on some sort of chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy or combination thereof for the rest of my life.
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. The Pink Wig Project raises awareness about the importance of genetic testing. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to receive this knowledge so that they may receive the most effective treatment possible for their specific cancer. My BRCA2 diagnosis also led the the third part of our mission - to raise money for cancer genetic research. Not only will this research affect me and my family directly but also play a vital role in finding new treatments to allow for longer lives and, eventually, a cure!